Ted Turner's Goodwill Games

In the 1970's the world was sitting on the brink of all out chaos as the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. In response to the invasion the United States and several of its allies boycotted the Summer Olympics for 1980 that were to be held in Moscow in the Soviet Union. All of it seemed like such a shame to allow politics to run an event that was designed for the good of sport and not politics. Enter Ted Turner.
In 1979 the Soviet Union had decided to invade Afghanistan to try and salvage the Communist government that ran the country and to also preserve the intention on making Afghanistan a Soviet satellite. At the time the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States was is in full effect and in response to what the United States saw as aggression against the people of Afghanistan, the United States decided to boycott the Summer Olympic games being held in Moscow in 1980. Many of the United States' allies followed along and the Summer Olympics in Moscow were not attended by any Western country. In 1984 the Soviet Union responded to what they considered to be an insult and an intrusion into Soviet affairs by boycotting the 1984 Summer Olympics that were held in Los Angeles, California. In both Olympic competitions there was a huge feeling of loss and the records that were broken and set in those games seemed hallow and meaningless. At the 1980 and 1984 Winter Olympic games Soviet and American athletes went head to head with the famous Miracle On Ice happening at the 1980 Winter Olympics when the American ice hockey team defeated the Soviet team on the way to the gold medal. But animosity was strong until Ted Turned stepped in and created the Goodwill Games.

Ted Turner decided that the Olympics were to be decided by athletes and not politicians so in 1986 he created the Goodwill Games aimed at providing the competition missed in the previous Summer Olympic games and to try and being the Soviet Union and the United States to their senses. To fly right in the face of the storm Turner held his first Goodwill Games in Moscow where over 3,000 athletes participated including athletes from the United States. At those first Goodwill Games many world records were broken and since it was a sanctioned world event the records were allowed to stand. Those records did not replace Olympic records, only world records. To keep the theme going in 1990 Turner moved his Goodwill Games to Seattle, Washington where once again interest was high and participation was strong. More records were broken and it seemed like Turner's mission was successfully accomplished. Soviet and American athletes were competing against each other and no shots were fired.

In 1994 Turner took the Goodwill Games back to Russia, which was now the largest country remaining from the fall of the Soviet Union, to the city of St. Petersburg. Now that the Soviet Union was broken up into the 15 republics the notion of a cold war was over and the republics were first represented in the Olympics as the Unified Team and then later as their own sovereign nations. The Goodwill Games started to lose their luster as it had accomplished its original purpose and now that the athletes were all competing in the Olympics again the Goodwill Games almost seemed senseless. In 1998 Ted Turner held his last Goodwill Games in New York City. They held one more winter Goodwill Games in 2000 at Lake Placid but by then no one was watching anymore. The Goodwill Games were bought by Time Warner Australia who took a look at the horrible television ratings from the 1998 Goodwill Games and the 2000 winter Goodwill Games and decided to end the Goodwill Games forever. But the Goodwill Games accomplished its goal and brought the athletes of the world together when politicians sought to keep them apart.
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