History of the Olympic Games


Dates: July 28- August 12 1984
Nations: 140
Total Athletes: 7,078
Sports: 21

As Los Angeles was preparing for the 1984 Games, it was becoming exhaustingly clear that hosting the Olympic Games could be a draining effect on the host city. One need to look no further than the racial protests during the 1968 Mexico City, the horrible tragedy of the '72 Munich Games, the record debts and African boycott of the 1976 Montreal Games, the absence of more than half of the world's IOC recognized countries in Moscow during the 1980 Games, it was clear that something had to be done.

Peter Uerberoth, put in charge of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, would forever change the business principles for future Olympics. Ueberroth introduced corporate style business principles throughout his entire organization. He was able to raise an incredible $150 million in corporate sponsorships, $286.8 million in television rights and another $150 million in tickete sales. It would later be disclosed that the LAOOC would declare a profit of $215 million, an amount that would not be lost on new IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who would use those same principles in obtaining the independent marketing rights for 153 National Olympic Committees by the 1988 Seoul Games. By then, Samaranch had a Swiss-based ISL marketing company to secure the financial security of the organization.

LA would become only the third city to host a second Olympiad. Paris (1900, 1924) and London (1908, 1948) were the other two.

Just as Russia had dominated the 1980 Olympics due to the Western boycott, the United States dominated the '84 games just as easily when the Soviet Union and 13 other Soviet bloc nations boycotted the American Games.

Los Angeles hosted a record 140 nations and 7,078 athletes and it went off in incredible fashion.

Great Britain's Sebastian Coe capped off his Olympic career with a victory in the 1,500 meter, just as he had done four years earlier.

However, it would be the Americans that would take center stage.

Of the 514 medals handed out, more than a third (174) went to American athletes. The U.S. walked off with 83 of a possible 223 gold medals.

Carl Lewis launched what would become a spectacular Olympic career in Los Angeles, becoming the first man to win four gold track and field medals since Jesse Owens in 1936. Lewis took the 100 and 200 meter sprints, the long jump and anchored the 4 x 100 meter relay team.

This would also be the coming out party for a female gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who would win America's first Olympic women's individual gymnastics medal. This would be the first Olympiad in which an American male would garner a gold in individual gymnastics, as Peter Vidmar accomplished the feat.

Valerie Brisco Hooks became the first woman to win the 200 and 400 meters, while Joan Benoit of the U.S. was the first-ever winner of the women's marathon.

The boxing team was relentless, winning nine of 12 gold medals. That didn't include Evander Holyfield's disqualification for a late knockout punch. Holyfield had to settle for a bronze medal.

Much like the boxing team, the swimming team captured 21 of 34 gold medals. Michael Jordan and Cheryl Miller led the men and women's basketball ball teams to easy gold medal victories.

The shape of the Olympics would never be the same after the success of the LA Games.

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