The 1980 Summer Olympics the U.S. Never Got to See

Being huge Olympic fans, we couldn’t pass up a chance to see the Olympic site in Moscow during our trip to Russia this last November. This site was of particular interest since the 1980 Summer Olympics was the one that the U.S. boycotted due to protesting the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by Russia.

Traveling to the Olympic area was very easy. We used the metro to get to Prospect Mira station. The Moscow metro is very inexpensive and fairly easy to navigate to pretty much most parts of Moscow.

1980 Summer Olympics Site

When we exited the station, the Olympic stadium was about a 5-10 min walk. As we walked over there, we saw a few things around the area that showed that this was once an Olympic site. A large sign that said Olympic Plaza was on a building for one example.

Sign on a building that says Olympic Plaza for the 1980 Summer Olympics

Olympic Stadium

The stadium looked in very good shape. It is still being used to host sports, concerts, and other entertainment events. We tried a few doors and got in one, but couldn’t get much further than the hallway connected to the door. We would have loved to see inside it.

Stadium for the 1980 Summer Olympics

Olympic Pool

The pool was really impressive and difficult to find the front door. We walked all the way around, and we then saw some kids with swimming backpacks and followed them. The front door was actually in a building connected to it. We were able to see the front lobby and although we couldn’t get in to the actual pool (and we did try, but I don’t think they understood why we were there and probably wouldn’t have let us in even if they had), we were able to enter a couple of businesses that are in the bottom outside part of the pool building so we were able to see a little bit of the architecture.

1980 Summer Olympic Pool which is has all glass walls and oval shape

There were a few other indications of the 1980 Olympics around the area. Many of the under-street pedestrian walkways had signs of the Olympic past such as the swimming icon in tiles pictured below:

Olympic tile sign for swimming in the under the street pedestrian walkways.

As far as Olympic venues, those two – stadium and pool were the only ones we could really see. Moscow seems to have moved a lot of the sports focus over to the Luzhuniki sports complex which, hosted the World Cup. This newer sport complex is in another part of the city.

Olympic Torch

I did go on wild goose chase on another day to find the Olympic torch. It was not in the Prospect Mira station area anymore, but did find a reference online to someone locating it in the Novodevichy Cemetery area (which is the same part of the city where the Luzhuniki sports complex resides). I was unfortunately unable to find it.

It was so much fun to see a part of the Olympic past that not many were able to see or experience, and although I would have loved to find the touch, we really enjoyed our trip through the Olympic site.

 

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