To my dear members of the 1980 team,
Our experience is far different from any other US Olympic Team.
Each of our lives were deeply impacted by the USOC’s decision to keep us at home.
My heart goes out to the team members who never competed at the Olympic Games.
Your names are not on the IOC list of Olympians.
Yet, we are forever the 1980 1980 US Olympic Team.
And then, we disappeared. No pictures of our extraordinary efforts, no stories to tell about friendships made and the opportunity to learn how other athletes arrived at the Games.
In short, our opportunities to become ambassadors of democracy also disappeared.
Recognized that some athletes were willing to follow the wishes of our president.
Others wanted to fulfil their mission and compete at the Games.
What I wanted the athletes to utilize their democratic rights to make the decision.
Even our Congressional Medals were not on the list of such medals.
Because the US Congress did not have the medals struck with the proper metallic content.
There is no gold in the medals which is a requirement.
We should be grateful to our team member who made certain that our names will appear among those with the Congressional Medal, but we get no gold!
I was attending a then USOC meeting. We saw films of the 1980 Winter Olympic team.
And as always, I felt the energy of watching the extraordinary exploits of our team.
The next part was the 1984 Olympic Team, followed by the 1984 Olympic team
We were not even mentioned.
It was then that I realized that we had become invisible. And that forever we would be the team with no result.
We have been successful in our lives.
But the trajectory was forever changed.
And today, I am delighted that on behalf of the 1980 team that I accept the highest honor the USOPC presents
Dear teammates, forty years later, we finally have respect!
Thank you, 1980 team members, and thank you USOPC!!
- ANITA DEFRANTZ, OCTOBER 7th, 2020