Keywords: human rights, boycott, Soviet dissidents, Moscow Olympics
The article discusses the controversy that followed the decision to assign the organization of the 1980 Olympic Games to Moscow, in a period when the blatant violations of human rights and the repression of political dissent in the Ussr was at the center of the political and public attention. The article aims at intertwining Cold War history, the rise of human rights in international relations during the Seventies and finally the history of the Olympic movement. It argues that the Olympic movement was an important field for the new dialogue then promoted between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as a tool to criticize and oppose the bipolar dialogue. In its conclusions, the article suggests that the controversy contributed to Carter's campaign to use the Olympic boycott to punish the Soviets for their aggression against Afghanistan.