Time Essay: The Boycott That Might Rescue the Games

Every athlete feels the exact instant of no return: the body is then irrevocably committed; it moves with a concentration so fierce as to be almost abstract. Governments rarely achieve such purity of action. Nonetheless, by last week the U.S. had lumberingly launched the great weight of its foreign policy well past the point of second thoughts, on a course aimed at a boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics. It is a difficult maneuver; it could end by destroying the modern Olympic Games.

Even while Lake Placid proceeded, the American trajectory away from Moscow seemed unalterable. U.S. participation in the...

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