Business Studies Paper on The 1980 Moscow Olympics Games


The Olympic Games are the most sacred international sporting events, which an athlete dreams of competing. Additionally, the city chosen to stage any Olympic competition has even greater honor. Hosting the Olympic Games has always had plethora benefits for the candidate city well as the home country. The planning of Olympic Games takes quite a while, additionally, a substantial amount of resources (economic) are consumed in readiness to hosting a successful Olympics Games competition. Additionally, it requires all the concerned stakeholders to work as a team. However, external forces such as politics play a significant part in determining the success or failure of hosting an Olympiad (Senn, 2009). During the Cold War period spanning from 1979 to 1985, two summer games were hosted one in 1980 by the Soviet Union in Moscow while the other in 1984 was staged in Los Angeles in the United States. During this period, there was tension between the two countries. Up to the present, the two games are considered as the most dishonored Olympiads in history due to the boycotts, the 1980 games in Moscow (Caraccioli & Caraccioli, 2008). The losses that the Soviet Union incurred during this boycott were significant with most stakeholders, especially those in Moscow, losing the equivalent of billions in the current market (Mangan & Dyreson, 2013). This paper presents an in-depth analysis of how the 1980 failed Olympiads affected the host country plus the city of Moscow economically in addition to the current changes that have been placed to see that such an issue is never repeated in the future.


There is no sporting event in the world that unites the world like the Olympic Games. The number of sporting events both indoor and outdoor in addition to the available competitive positions makes the Olympic Games the most attended sporting events, attended by people from various countries. Today the Olympiads allow individuals to connect or forge relationships that go beyond politics or race; however, this was not the case in both the 1980 in Moscow and 1984 Olympic Games staged in Los Angeles correspondingly. According to Sarantakes (2010) during the time that saw both Olympics events highlighted above the two political super powers were embroiled in a war of ideologies also known as the Cold War.  .

Constraints in hosting the 1980 Moscow Olympiads

Prior to the 1980 Olympic Games, the US and the Soviet Union were embroiled in a Cold War. These political issues later spilt into the sporting world when the US supported by its affiliates decided to intentionally boycott the games. According to Senn (2009), the 1980 games, in particular, highlighted how the Olympic Games could be used as a tool or leverage against a nation that is in conflict with another. The invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1979, the Cold War, or disagreements between political classes in different countries played a significant role in the boycotting of the 1980s games (Robertson, 2012). Mangan and Dyreson (2013) indicated that the Soviet Union was not prepared for a boycott; consequently, it saw the impose sanctions by the US as a sign of undermining the Soviet Union authority as a political super power. However, stakeholders of the games have put in place measures to ensure that such issues that led to the Moscow Olympiads only featuring 80 countries, the least since the 1956 games, would not be repeated. Below is a description of the bidding process together with a timeline from the initial bidding to the end of the games.


  1. The Invitation Stage (First unofficial bid presentation by potential host cities).
  2. The Candidature Procedure (the official bidding commitment by potential host cities)
  3. a) Vision, Games model as well as Strategy (first legacy presentation involving theme and mascots)
  4. b) Governance, Legal as well as Venue Funding analysis (IOC analysis of potential city hosts)
  5. c) Games Delivery, Experience as well as Venue Legacy (acceptance of bids and elections)

Invitation stage. This stage is a a  derivative of of the Olympic Agenda 2020. It is centered on the relationship between the IOC and the candidate city to formulate a strong foundation for the forthcoming stages. The process offers a range of amenities to the stakeholders that are interested in hosting the games (Sugden & Tomlinson, 2012). Additionally, this stage is highly significant as it avoids issues such as those witnessed in the 1980 Summer Olympics hosted in Russia, in which a number of countries boycotted the games because of the country’s invasion of Afghanistan. This new phase invites the candidates or potential hosting cities to a workshop to discuss a variety of topics such as level of assistance before the official submission of candidature. Furthermore, the phase includes sharing information concerning the best practices, provision of ideas, together with a focus on comprehending the Games requirement consequently putting together a concrete project that meets the applicant city’s ambitions and needs.

The candidature process. After the first step, cities that consider themselves fit to bid for the Olympic Games enter the official application process. The time line before the IOC elections to determine which city hosts the games is two years. The 2020 Olympic agenda identifies the requisite for a change in the submission process in reference to accommodating a variety of solutions that would meet the Games’ needs within the context of the cities in question (Sugden & Tomlinson, 2012). Additionally, the IOC is required to carry out a meticulous review of all the sporting events to be held in order to reinforce alignment between potential host cities long term development plans.

Vision, Games Concept, and Strategy. This stage is based on strategic analysis during which the potential aspirant cities present their Olympiad game visions, concepts, plus legacy plans for the Games (Abebe, 2014). At this stage, all participating stakeholders, as well as the public, are called upon to develop a firm foundation in addition to establishing a concrete concept for the long-term plans of the city and the country (Mangan & Dyreson, 2013). Immediately, the IOC announces the official aspirant cities the organization will hosts a video call to the relevant cities to inform all parties of the Olympic Application Process.

Governance, legal and venue funding. This stage is put in place to ensure all nominee cities have the relevant laws along with financial mechanisms to stage the Olympiads. The obligation of go through the legal, public plus private support (political elements) is given to The IOC-appointed Evaluation Commission Working Group. The purpose of this process is to aid the event organizers to have a clear comprehension of the challenges they are likely to face before hosting the Olympic Games (Mangan & Dyreson, 2013). As in stage 1, the IOC hosts a workshop for all the candidates regarding the administration, legal implication, in adition to financial funding.  Additionally, the IOC provides additional workshop amenities that offer individual feedback to every potential contender city in reference to stage 1. Additionally, candidature cities take part in an Olympiad observe process, which is a crucial part of the IOC for learning strategies. The Olympic committee allowing behind the scenes access to evaluate the ability of a potential hosting city customizes the observer program. This stage additionally allows the IOC along side previous host city stakeholders, current OCOGs and candidate cities to be briefed on the oncoming games. According to Abebe (2014) such as debrief offers a prime opportunity for a variety of potentials stakeholders to learn more about the best practices of improving the games from the previous Olympiad hosts. Additionally, briefing reflects on how the IOC’s initiatives support future Olympiad organizers and potential aspirant cities through the transfer of knowledge from varied sources. Moreover, during this stage, potential candidate cities are expected to hand over their application files (Part 2) to the IOC. The Evaluation Commissions Working Group then conducts another evaluation that aids in finding the best possible applicant (Sugden & Tomlinson, 2012). The evaluation will present an update to the IOC EB who will then provide a short list highlighting the cities that will be considered for stage three.

Games Delivery, Experience and Venue Legacy. This is the last stage in the bidding process. The phase is based in offering an analysis on how the candidate cities will deliver on the Olympiad legacy promise. Robertson (2012), states that this stage ensures a successful delivery on a number of issues such as financial, legal, well as administrative. Has this stage existed in 1980, the fiasco that the boycott faced have been identified. Additionally, all hitches will be dealt with in two ways. The first would have been awarding a third neutral city with the chance to host the games. The second would have been providing a solution that would see the boycott avoided by all nations who participated. The stage is all-encompassing, offering a variety of stakeholder details that review the legacy planning as well as Olympiad experience that would identify the expected challenges plus opportunities in all the aforementioned areas of concern.

The nominee cities are expected to present the application files for the third time (part 3), finalizing the full project dossier. The IOC EC (Evaluation Commission) gather for a meeting to go through the application documentation presented by all the applicant cities before cconducting an on-site excursion of all applicant locations. After the tour, the final commission’s findings are published in the IOC EC report. The results will, without a doubt, indicate the opportunities alongside the challenges in relation to all applicants. The findings will then be made public: subsequently, be provided to all IOC member states and act as a crucial aid in the election process that will finally select the city that hosts the Olympic Games. During this last stage, the potential candidate cities will have a chance to present to the IOC members a briefing that cements their application. According to Sugden and Tomlinson, (2012), this is an excellent opportunity for the respective applicant cities to showcase their projects together with a platform to ask any additional questions that cement their application. Finally, during the elections to determine how gets the privilege to host an Olympiad the cities involved make a final presentation to the IOC panel before ballot elections are conducted. Later after the results have been published, the host city signs a host city contract with the IOC.

Prior to the 1980 Olympic games, the bidding process was not as through. The stages highlighted above were not as detailed. Consequently, this led to the flaws that led to many participating countries opting to not participate in the games. Additionally, the lack of such regulations led to the boycotting of the games in 1984 by the Soviet Union as a retaliatory move. The fact that the Soviet Union was embroiled in a Cold War with another state would guarantee a straight rejection in the present day. The same would have happened to the US, as they would not have hosted the 1984 Games.

The 1980 Olympiad Budget

As aforementioned, the Olympic Games are significantly expensive to host. The IOC has must ensure that the host cities have the necessary facilities needed to host the Olympiad. Consequently, this suggests the building of new facilities, improvement of infrastructure, as well as setting up significant marketing or business connections that require a large sum of money. In reference to the official report presented by the NOC of the Soviet Union to the IOC the total expenditure of staging the 1980 Olympic Games was estimated at $231,000 or 862.7 million rubles. On the other hand, the 1980 Olympiads only brought in revenue of 744.8 million rubles. This was below the expected revenue earnings because of the games boycott (Jennings, 2012).

            According George (2015), the total costs on expenditure in setting up the Moscow 1980 Olympiads would be estimated at 6.3 billion dollars if the games were hosted in 2015. The figure presented is a representation of sports related costs, which are made up of operational costs invested by the NOC in conjunction with other stakeholders for hosting the games. The costs include expenditure such as wages on workforce, expenditure on technology, safety, outfitting, management, together with direct capital costs. It should be noted that costs of setting up the competitive venues, Olympic village, broadcasting and press center (international) are all highlighted, as direct costs were included in the report presented by the NOC to the IOC. Indirect expenditures for instance any resources placed on improving infrastructure (road, rail, or airport), guest house upgrades, in addition to other business expenditures for example an increase in inventory costs are not added in the figure presented. The 1980 Games was considered as of the most costly Olympiads in history alongside the 2016 Rio Games, Beijing 2008, and 2014 Sochi. In reference to George (2015), the Moscow games total expenditures were above the average cost of staging a summer Olympiad since 1960.

1980 Olympiad biggest losers

According to Robertson (2012), the organizing committee was at first considered as the biggest looser considering the amount of money it invested in hosting the event. According to the official resort, due to the bad press from the USA in consort with their supporters in the boycott, the total revenue was estimated at 744.8 million rubles from a total expenditure of 862.7 million rubles causing a deficit of 11.7 million rubles. However, despite the fact that the Russian stakeholders lost money as well as other resources, the games were considered a success. The second biggest losers were the athletes who were forced to not compete after a long wait for the games. It should be understood that the presidents and other political leaders made the decision that saw their respective countries not take part in the games. According to Caraccioli & Caraccioli, (2008) of all the athletes that were affected, none was more on the losing end than the American athletes were. The Reason for such a comment made by the above-mentioned scholars is based on the efforts invested by the athletes in competing in the 1980 Olympiad. George (2015) in his manuscript indicated that a number of athletes opted to go against their home nations boycott; subsequently competing under the Olympic games flag.  Robertson (2012) highlighted that despite the absence of the United States, the Moscow Games on a sporting perspective were a success. Several American athletes were reported to have not anticipated as the idea was to down play the 1980 Olympiad’s significance yet this was not attained. The IOC recognizes the records or medals at the games and not those set at the alternative venue in Los Angeles at the time. Additionally, the Soviet Union returned the boycott favor in 1984, which played against the USA.

1980 Olympiad biggest winners

The biggest winners in the 1980 Olympiads held in Moscow were the attending athletes. Prior to the 1980 Olympics, the USA had been represented as the most successful sporting country in such events. In essence, the US always had the highest number of medals and it were expected to dominate the global stage in Moscow.  However, their non-participation allowed other athletes to claim medals that they seemingly had little to no chance of having. For a fact, only eight countries attended the 1980 Moscow Games. At this time, this was the smallest number of represented nations since 1956. However, six countries made their first ever Olympic appearance in 1980 games (Sarantakes, 2010). Additionally, there were more than 152 gold medals awarded to the counties for the first time since their participation.


In summary, the Olympic Games are the most prestigious games that are celebrated globally. The number of games involved in addition to the qualifying regulations allow a multitude of countries to attend the games. However, in 1980, the Games were used as a political tool that saw the US and affiliate nations boycott the Moscow Olympiads. The influence of the Cold War along with other political differences saw a number of states boycott the Games a factor that is addressed in today’s Olympic Games legislations as presented by the IOC. Currently, the regulations that are followed before the governing body hosts any Olympiad are stringent and meticulous to an extent that would reduce negative politics affecting the Games.  After the end of the games the US in consort with their counterpart nation that boycotted the games expected to view the 1980 Olimpiad as a failure. However, in reverse the greatest winners were identified as the athletes, in particular, the US participants. The Soviet union were also considered as losers specifically after they made a financial deficit on revenues after the games were concluded. Nonetheless, despite the losses in revenue their athletes as well as the smaller states that attended the games were considered the biggest winners as legitimate treasured Olympic Medals rewarded for their efforts.



Abebe, N. (2014). Bidding for development: How the Olympic bid process can accelerate transportation development.

Caraccioli, T., & Caraccioli, J. (2008). Boycott: Stolen dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Washington, D.C.: New Chapter Press.

George, D. (n.d.) (2015). Xxi Olympiad. Place of publication not identified: Warwick Press Inc.

Jennings, D. W. (2012). Olympic Risks. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mangan, J. A., & Dyreson, M. (Eds.). (2013). Olympic legacies: intended and unintended: political, cultural, economic and educational. Routledge.

Robertson, S. (2012). Shattered hopes: Canada’s boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games. Toronto: Iguana Books.

Sarantakes, N. E. (2010). Dropping the torch: Jimmy Carter, the Olympic boycott, and the Cold War. Cambridge University Press.

Senn, A. E. (2009). Power, politics, and the Olympic Games. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

Sugden, J. P., & Tomlinson, A. (Eds.). (2012). Watching the Olympics: Politics, power and representation. Routledge.