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Moscow 1980


Poignant Closing Ceremony rounds off challenging Games

Poignant Closing Ceremony rounds off challenging Games


The closing ceremony of the Olympic Games is a chance to reflect on the glory of the world’s best competing on the grandest stage of them all.

After almost three weeks of intense competition, it’s a chance for all the athletes to relax and celebrate in the festival of sport to which they have all contributed.

It also marks the passing of one host to another, when the city that has spent so long lovingly preparing for the Games passes on that duty.

But with the United States boycotting the Games and the next hosts being Los Angeles, the Closing Ceremony at the iconic Lenin stadium was lent a poignant air.

The United States national anthem was replaced by the Olympic anthem, while there was no handing over of the flag to representatives of LA.

However, the organisers were not perturbed and managed to present a display of Russian pride every bit as dazzling as the Opening Ceremony had been.

Again the crowd was called upon to make the spectacle by holding cards aloft to make massive images, the most memorable being the bouncing Olympic flag.

The ever-present Games mascot, Misha, shedding a tear at the closing of the Games, entered the stadium attached to balloons; and he was released into the evening sky to rapturous applause from the crowd.

It was time to say goodbye to the Games that had created so many memorable moments, from the intensity of the battle between Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe to the ring craftsmanship of giant Cuban Teofilo Stevenson.

The Olympic baton passed to Los Angeles, which four years hence, would have the honour of hosting the greatest show on earth.

Discover the best photos of Moscow 1980

  • Opening Ceremony Moscow 1980

    The final torchbearer, basketballer Sergei Belov, in the Moscow Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony


  • Relay Moscow 1980

    A torchbearer during the Moscow 1980 Games Torch relay


  • Aleksandr Dityatin (URS)

    Aleksandr Dityatin on the rings at the Moscow 1980 Games


  • Winner's medal Moscow 1980

    The reverse of this medal is very different from its obverse. However, it is not the work of the same artist. While the obverse was a creation by Giuseppe Cassioli, the reverse was designed by Ilya Postol, a young Soviet sculptor. We can see several elements that stand out through their stylisation: an Olympic cauldron, an athletics track in the background and the official logo of the Moscow Games on the top right ©CIO

  • Winner's medal Moscow 1980

    The obverse comprises a design by Tuscan artist Giuseppe Cassioli. This motif can be found on the obverse of all the winner’s medals presented at the Summer Games since 1928 with the exception of three special cases: Barcelona'92, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. An inscription, in Cyrillic, allows us to make the link with the Moscow Games. This is its transcription in the Latin alphabet and its translation: “Igry XXII Olympiady Moskva 1980” / “Games of the XXII Olympiad, Moscow 1980”©IOC

  • Opening Ceremony Moscow 1980

    View of the delegations standing in front of the Misha mascot created by the public holding up boards