The 1986 Goodwill Games was the inaugural edition of the international multi-sport event created by Ted Turner, which was held from 5 – 20 July 1986. The main stadium was the Central Lenin Stadium in Moscow, Soviet Union. The Games were a response to the Olympic boycotts of the period, which saw the United States refuse to attend the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and the Soviet Union refusing to attend the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The Soviet athletes dominated the competition, winning 118 gold medals and 241 medals overall. The United States finished second place, with 42 golds and 142 medals in total.
A total of 3000 athletes from 79 nations took part in events in eighteen different sports. The Goodwill Games was the first time in eleven years that elite athletes from Soviet Union and United States competed against each other in a major summer multi-sport event. In contrast to the selection methods of other major competitions, the Games was an invitation-only event. The event was broadcast over 129 hours on TBS in the United States.
The Games themselves were subject to political issues, as the United States Defense Department banned 12 American athletes from competing as they were serving military personnel. The USSR also banned teams from Israel and South Korea (two close allies of the US) from the competition. The Goodwill Games, although commercial in nature, were not successful financially and Turner Broadcasting suffered millions of dollars of losses through its support of the event.
A number of sporting world records were set over the course of the Games. In the athletics competition, Sergey Bubka broke the pole vault record with a mark of 6.01 m, Jackie Joyner-Kersee broke the heptathlon record with a score of 7148 points, while Ben Johnson defeated Carl Lewis in the 100 metres to win his first major international title. Vladimir Salnikov broke the 800 m freestyle world record in the swimming competition with a time of 7:50.64. In the cycling events, Michael Hübner and Erika Salumäe set world records in the men's and women's 200 m flying start race, respectively.
The 1986 FIBA World Basketball Championship in Madrid was broadcast on Ted Turner's network and were thus classified as the official Goodwill Games event for the men's sport. In the women's basketball competition, the United States team broke the Soviets' undefeated international run, which had grown to 152 victories. The 1986 Games also saw the first ever international motorcycle polo, or motoball, competition.