New York, NY, August 03, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- New Yorker Craig Beardsley, the standout swimmer who had his one and only opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games dashed by the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, will sign copies of the new book where he is featured, Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games Thursday, August 7 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Sports Museum of America in New York City. Beardsley will appear with the book’s authors, identical twins Tom Caraccioli of Philadelphia, Pa., and Jerry Caraccioli of New York, N.Y.
Beardsley will also display the commemorative gold medal that President Jimmy Carter presented him and his teammates for their sacrifices for their country. The medal was officially designated as a Congressional Gold Medal on October 30, 2007, earning Beardsley and his Olympic teammates a national honor shared by less than 200 previous recipients, including George Washington, Winston Churchill, Douglas MacArthur, Thomas Edison, The Dalai Lama, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson among others.
Written by identical twins Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games ($25.95, New Chapter Press, www.boycottbook.com) chronicles the stories of 18 elite American athletes who trained thousands of hours for their once-in-a-lifetime chance at Olympic glory in Moscow only to become pawns in a political Cold War chess match between superpowers. The book also outlines the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that led to the boycott, efforts by a group of athletes to overturn the boycott by legal means, and the entire 1980 team eventually receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award which is bestowed by the United States Congress.
Vice President Walter F. Mondale, who spoke on behalf of the boycott prior to the USOC’s April 12, 1980 vote to officially boycott the Games, wrote the Foreword for the book. Mondale apologizes to all the athletes who were denied the opportunity to compete calling them, “warriors in our country’s defense of freedom.”
Beardsley, a native of New York, N.Y., resident of Chatham, N.J., and a standout swimmer at the University of Florida set the world record in the 200 butterfly at the 1980 Olympic Trials. Says Beardsley of the boycott, “At that time, I don’t want to say that I supported the boycott, but I wasn’t against it either. I tried to think there was some good in it. We were doing the right thing. I supported everything at that time...(however), I began to realize that it was just another political movement. I became strongly opinionated about trying to separate sports and politics. It will never happen again. Sports, like music, is one of those great things that bind people together.”
Among those endorsing the book include CBS Sports commentator Dick Enberg, who states, “Boycott uniquely and poignantly captures the impact of American athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games. Nearly three decades later, I continue to appreciate and understand their heartbreak and anger. Thanks to the authors, we are reminded of their brave, but painful sacrifice. This book, then, becomes their belated, but deserved Olympic salute.“ Said Anita DeFrantz, President of LA84 Foundation, member of the International Olympic Committee and USOC Board member, “The boycott of 1980 was a stunning experience because I thought in our country, the individuals had the right to make their choices in sport. It is reassuring that the Caracciolis decided to tackle this story about America and American athletes in a challenging time.“
Athletes featured in the book are: Don Paige (Athletics) Philadelphia, Pa. / Bahama, N.C., Glenn Mills (Swimming) Ridgeville, Ohio / Chester, Md., Gwen Gardner (Athletics) Los Angeles, Calif, Gene Mills (Wrestling) Pompton Lakes, N.J. / Liverpool, N.Y., Craig Beardsley (Swimming) New York, N.Y. / Chatham, N.J., Sue Walsh (Swimming) Hamburg, N.Y. / Durham, N.C., Bill Hanzlik (Basketball) Beloit, Wisc., / Denver, Colo., Amy Koopman (Gymnastics) Arlington Heights, Ill., Isiah Thomas (Basketball) Chicago, Ill. / New York, N.Y., Carol Blazejowski (Basketball) Fairview, N.J., Luci Collins (Gymnastics) Englewood, Calif., David Kimes (Shooting) Monterey Park, Calif. / La Palma, Calif., Brian Gust (Wrestling) Lakeville, Minn., Lisa Buese (Swimming) Louisville, Ky. / Palo Alto, Calif., Linda Cornelius Waltman (Athletics) Ft. Worth, Tx / Boerne, Tx, Thomas Schuler (Cycling) Birmingham, Mich. / Wauwatosa, WI, Ron Galimore (Gymnastics) Ames, Iowa / Indianapolis, Ind., Debbie Landreth (Volleyball) El Segundo, Calif. / Granger, Ind.,
Boycott is the second book written by the Caraccioli’s – identical twins raised in Oswego, N.Y. In 2006, they wrote Striking Silver: The Untold Story of America’s Forgotten Hockey Team about the 1972 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Tom Caraccioli resides in Philadelphia, Pa., while Jerry Caraccioli lives in New York City.
Boycott is published by New Chapter Press – also the publisher of The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and The Bud Collins History of Tennis by Bud Collins. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.newchapterpressmedia.com) is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group.