An episode in one of the early seasons of The Simpsons television show retold the story of the boycott, albeit in a more comic and less historically accurate way. Krustyburger sponsored an Olympics contest, giving away burgers to customers in the event of a U.S. gold medal in certain events — ones that they considered “the communists never lose”. Just then, they get word the Soviets pulled out of the games, making U.S. the likely winner of of many of those events, and Krustybuger potentially on the hook for countless burgers. The Soviets did indeed withdraw from the 1984 Olympics held in U.S. but certainly not because they wanted to spite McDonalds, who was running a similar contest. They were returning the favor of the U.S. boycott of the Moscow games for years earlier.
On this day, May, in 1984, the Soviet Union announced they would not participate in the summer Olympic games in Los Angeles. They cited the commercialization of the games as their reason, and accused the United States of using them “for political purposes” and “stirring up anti-Soviet propaganda”. Between the lines, it was understood the Soviets were leading a boycott in retaliation for the U.S.-led one that was prompted by the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
The entire Eastern Bloc followed suite, declaring their non-participation, as did Iran and Syria, for different reasons. Communist China, however, broke with the trend and decided to participate, for the first time since 1952.