|New York, N.Y, July 2, 2008 -- Don Paige and Gwen Gardner, two Olympic medal contending athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the U.S. boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, are two of eighteen athletes featured in the new book BOYCOTT – Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
Written by Tom and Jerry Caraccioli, BOYCOTT: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games ($25.95, New Chapter Press) chronicles the stories of 18 elite athletes 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 outlines 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
Vice President Walter F. Mondale, who spoke on behalf of the boycott prior to the USOC’s April 12, 1980 vote to officially boycott the Games, wrote the Foreword for the book. Mondale apologizes to all the athletes who were denied the opportunity to compete calling them, “warriors in our country’s defense of freedom.”
Paige, a native of Baldwinsville, N.Y., a graduate of Villanova University, qualified for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team in the 800 meters and, despite not competing the Moscow Games, ranked No. 1 in the world in the 800 meters that year by virtue of a dramatic victory over Britain’s Sebastian Coe in Viareggio, Italy. Says Paige in the book about the boycott today, “There will always be politics in sports, and I believe Jimmy Carter made the best decision he could at the time. I’m not going to sit here and say he made a bad decision. I still say maybe because Don Paige did not go to the Olympics, maybe I spared one life in Afghanistan. And, if I did, I sleep really well at night because of that. It makes me feel good and proud.” Paige now runs the Paige Design Group, a firm that plans and designs track and field facilities in Bahama, N.C.
Gardner, from Los Angeles and a standout runner at Crenshaw High School, qualified for the 1980 Olympic team in the women’s 400 meters – finishing second at the trials. She knew, however, that due to the world political circumstances that she would not compete at the Games. An injury while performing as a stunt double in a movie, prevented her from qualifying for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team. Says Gardner in the book of making the 1980 team, “It was bittersweet. By then, I knew, even though I obtained the goal I had strived for as a child – I would always be an Olympian just like all the other athletes who competed – (that) it would have an asterisk because we didn’t actually go over to Moscow and compete.” Gardner is now a Deputy Sheriff in Los Angeles County.
Athletes featured in the book are:
Don Paige (Athletics) Philadelphia, Pa. / Bahama, N.C.
Glenn Mills (Swimming) Ridgeville, Ohio / Chester, Md.
Gwen Gardner (Athletics) Los Angeles, Calif
Gene Mills (Wrestling) Pompton Lakes, N.J. / Liverpool, N.Y.
Craig Beardsley (Swimming) New York, N.Y. / Chatham, N.J.
Sue Walsh (Swimming) Hamburg, N.Y. / Durham, N.C.
Bill Hanzlik (Basketball) Beloit, Wisc., / Denver, Colo.
Amy Koopman (Gymnastics) Arlington Heights, Ill.
Isiah Thomas (Basketball) Chicago, Ill. / New York, N.Y.
Carol Blazejowski (Basketball) Fairview, N.J.
Luci Collins (Gymnastics) Englewood, Calif.
David Kimes (Shooting) Monterey Park, Calif. / La Palma, Calif.
Brian Gust (Wrestling) Lakeville, Minn.
Lisa Buese (Swimming) Louisville, Ky. / Palo Alto, Calif.
Linda Cornelius Waltman (Athletics) Ft. Worth, Tx / Boerne, TX
Thomas Schuler (Cycling) Birmingham, Mich. / Wauwatosa, WI
Ron Galimore (Gymnastics) Ames, Iowa / Indianapolis, Ind.
Debbie Landreth (Volleyball) El Segundo, Calif. / Granger, Ind.
Boycott is the second book written by the Caraccioli’s – identical twins raised in Oswego, N.Y. In 2006, they wrote Striking Silver: The Untold Story of America’s Forgotten Hockey Team about the 1972 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Tom Caraccioli resides in Philadelphia, Pa., while Jerry Caraccioli lives in New York City. More info on the book can be found at www.boycottbook.com.
Boycott is published by New Chapter Press – also the publisher of The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and The Bud Collins History of Tennis by Bud Collins. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.newchapterpressmedia.com) is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group.
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