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In-depth telephone interviews were conducted with 48 randomly selected members of the 1980 Canadian Olympic team to determine the impact of the boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games upon their lives and athletic careers. Questions from a 24-item interview schedule focused upon the process by which the athletes were informed, their understanding of the boycott, their reaction to it, the impact on them, and their attitudes and opinions regarding the boycott. The 1980 Olympic boycott generally had a negative impact upon the lives of the athletes interviewed in this study, but the effect depended upon variables such as the sport in which the athlete competed, the stage of his/her career at the time of the boycott, the athlete’s performance expectations, the importance he/she placed upon the Olympics, his/her ability to cope, his/her support structure, and the degree to which the athlete identified with his/her sport. Several recommendations are made regarding future sports boycotts.
The authors are with the School of Physical Education & Athletics, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5E1 Canada.