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Lake Placid 1980 - Inside the Games
Politics muddies waters at Lake Placid
IOC organisers putting the finishing touches to the Lake Placid Games suddenly found themselves caught up in a whirlwind of diplomatic activity whipped up by the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union just weeks before.
On the eve of the opening ceremony, American secretary-of-state Cyrus Vance formally announced to the IOC at a meeting in New York State that the American administration was threatening to boycott the Moscow Summer Games later that year.
Although the Lake Placid Games were the most politically controversial of all Winter Games, there had been a precedent.
The Summer Games in Montreal in 1976 had been badly affected when several African nations pulled out in protest at the presence at the Games of countries maintaining sporting links with apartheid South Africa.
Now a second, damaging boycott was brewing.
Taiwan become first nation to boycott Winter Games
Curiously, despite the American threat, there was no retaliation from Eastern bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, who carried on at Lake Placid as if nothing had happened, leading the medal standings into the bargain.
Bearing in mind the political tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Soviets showed great dignity after the Americans' stunning victory over them in the ice-hockey tournament.
Despite the huge disappointment the hot favourites must have felt after losing the match 4-3, they nevertheless had the grace to congratulate the American players after the final whistle in a display of real sportsmanship.
There was one notable absentee at the Games: the 28 athletes representing Taiwan.
A hornet's nest had been stirred up between Taiwan and China when the IOC officially recognised the Olympic committee of the People's Republic of China.
Taiwan's dismay turned to outrage when the IOC declared that, from now on, if Taiwan wanted to take part in the Games it had to change its name, national anthem and flag.
The Taiwanese authorities refused categorically, with Taipei even appealing to an American Court of Appeal in a bid to overturn the decision, but their action was in vain.
Taiwan's boycott remains the only boycott in the history of the Winter Games.
Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.