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Friday, 31 July 2015

205) Commemorative Coins issued when the 1980 22nd Summer Olympics were held in Moscow (19.07.1980 to 03.08.1980):

205) Commemorative Coins issued when the 1980 22nd Summer Olympics were held in Moscow (19.07.1980 to 03.08.1980):

1) For more on the Olympics and Paralympics held in the past, including the origins and history of the Olympics and Commemorative coins issued both on London Olympics and Paralympics please read my post on the London Olympics 2012 link as follows: History of the ancient & modern Olympics and Paralympics & commemorative coins issued during the London Olympics and Paralympics

2) For the Moscow Summer Olympics held in 1980: please read the post on the following link: Commemorative Coins issued on the occasion of Moscow Summer Olympics 1980 by the Russian Mint

3) For the Winter Olympics held at Sochi, Russia and the Commemorative Banknote issued, please read the post on the following link:A 100 Rouble Banknote Commemorating the Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics 2014

4) For Rio 2016, please click on the following link to get interesting insights into the mascots of the Rio Olympics Vinicius and Tom, the Games and the Commemorative Coins and stamps issue programme: 1)The 31st Summer Olympics "Rio 2016"
2) Commemorative Stamps and booklets issued by the Department of Posts, India on 05.08.2016 
5) For Ancient Olympic Games on Greek Coins of Antiquity, please click on the following link: Ancient Olympic Games on Greek Coins of Antiquity
6) For a set of Post cards titled "Olympic Events" : please click on the following link:  "Olympic Events": A set of 12 Post Cards issued by the Karnataka Postal Circle, India Post on 11.07.2016
7) For a presentation set of two stamps titled "Spirit of Olympics, Athens, Atlanta" please visit the following link: Spirit of the Olympic Games, Athens-Atlanta: Celebrating the Centenary of the Modern Olympic Games  
 8) For a presentation set of four stamps titled "XXVIII Olympic Games" (2004 Summer Olympics Athens, Greece, please visit the following link: XVIII Summer Olympic Games, Athens Greece (2004)
9) For a presentation set of two stamps titled "XXIX Olympic Games" (2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing, China, please visit the following link: XXIX Olympic Games Beijing, China: 08.08.08- 24.08.08: A Presentation set of four stamps issued by India Post on 08.08.08

The 22nd Summer Olympics or the “Games of the XXII Olympiad” were held in Moscow, Soviet Union in 1980, in the present day country of Russia. The Games were organised from 19.07.1980 to 03.08.1980.

This was the first time that the Games were held in Eastern Europe.

Led by the United States of America (USA), at the initiative of the then President Jimmy Carter, sixty-five countries boycotted the Games on grounds that the Soviet Union was waging war in Afghanistan in 1979, though some athletes from some of the boycotting countries participated in the Games under the Olympic Flag. (Moscow (USSR) and Los Angeles (USA) had both bid for the 1980 Summer Olympics, but Moscow had won hands down by an overwhelming majority of votes in the Selection Committee for Venues, for being the next venue for conducting the 1980 Summer Olympic Games)

Interestingly, in the Closing Ceremony of the Moscow Olympics, the only “official” US participation in the Moscow Olympics was when the Los Angeles City Flag was raised, instead of the US Flag, to symbolise that Los Angeles City was the next host of the Olympic Games and no reference to the host nation (USA) was made.

This was an example of the USA and its Allies “not playing the game in the spirit of the game”, as was envisaged by the originators of the Games when the Ancient Olympiad Games, when during the conduct of the Games, there would be a cease-fire and halt to all hostilities, athletes of enemy states were provided safe passage through hostile territory et al. The Ancient Games were more in the nature of a “Festival” with even winners of enemy nations being applauded – simply on the prowess of their victories in the Games.

As a reaction, there was a Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. 
   An image of the emblem of the 22nd summer Olympic Games.

The Games:

80 Nations participated in the Moscow Summer Olympic Games, which was the smallest number since 1956. Six Nations made their first ever appearance in the Summer Olympic Games in 1980 – Angola, Botswana, Jordan, Laos, Mozambique and Seychelles.

Cyprus too participated in their first ever Summer Olympic Games, having participated earlier in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

 Sri Lanka (earlier name Ceylon), Benin (earlier name Dahomey) and Zimbabwe (earlier name Rhodesia) participated under their new names.

A total of 5179 athletes (4064 men and 1115 women) took part in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

22 sports featuring in all, 203 events were held, more than any previous Olympics. The sports included – Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Basketball, Canoeing, Cycling (Road & Track), Diving, Equestrian (Dressage, Eventing & Show-Jumping), Fencing, Field hockey, Football,  Gymnastics, Handball, Judo, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming,  Water polo, Weight-lifting, Wrestling (Free-style and Greco-Roman) & Volleyball.

The Games were played at Central Lenin Stadium, Olympiysky Sports Complex, Central Sports Club of the Army (CSCA), Assorted venues in Metropolitan Moscow and outside Moscow, Krylatskoye Sports Complex et al.

Throughout the Games, the Olympic records were broken 241 times and World records were broken 97 times, as the participating athletes excelled themselves in later events. 36 World records, 39 European Records and 74 Olympic records were set.

This was one of the cleanest games ever held, with over 9200 random drug tests, all proving to be negative.

The Games attracted over five million spectators, which was an increase of around 1.5 million over the previous Summer Olympics held in Montreal in 1976.

Commemorative Coin issues for the 1980 Summer Olympics held at Moscow:

A Series of Commemorative coins were issued by the USSR through 1977 to 1980 to commemorate the Event – 5 platinum coins, 6 gold coins, 28 silver coins and 6 Cupro-Nickel coins.

One Rouble commemorative coins made of Cupro-nickel issued on the occasion, titled the “Games of the 22nd Olympiad in Moscow”:

The Commemorative coins made of Cupro-nickel were issued in the following order.

On the Obverse, all the six Coins carried the inscription “Games of the XXII Olympiad, Moscow, 1980” in Russian. The following was the sequence of release of these six coins, and the depictions on the Reverse were as under:

1977One Rouble coin – depicting the Emblem of the Moscow Olympic Games.

1978One Rouble coin – depicting an engraving of the Kremlin in Moscow.

1979One Rouble coin – depicting an engraving of the MSU Building.

1979 – One Rouble coin – depicting the Monument “To the Conquerors of Space”, Sputnik 1 and the Salyut- Soyuz joint flight.

1980One Rouble coin – depicting the Moscow Soviet Building, and the Monument to Yuri Dolgoruky.

The Commemorative coin given below is the 1979 issue of the One Rouble coin depicting the Monument “To the Conquerors of Space”, Sputnik 1 and the Salyut- Soyuz joint flight.

The Reverse of the One Rouble coin. It shows the year of issue as

“1979” and depicts the Monument “To the Conquerors of Space”, Sputnik 1 and the Salyut- Soyuz joint flight. Also seen on the right periphery is the emblem of the 22nd Summer Olympic Games. On the upper periphery is mentioned “Games of the XXII Olympiad, Moscow, 1980” in Russian.  Six stars are also seen suggesting a Space setting.

The Obverse of the One Rouble coin issued in 1979. It shows the Emblem of the “USSR” (or “CCCP” in Russian) and mentions the denomination of the coin as “1 Rouble” (in Russian).

Monument to the Conquerors of Space:

In Moscow stands a monument titled “Monument to the Conquerors of Space”, which was constructed in 1964 to celebrate the daring and memorable achievements of the Soviet Cosmonauts, as well as, the tremendous work of the Scientists and Engineers in the area of Space exploration. The Memorial is located outside the main entry to the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, which was known as the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh) in the North-Eastern part of Moscow, near “Prospekt Mira” (or the “Peace Avenue”). This part of Moscow showcases several space-themed sights and names.

In March 1958, a few months after the launch of Sputnik 1, a competition was held to select a design for an obelisk to celebrate the “Dawn of the Space Age”.  Out of some 350 entries, the design by Sculptor A.O. Faidysh-Krandievsky and Architects A.N. Kolchin and M.O. Barshch was chosen.

The main part of the Monument is a giant Obelisk which is topped by a rocket and resembles in shape the exhaust plume of the rocket. The “Monument to the Conquerors of Space” stands at 110 metres or 360.9 feet tall, has an inclination of 77 degrees and has titanium cladding. The sides of the Monument base are decorated with haut-relief and bas-relief depicting unknown men and women of the Space Programme: Scientists, Engineers, workers, their occupations indicated by the appropriate accoutrements of their professions. Prominent figures are  of a computer programmer holding a punched tape, a Cosmonaut wearing a Space suit and Laika, the first space dog deserve a mention.

On the base of the Monument is a poem in Russian –

“And thus rewarded are our toils,

That having vanquished lawlessness and dark,

We have forged great flaming wings,

For our Nation,

And this Age of Ours!!”

The inauguration of the Monument took place on 04.10.1964, the 7th Anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch.

The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is located inside the base of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space. The Museum was opened on 10.04.1964, two days before the 20th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space, the first by any member of the human race.

Besides the Monument and the Museum, the grand “Cosmos” Pavilion in the Exhibition Centre displays many artefacts of the soviet Space Programme.

Many streets in this area have been named after the pioneers of the Space Programme – Nikolai Kibalchich, Friedrich Zander, Yuri Kondratyuk – and the participants in the Space Programme – Sergei Korolyov etc.

The Cosmonauts Alley south of the Monument exhibits portraits/busts of soviet Cosmonauts.

The Monument to the Conquerors of Space was also depicted on a 10 – Kopek coin in 1967, which was part of a Series of commemorative coins which were issued to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution.

The Monument was also depicted on the home kit for the Russian National Football team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the front of the team’s shirts.

On 2007, an exact replica of the “Conquerors of the Space Monument” to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, designed by Sergey Bychkov was inaugurated in downtown Borovsk, which shows a statue of Tsiolkovsky gazing at the flight of the rocket on its journey into Space.

Sputnik 1:
                   An image of Sputnik 1 in its orbit around the Earth

Sputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth Satellite which was launched into an elliptical Earth orbit on 04.10.1957 by the Soviet Union.

Measuring 58 cm (or 23 inches) in diameter, it was a polished metal sphere with four external radio antennae which broadcasted radio pulses.

Sputnik 1 was launched during the International Geophysical Year from a site at the 5th Tyuratam range, in Kazakh SSR (now at the Baikonur Cosmodrome).

The satellite travelled at a speed of about 29,000 kmph (or about 18000 mph), taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit. Its radio transmissions could be monitored by amateur radio operators throughout the World. The satellite stopped communicating on 26.10.1957, when its transmitter batteries died out. Sputnik 1 burned up on 04.01.1958 on its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere after travelling about 70 million km (43.5 million miles) and spending 3 months in orbit.

Interestingly, the launch of Sputnik 1 precipitated the American “Sputnik crisis” and triggered the “Space Race” which was a part of the larger Cold war.

The Salyut Programme:
                           An image of a Salyut Space Station

The Salyut (or “Salute” or “Fireworks”) Programme was the first Space Station programme undertaken by the USSR, which involved a Series of four crewed Scientific Research Space stations and two crewed Military Reconnaissance Space stations spanning from 1971 to 1986.

 Salyut was designed to carry out long-term research into the problems of living in space and a variety of astronomical, biological and Earth-Resources experiments. The Salyut mission was also to carry highly secretive military “Almaz” stations which also flew under the Salyut designation.

Salyut 1 was the first station in the programme and became the World’s first crewed Space station. Salyut broke several Space–flight records, including several mission duration records, the first ever orbital handover of a Space Station from one crew to another and various Space-walk records.

The experience gained from the Salyut stations paved the way for multi-modular space stations such as Mir and the International Space Stations.

The Soyuz Programme:
                                                  An image of a Soyuz Spacecraft
 It was the third Soviet human Space-flight Programme after the Vostok and Voskhod Programmes.

As envisaged by the earlier Programmes, the Soyuz (meaning “Union”) Programme was also a human Space-flight Programme initiated by USSR in the early 1960s. It was originally a part of the Moon Landing Project intended to put a Soviet Cosmonaut on the Moon.

 The Programme consisted of Soyuz Space-craft and the Soyuz rocket which is now the responsibility of the Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA).

The Soyuz Programme was vital for evolving Space Station technology from basic, engineering development stage, single-docking port stations to complex multi-port long-term orbital outposts with impressive scientific capabilities, whose technological learnings are helpful even today.

After the withdrawal of the Space Shuttle in 2011, all human Space-flights to and from the International Space Station are carried out using Soyuz Space-ships. 


  1. Anand Varma has commented:
    "Memories associated with 1980 Olympic when Indian Hockey Team won Gold beating Spain 4-3 after a long period . I was listening commentary of that final match. Great year . . Great success. . Great Moscow Olympic. . Great commemorative Coins".

    1. It was indeed, Anand. I'm surprised & pleased that you remembered the Games in such detail. Took me a lot of research to find out about this coin. Now, I am happy to have it in my collection, thanks to Div, who got it from Berlin for me!!