THE MOSCOW GAMES
If the Soviet Union refuses to withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan, I believe that sports fans and the national public should stand united and demand another location for the Olympic Games—or, if that's impossible, boycott those Games altogether (SCORECARD, Jan. 14 et seq.).
It seems that every four years when it's time for the Olympics, there's an issue threatening the participation of some countries or an impending crisis because the construction of the facilities has lagged behind schedule. The waste of millions of dollars spent on rotating the site of the Games is foolish and unnecessary. I agree that the Games should be moved permanently to one country. I also agree that that country should be Greece. If this were the case today, the only issue would be the question of whether or not to allow the Soviet Union to participate.
White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex.
The International Olympic Committee has a golden opportunity to strike a blow for world peace and international goodwill—goals that are completely compatible with the Olympic movement. The IOC must go on with the 1980 Games, but at a site or sites other than Moscow, thereby demonstrating that if open military aggression cannot always be stopped or controlled, there are ways in which world organizations can show that they do not condone such actions. Admittedly, it is unrealistic at this late date to move the entire Summer Games to a single city. Therefore, the events must be grouped and held in different cities of the world. For example, basketball, volleyball, wrestling and boxing could go to one city, swimming, water polo, rowing and gymnastics to another.
Such an arrangement may not be ideal, but it can be achieved, and it is preferable to holding the Games in Moscow as if everything were normal. It is also preferable to having some nations boycott or withdraw from this year's Olympics, thus penalizing athletes who have worked years for the opportunity to compete. Decentralization of the Games was discussed following the violence at Munich in 1972, and it offers two advantages: 1) it greatly reduces the cost to any one city and nation; and 2) it reduces the chances for political demonstrations or terrorism, because the eyes of the world are not focused entirely on one place. Now is the time to try it.
JOHN M. TRUMP
What a mockery it would be to have the world's athletic heroes perform in a country that does not know the meaning of the word hero—or the meaning of amateur sportsmanship. I am probably just one of many of your readers who want to stand up and be counted when they say boycott Moscow!
Your editorial dissertation, Moscow '80: An Olympics Under Siege (Jan. 21), was a brilliant summary of this most trying situation. But there was one salient point not mentioned. For more than a decade our armed forces were being sent 7,000 miles to fight in Southeast Asia. During that period, the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games were held, and the Soviets did not protest U.S. participation in them. So why all the shouting for a U.S. boycott of the Games in the U.S.S.R. now? We have very strong teams in most sports, and financial support has never been stronger. I, for one, want our young people to be given the opportunity to lick the Soviets on their own soil and bring back the glory the U.S. justly deserves.
I was appalled by the suggestion that the Olympics be held in Munich rather than Moscow. The atmosphere in Munich would be even worse. The memory of the 11 Israelis who were so brutally killed and of the tragic handling of that situation should preclude the possibility of another Munich Olympics.
Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
The very suggestion that we should boycott the Moscow Games is proof that the Olympics are being used for anything and everything but the ideas and ideals of amateur athletics. Instead, the Olympics have become an international political forum. This is anathema to any true athlete. In my opinion, the Olympics have already been "reduced to a shambles."
Let's get out, and get out for good! We have the most dedicated athletes in the world. Let's conduct our own Olympics and stop deceiving ourselves chasing the rest of the world in a fixed political race.
New Rochelle, N.Y.
It would be nice if the members of our Olympic teams acted as Americans first and athletes second. I'll believe the Olympics are non-political when they stop playing national anthems for the winners.
CRAIG M. SCHWARTZ