Swimmers Craig Beardsley, Lisa Buese, Glenn Mills and Sue Walsh, all members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Swim Team, are among 18 American athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the boycotted 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow featured in the new book "BOYCOTT – Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games."
Written by identical twins Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, the book chronicles the stories of 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. Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale wrote the book’s foreword.
About the four swimmers featured in the book:
Beardsley, a native of New York, N.Y., resident of Chatham, N.J., and a standout swimmer at the University of Florida set the world record in the 200 butterfly at the 1980 Olympic Trials.
Says Bearsdley of the boycott, "At that time, I don’t want to say that I supported the boycott, but I wasn’t against it either. I tried to think there was some good in it. We were doing the right thing. I supported everything at that time...(however)...I began to realize that it was just another political movement. I became strongly opinionated about trying to separate sports and politics. It will never happen again. Sports, like music, is one of those great things that bind people together."
Mills, a native of Ridgeville, Ohio, overcame the death of his brother to break national swim records as a teenager to qualify for the 1980 team. His dream to compete in the Games was also dashed by just missing qualifying for the 1984 Games. Says Mills of his Olympic status today, "There is pride that goes along with being an Olympian. We are pretty much fully accepted by our peers. They know what we did. We are respected and that’s really what means the most to us."
Buese, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., qualified for the 1980 team in the 100 butterfly at the age of 17. Says Buese of her accomplishment of making the Olympic team, despite not having the opportunity to compete, "It is something I will always have and no one can ever take away from me. When I’m faced with difficult situations, I know I have it in me to rise up to the challenge no matter what the challenge is."
Walsh, a native of Hamburg, N.Y. and a standout swimmer at the University of North Carolina, swam the fastest 100 backstroke ever in 1979 as a teenager. She missed qualifying for the 1984 Games by .01 a second. Said Walsh 28 years after the boycott, "I don’t know that I understand the politics today either, because it certainly didn’t encourage the Soviets to get out of Afghanistan."
Other athletes featured in the book are:
Don Paige (Athletics) Philadelphia, Pa.
Gwen Gardner (Athletics) Los Angeles, Calif.
Gene Mills (Wrestling) Pompton Lakes, N.J.
Bill Hanzlik (Basketball) Beloit, Wisc.
Amy Koopman (Gymnastics) Arlington Heights, Ill.
Isiah Thomas (Basketball) Chicago, Ill.
Carol Blazejowski (Basketball) Fairview, N.J.
Luci Collins (Gymnastics) Englewood, Calif.
David Kimes (Shooting) Monterey Park, Calif.
Brian Gust (Wrestling) Lakeville, Minn.
Linda Cornelius Waltman (Athletics) Ft. Worth, Tx.
Thomas Schuler (Cycling) Birmingham, Mich.
Ron Galimore (Gymnastics) Ames, Iowa
Debbie Landreth (Volleyball) El Segundo, Calif.