The Moscow Olympics are mostly remembered for the boycott of the Games – led by the United States. More than 45 nations boycotted the Games in protest of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Only 80 nations – a third less than in Munich eight years earlier – competed. Many athletes of attending nations chose – or were pressured – not to attend.
5,179 (4,064 men, 1,115 women) competitors from 80 nations participated in 21 sports and 203 events over a fortnight. USSR continued its gold medal tally winning streak for the 3rd time in a row with 80 golds. The German Democratic Republic were 2nd with 47 and highlighting the dominance of the top two, 3rd was Bulgaria with 8 and 4th was Cuba also with 8 golds.
Gymnastics again gained much attention: Romania’s Nadia Comaneci returned but could not repeat her stunning 1976 form and “only” won two gold and two silver medals. The Soviet Union’s Aleksandr Dityatin won three gold, four silver and a bronze, becoming the first person to win eight medals at a Games – and also became the first man to score a perfect 10.00 in Olympic competition. Victor Adrianov, another USSR gymnast, retired after Moscow having won 15 medals at his three Olympic appearances, more than any other man at the time.
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