Former Utah star Danny Vranes reflects on the 1980 Summer Games that never were

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) –  Can you imagine working towards a goal for most of your life, achiecing it, then having it taken away? 

That’s what happened to the entire 1980 USA Olympic team, which included former Utes basketball star Danny Vranes.

“I dreamed about it,” Vranes said. “Did I ever think it would happen? No. It was a big thing in my day. Every little boy dreamed of being in the Olympics one day.”

But that day never came for Vranes, despite being on the Olympic basketball team. He made the 12-man squad after a tryout in Lexington Kentucky.
 
“You had 5 days to show your worth,” Vranes said. “It was intense two-a-days, and then to finally have your named called, it was something else.”
 
But there was something else going on — rumors going around that the USA might boycott the Olympic games, which were going to take place in Moscow.
 
“There were rumblings during tryouts that [President] Carter might,” Vranes said.”
 
The government tried to make it up to the athletes, by giving them some gifts.
 
“Cowboy hat, picture of Jimmy Carter, they gave us a gold medal, just like the real deal, but it doesn’t mean anything other than you were on the team,” said Vranes. “The NBA felt sorry for us, so we played 3 all-star teams, but it was summer, they weren’t in shape, so there was no intensity.”
 
So Danny Vranes, the former Skyline high school and University of Utah star, was on the one U.S. Olympic basketball team that didn’t get a chance to play in the Olympics.
 
“Can you believe that?” he said. “You were someone if you were on the U.S. basketball team, I wish I could have shared that with my kids and grandkids.  Kind of a bummer.”

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