MOSCOW JUST HAD TO GRIN AND BEAR IT
With 62 boycotting nations absent, Moscow's Olympics became largely an Eastern-bloc party, the U.S.S.R. winning 80 of the 205 gold medals and East Germany 47. Some dubious rulings by officials that favored Soviet athletes soured matters further. Nevertheless, there were some first-class performances, notably by the British. In a 24-hour period Allan Wells won the 100, Daley Thompson triumphed in the decathlon and Steve Ovett capitalized on the lateness of countryman Sebastian Coe's finishing kick to upset him in the 800 meters. But in their long-awaited 1,500 encounter, Coe timed his move perfectly and left the favored Ovett far back in third. Afterward, Coe took a powder, his exuberant teammates covering him from head to toe in talc.
Nadia Comaneci wasn't perfect this time, put then, neither were the Games.
Misha the mascot put up a brave front in a less than Olympian atmosphere of boycott and protest.
February 12, 1981
Determined not to repeat the gaffe he made in the 800, Coe began his kick with 100 meters to go in the 1,500 and won in 3:38.4.
The 800 tape went down—and Ovett's fist up.
Lutz Dombrowski of East Germany blew 'em out, becoming the second man to jump 28 feet.
Miruts Yifter won both the 5,000 and 10,000.