Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games

By Tony McClean
Updated: August 14, 2008

Boycott Stolen DramsNEW HAVEN, Ct. — Given the delicate times we’re currently experiencing in the sports and political world, this month’s featured book on BASN has many political and sports parallels to the current Olympics in Beijing.

Back in 1980, Ron Galimore, the son of the late football star Willie Gallimore, became the first African-American to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team.

Gallimore is among the many American athletes whowere denied the opportunity to compete in the boycotted 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. He and 17 others are featured in a new book called BOYCOTT: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

Written by identical twins Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, BOYCOTT: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games chronicles the stories of Galimore and his fellow Olympic team members who trained thousands of hours for their once-in-a-lifetime chance at Olympic glory in Moscow only to become pawns in a political Cold War chess match between superpowers.

The book also outines the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that led to the boycott, efforts by some athletes to overturn to the boycott by legal means and the entire 1980 team’s eventual ceremonial gold.

Vice President Walter F. Mondale, who spoke on behalf of the boycott prior to the USOC’s April 12, 1980 vote to officially boycott the Games, wrote the Foreword for the book. Mondale apologizes to all the athletes who were denied the opportunity to compete calling them, “warriors in our country’s defense of freedom.”

Galimore, a native of Tallahassee, Fla., was the “Jackie Robinson of Men’s Gymnastics” for being the first African-American to qualify for the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. Galimore won two NCAA titltes in the floor exercise and the vault for LSU before transferrring to Iowa State.

Said Galimore of his Olympic aftermath, “My goal was to make an Olympic team, win a medal at the Olympic Games, and then maybe do some color commentary afterwards, perhaps make all kinds of money because it was so new and unique. And all of the sudden, I hit a brick wall. I didn’t know what to do. I woke up and did not know what I wanted to do with my life.”

“What it could’ve meant for me financially to be the first African-American gymnast to win a gold medal could’ve been huge if I had any personality to go along with it,” he said.

“And so, I thought about those things selfishly…I thought it was bad to think those things, but I felt it. I think I ran the gamut on all of that. Today it is different. I don’t feel that way.”

Other African-American athletes featured in the book are Isiah Thomas (basketball) and Gwen Gardner (track).The list of all of the other athletes featured in the book are as follows:

Don Paige (Athletics); Glenn Mills (Swimming); Gene Mills (Wrestling); Craig Beardsley (Swimming); Sue Walsh (Swimming); Bill Hanzlik (Basketball); Amy Koopman (Gymnastics); Carol Blazejowski (Basketball).

Luci Collins (Gymnastics); David Kimes (Shooting); Brian Gust (Wrestling); Lisa Buese (Swimming); Linda Cornelius Waltman (Athletics); Thomas Schuler (Cycling); and Debbie Landreth (Volleyball).

BOYCOTT: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games is the second book by the Caraccioli brothers. They are also the co-authors of Striking Silver: The Untold Story of America’s Forgotten Hockey Team, published in 2006.

Boycott is published by New Chapter Press – also the publisher of The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and The Bud Collins History of Tennis by Bud Collins.

NOTE: Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press ( is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group.