A lawsuit on the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games
―Athlete's rights to participate in the USA―
Yoichi INOUE (Tokyo University)
It had taken more than 10 years since the boycott of the 1980 Moscow
Olympic Games. Athletes in the USA brought a lawsuit, 'DeFrantz v. USOC',
against the USOC decision of the boycott.
The purpose of this study was to clarify the contents, issues and significance
of this lawsuit.
Plaintiffs, 25 athletes and one member of the Executive Board of defendant
USOC, have moved for an injunction barring defendant USOC from carrying out
a resolution, adopted by the USOC House of Delegates on April 12, 1980, not to
send an American team to participate in the Games of the XXIInd Olyrnpiard to
be held in Moscow in the summer of 1980. Plaintiffs allege that in preventing
American athletes from competing in the Summer Olympics, defendant has
exceeded its statutory powers and has abridged plaintiffs' constitutional rights.
The district court held that the athletes and Board member had failed to state a
claim upon which relief could be granted, and therefore dismissed the complaint.
(U.S.D.C. District of Columbia. May 16, 1980.)
In this case, the athletes' rights were not acknowledged on statutory and
constitutional standpoints. However, following points are considered to be sig-
(1) There were argued the athletes' rights to pursue athletes' chosen occu-
pation of athletic endeavor as well as personal rights of self-expression and
(2) It gave the public an opportunity to argue on issues raised between the
decision of sport organization and atheletes' merits in their future carreers.
(3) It was argued on the basis of a so-called 'Sport Law1.