Sustaining identities : Hong Kong and the politics of an Olympic boycott


Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 and the subsequent critical global focus on the 1980 Moscow Olympics placed Hong Kong and its aspiring Olympians in a dilemma. The Hong Kong government and the Hong Kong Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (ASFandOC) found themselves coming under multiple pressures as politics heavily intruded into sports. Facing international calls for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics, led by the USA but supported strongly by Mrs Thatcher's British government, the Hong Kong government quickly fell into line. Even though the initial stages of the diplomatic sparring between Britain and China over Hong Kong's future had begun and China had only just rejoined the International Olympic Committee, China too was willing to support the boycott. However, the Hong Kong ASFandOC initially resisted, hoping still to be able to send athletes, but as Olympic ideals came up against political realities Hong Kong was forced to join in the international boycott. This article examines the roles of key players in Hong Kong, the external great power influences and the difficulties that Hong Kong faced in sustaining an independent' policy within the Olympic movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-289
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number3
Early online date5 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • boycott
  • Moscow
  • Hong Kong
  • Olympics
  • sporting identity


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