1984  Los Angeles Summer Olympics

1984 Summer Olympics - About the Games

1984 Summer Olympics


Host City: Los Angeles, United States (July 29, 1984 to August 12, 1984)
Opening Ceremony: July 28, 1984 (opened by President Ronald Reagan)
Lighter of the Olympic Flame: Rafer Johnson
Taker of the Olympic Oath: Edwin Moses (athlete)
Closing Ceremony: August 12, 1984
Events: 221 in 26 sports

Participants: 6,798 (5,224 men and 1,567 women) from 140 countries
Youngest Participant: BEL Philippe Cuelenaere (12 years, 334 days)
Oldest Participant: ESP Luis del Cerro (60 years, 54 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): CHN Li Ning (6 medals)
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (174 medals)



After 52 years, the Summer Olympic returned to the United States in 1984, and once again, the Games came to Los Angeles. Looking for respite after the previous three difficult Olympics, the IOC would not find it in Los Angeles.

In May 1984, the Soviet Union announced that it would not attend the Olympics in Los Angeles, citing concerns over the safety of its athletes because of the "anti-Soviet and anti-Communist activities" in the Los Angeles area. Most people considered the boycott one of retribution for the United States' refusal to compete in Moscow. Most of the Eastern European countries joined in the Soviet-bloc boycott, notably East Germany (GDR), and they were joined by Cuba. Although only 14 invited countries did not compete in Los Angeles, the absence of the U.S.S.R., Cuba, and the GDR made many of the events mere shadows of what was anticipated.

Still, more countries and athletes competed at Los Angeles than in any previous Olympics. However, what the 1984 boycott lacked in numbers relative to the 1980 boycott, it made up for it in its impact on the competition. Boxing, weightlifting, wrestling, gymnastics, and track & field would have been dominated by the boycotting nations. The nations which did not compete were: Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Laos, Mongolia, North Korea, Poland, South Yemen, Vietnam, and the U.S.S.R. Bravely, Romania defied the boycott and competed at the Olympics, receiving an ovation at the opening ceremonies second only to that of the host country. Yugoslavia, not Soviet dominated, was the only other country from Eastern Europe to compete.

After all that, the Olympics were very well run, although the Europeans had numerous complaints, mostly about customary American methods of doing business. American television concentrated on U.S. athletes, which infuriated the Europeans. Notably, decathlon champion [Daley Thompson] (GBR) appeared at the closing ceremonies wearing a T-shirt saying "Thanks, America, for a great Games", on the front, and "But what about the television coverage?" on the back.

For the first time ever, the Games were managed in an entrepreneurial fashion. Organizing committee President [Peter Ueberroth] insisted that the Olympics be designed to break even or even provide a profit. Again, the Europeans, used to the simon-pure idealistic image of the Olympics for the Olympics' sake, rebelled against this philosophy. But Ueberroth was determined not to have another white elephant like Montréal and he succeeded admirably in that regard. So admirably, in fact, that when the final tally came in, the organizing committee had made several hundred million dollars. It should be pointed out, however, that Ueberroth's marketing methods, though decried by the Europeans, have since been copied by all organizing committees and even the IOC itself.

Much of the profit was given to the U.S. Olympic Committee, some to support youth sports programs in the U.S., and some was given back to the participating nations to help pay their expenses for participating. Still, it left a sour taste in many people's mouths, especially since the Organizing Committee was maintaining until the very end that it would not make a profit, but only come out approximately even.

As to the sports themselves, the competition was good, though diluted in many ways because of the boycott. [Carl Lewis] emerged as the American men's star, equalling [Jesse Owens]' 1936 feat of winning four gold medals in track & field. But Lewis did not have Owens' appeal to the American public and his image, almost obsequiously nurtured by his manager, failed to live up to his deeds on the track.

Failing Lewis, the American public reached instead to [Mary Lou Retton], an American gymnast who won the all-around individual gold for the first time in history. To win she needed a perfect ten on her last event, the horse vault. Given two vaults, she achieved the 10, not once, but twice.

After the debacles of Munich and Montréal, Los Angeles had been the only bidder for the Games of 1984. But Los Angeles, despite its problems, revitalized the Olympic Movement to some degree. Having shown that the Olympics did not need to be a "loss-leader" and could, in fact, produce an operating profit, many cities now were interested in hosting the Olympics. Shortly after the 1984 Olympics, six cities would bid to host the 1992 Games. And the IOC reached out to a strange bedfellow, Seoul, Korea, to provide a bit of solace to its troubled Movement in 1988.

The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was held from July 28 to August 12, 1984, in Los Angeles, United States. This was the second time that Los Angeles had hosted the Games, the first being in 1932.

California was the home state of the incumbent U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who officially opened the Games. The logo for the 1984 Games, branded "Stars in Motion", featured red, white and blue stars arranged horizontally and struck through with alternating streaks. The official mascot of the Games was Sam the Olympic Eagle. These were the first Summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch.

The 1984 Games were boycotted by a total of fourteen Eastern Bloc countries, including the Soviet Union and East Germany, in response to the American-led boycott of the previous 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; Romania was the only Eastern Bloc nation that opted to attend the Games. Iran and Libya also chose to boycott the Games for unrelated reasons. Despite the field being depleted in certain sports due to the boycott, 140 National Olympic Committees took part, which was a record at the time.

The 1984 Summer Olympics are widely considered to be the most financially successful modern Olympics and serve as an example of how to run the model Olympic Games. As a result of low construction costs, coupled with a reliance on private corporate funding, the 1984 Olympic Games generated a profit of more than $250 million.

On July 18, 2009, a 25th anniversary celebration was held in the main Olympic Stadium. The celebration included a speech by the former president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, Peter Ueberroth, and a re-creation of the lighting of the cauldron. Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics for the third time in 2028.


Host selection

After the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists in Munich (1972), the significant financial debts of Montreal (1976), and boycotts, few cities by the late 1970s were willing to bid for the Summer Olympics. Only two cities (Tehran and Los Angeles) made serious bids for the 1984 Summer Games, but before the final selection of a "winning" city in 1978, the bid from Tehran was withdrawn as a result of Iran's policy changes following the Iranian Revolution and a change in the country's ruling system. Hence, the selection process for the 1984 Summer Olympics consisted of a single finalized bid from Los Angeles, which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) accepted. The selection was officially made at the 80th IOC Session in Athens on 18 May 1978.

Los Angeles had unsuccessfully bid for the two previous Summer Olympics, for 1976 and 1980. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) had submitted at least one bid for every Olympics since 1944, but had not succeeded since the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932, the previous time only a single bid had been issued for the Summer Olympics.



John Williams composed the theme for the Olympiad, "Olympic Fanfare and Theme". This piece won a Grammy for Williams and became one of the most well-known musical themes of the Olympic Games, along with Leo Arnaud's "Bugler's Dream"; the latter is sometimes attached to the beginning of Olympic Fanfare and Theme. Composer Bill Conti also wrote a song to inspire the weightlifters called "Power". An album, The Official Music of the XXIII Olympiad—Los Angeles 1984, featured three of those tracks along with sports themes written for the occasion by popular musical artists including Foreigner, Toto, Loverboy, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Christopher Cross, Philip Glass and Giorgio Moroder.

The Brazilian composer Sérgio Mendes also produced a special song for the 1984 Olympic Games, "Olympia," from his 1984 album Confetti. A choir of approximately one thousand voices was assembled of singers in the region. All were volunteers from nearby churches, schools and universities.

Etta James performed "When the Saints Go Marching In" at the Opening Ceremony.

Vicki McClure along with the International Children's Choir of Long Beach sang "Reach Out and Touch".

Lionel Richie performed a 9-minute version of his hit single "All Night Long" at the closing ceremonies.



Los Angeles venues

  • Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – opening/closing ceremonies, athletics
  • Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena – boxing
  • Dodger Stadium – baseball
  • Pauley Pavilion, University of California, Los Angeles – gymnastics
  • Eagle's Nest Arena, California State University, Los Angeles – judo
  • Olympic Swim Stadium, University of Southern California – swimming, diving, synchronized swimming
  • Olympic Village (athlete housing), University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles Tennis Center, University of California, Los Angeles – tennis
  • Athletes Village, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Albert Gersten Pavilion, Loyola Marymount University, Westchester, California – weightlifting
  • Streets of Los Angeles – athletics (marathon)

Southern California venues

  • El Dorado Park, Long Beach, California – archery
  • The Forum, Inglewood, California – basketball
  • Lake Casitas, Ventura County, California – canoeing, rowing
  • Olympic Velodrome, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Carson, California – cycling (track)
  • Mission Viejo, Orange County, California – cycling (individual road race)
  • Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California – equestrian
  • Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Rancho Santa Fe, California, California – equestrian sports (eventing endurance)
  • Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California – fencing
  • Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California – football (final)
  • Titan Gymnasium, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California – handball
  • Weingart Stadium, East Los Angeles College, Monterey Park, California – field hockey
  • Coto de Caza, Orange County, California – modern pentathlon (fencing, riding, running, shooting)
  • Olympic Shooting Range, Prado Recreational Area, Chino, California – shooting
  • Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, California – volleyball
  • Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California – water polo
  • Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California – wrestling
  • Long Beach Shoreline Marina, Long Beach, California – sailing
  • Artesia Freeway – cycling (road team time trial)
  • Heritage Park Aquatic Center – modern pentathlon (swimming)
  • Santa Monica College – athletics (marathon start)
  • Santa Monica, California – athletics (marathon)

Other venues

  • Harvard Stadium, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts – football preliminaries
  • Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland – football preliminaries
  • Stanford Stadium, Stanford University, Stanford, California – football preliminaries


The Oxford Olympics Study established the outturn cost of the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics at US$719 million in 2015-dollars. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games. The cost for Los Angeles 1984 compares with costs of US$4.6 billion for Rio 2016, US$40-44 billion for Beijing 2008 and US$51 billion for Sochi 2014, the most expensive Olympics in history. Average cost for the Summer Games since 1960 is US$5.2 billion.

Los Angeles in previous applications

Los Angeles tried in vain after the hosting of the 1932 Summer Olympics in 1932 , again to be the venue. In 1932, around one million dollars in profits had been earned, which is why local businessmen wanted to bring the Summer Olympic Games in 1940 in the city. For this they founded the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG). After the outbreak of the Second World War , however, the project fell into oblivion. After the war, Los Angeles applied three times unsuccessful to the alignment: 1946 for the Summer Olympic Games in 1948 , 1947 for the 1952 Summer Olympics and 1949 for the 1956 Summer Olympics .

After the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) had nominated in each of the following four applications each Detroit and failed, claimed in 1970 again Los Angeles to host the 1976 Summer Olympics . Mayor Sam Yorty set up the LA76 Committee recruitment committee with John Kilroy , an entrepreneur and athlete, to bring the Games to the States to mark the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence . In the US-American elimination at the USOC Los Angeles was able to prevail. At the IOC , however, the plan to fund the Olympics with a private fund, in case the state did not participate, called for mistrust. In the election during the 1970 IOC session in Amsterdam Los Angeles separated with only 17 votes in the first round, in the second round Montreal won against Moscow .

Los Angeles restarted after the defeat and competed for the 1980 Summer Olympics. Opportunities were mitigated by the sport-political situation as the Soviet Union reacted angrily to Moscow's failure to make its decision in 1970 and some IOC members did not anger them wanted to. Thus, Moscow was able to prevail at the 1974 IOC session in Vienna with 39 to 20 votes with two abstentions against Los Angeles and align the 1980 Summer Olympics .

Application for 1984

For the 1984 Summer Olympics Los Angeles went into the race again. The city ​​council gave its support to the SCCOG on 27 October 1975 in a resolution and commissioned a cost-benefit study. This study indicated an expected deficit of $ 200 to $ 336.5 million, as no government or federal assistance was expected, while the SCCOG expected a $ 750,000 gain. After the SCCOG President John C. Argue had assured that no tax funds would be needed, the City Council voted by 12 to 0 votes in three absent Olympians on May 12, 1977 for the application for the Games. In the domestic American selection process at the USOC Los Angeles sat on September 25, 1977 at 55 to 39 by New York City . Previously, Atlanta , Boston , Chicago and New Orleans had withdrawn from the process. Both chambers of Congress supported the candidacy of Los Angeles, which, however, did not entail any financial assistance from the state.

Due to the financial loss at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the global economic crisis of 1974 and 1975, and the IOC's call for better guarantees, the cities of Algiers , Glasgow and Riyadh dropped their applications. In June 1977, retired with Tehran 's last competitor, so that Los Angeles was the only remaining candidate for the registration deadline of the IOC on October 31, 1977. In the run-up to the 80th IOC session in Athens , the leadership of the USOC, representatives of the City of Los Angeles, and Thomas Keller , president of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), met for an unsatisfactory answer received. In addition, 17 of the 22 sports federations represented in the GAISF rejected the concept of Los Angeles and demanded a new call for tenders from the IOC. The Olympics were awarded at the IOC session on 18 May 1978, however, provisionally to Los Angeles, after US President Jimmy Carter and Governor of California , Jerry Brown had pledged their support and the IOC Keller had assured that Los Angeles must meet all requirements of the Olympic Charter . One condition was that the contract should be in accordance with the Olympic rules by 1 August 1978, otherwise the right to host would have fallen back to the IOC. In particular, the financial liability was disputed, since neither the USOC nor the city wanted to take over. Finally, a private "Committee of Seven" opposed the IOC as a negotiating partner. From this was on 15 June 1978, the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC), with the plans to carry out the competitions largely in existing sports facilities, even negotiate the television contract to waive a central Olympic village and the profit to the IOC dissipated, at the IOC encountered little love.

However, no alternative bidder could be found because New York's financial risks were too great and the Munich Mayor Erich Kiesl unsuccessfully tried to propose Munich as a venue. Therefore, the IOC gradually yielded: The deadline for Los Angeles was extended until the 21st, then on 31 August 1978, until finally in a postal ballot by the IOC Los Angeles with 75 votes in favor, three against and six abstentions the Olympic Summer Games were awarded in 1984. The Los Angeles City Council voted by eight to four votes to three absent members, and finally, on October 20, 1978, the White House signed the contract between Los Angeles and the IOC by Tom Bradley and Lord Killanin .



On January 26, 1979, LAOOC appointed the 65-person Board of Directors, and on March 26, 1979, Paul Ziffren was appointed Chairman and Peter Ueberroth served as President. For the organization of the competitions, the LAOOC appointed a commissioner for each sport. In 1982, a sub-committee was set up for the organization of the 25 individual fields of activity. As sports director Michael O'Hara was active, who in 1964 had even participated in the Olympic Volleyball tournament. 

As already announced during the application phase, there were hardly any major construction projects. For the most part, LAOOC chose existing sports venues in the Los Angeles metropolitan area for the Olympic competitions. Only the swimming stadium, the velodrome and the tennis courts were rebuilt. The first two were each funded by sponsors. As announced, the LAOOC built no central Olympic village , but distributed the sports accommodation in three places. For the athletes' stay, the Organizing Committee initially wanted to charge $ 55- $ 58 a day, four years earlier it was $ 20. After protests from some IOC members, the LAOOC ultimately lowered the price to $ 42.

To finance the LAOOC concluded with 34 companies sponsor contracts . For example, Coca-Cola paid $ 25 million and Anheuser-Busch $ 15 million, with other sponsors including Canon , McDonald's and American Express . Overall, the LAOOC achieved $ 123 million. In addition, the Organizing Committee sold licenses to 64 companies. The LAOOC and the USOC also applied to the Congress for the coinage of silver commemorative coins with the denominations 1 and 10 dollars and gold commemorative coins with the denominations 50 and 100 dollars. Finally, two silver one-dollar coins for $ 32 and a $ 10 gold coin for $ 352 were approved. LAOOC and USOC each received $ 5 per silver coin sold and $ 25 per gold coin. Overall, the result exceeded the expected profit of $ 150 million, the LAOOC earned a profit of $ 232.5 million.  Instead of paying this money to the IOC as usual, 60% went to the USOC. The remaining 40% was created by the Los Angeles Amateur Foundation (LA84 Foundation) , in which former senior LAOOC members took over positions.


The Los Angeles Games marked a turning point in the commercialization of the Olympics. They were privately financed and showed that they not only have a sporting or idealistic, but also an economic value. The orientation of the IOC on the economy was favored by the election of Juan Antonio Samaranch, an industrial son with a business administration and management studies , [16] as IOC President. He set up a commission to look for new sources of finance for the IOC. In secret, he also negotiated a contract for the exclusive marketing of later Olympic Games with the 1982 founded Swiss agency International Sports and Leisure (ISL), behind the Horst Dassler stood, with the support Samaranch rose in 1980 to IOC President.  The contract became known at the 1983 IOC session in New Delhi and led to criticism from some IOC members. But he also paved the way for the full global commercialization of the Olympics: "The aspirant of the sports leader [Samaranch] to help the Olympic movement to gain money, power and size was linked to the mercantile interests of the sporting goods dealer [Dassler]."  , says Steffen Haffner. Representatives of the associations took up most of Samaranch on a positive footing, for example, by earning substantial funds from the NOKs who had themselves marketed by ISL. After the 1984 Summer Olympics, which were marketed by the LAOOC itself, the IOC, in collaboration with ISL founded the sponsorship program "The Olympic Program" (TOP I), which earned him around $ 97 million from 1985 to 1988. The successes of the commercialization of the 1984 games made them despite all the criticism of this development the model for the following summer games (→ commercialization and criticism ).

Olympic Solidarity and Professional Sports

For the 1984 Summer Olympics, the IOC founded "Olympic Solidarity," a program that would provide $ 5 million in support to athletes from developing countries . First ideas of this kind came in 1974, but they were only implemented after ten years. Athletes were prepared for participation in training courses, and the IOC also supported the teams in their travel expenses. This helped to achieve despite the boycott a high number of participants.

During the 84th IOC session in Baden-Baden in 1981, the admissions rule 26, referred to as the amateur paragraph, was changed, opening the Olympic movement to professional athletes. Willi Daume , the chairman of the admissions committee, achieved the change by presenting it in such a way that the rule should only be reinterpreted. Sports federations should have more freedom of choice and athletes should be able to use funds financed by sponsors, while direct links between the athlete and the sponsor should continue to be prohibited.  In practice, the fund concept has been replaced by the provision that athletes in matters of sponsorship must submit to the control of the respective NOC within a period of four weeks to two weeks after the games. However, the rules on this waiting period as well as funding through sponsorship funds were watered down as a result, the professionalization of competitive sports changed the "popular sports strongly from victory to profit". 

For the 1984 games only FIFA took advantage of the new opportunities for professional participation. It decided on June 9, 1982 the approval of professionals who were born after June 1, 1961. An unlimited admission of professionals there was only in 1988 in Seoul in the sports of tennis and table tennis. This development continued in succession, symbolized by the " Dream Team " of the NBA basketball professionals in 1992 in Barcelona . 

Olympic sports / disciplines 1984

The 1984 Summer Olympic program featured 221 events in the following 21 sports:

  • Aquatics
    • Diving (4)
    • Swimming (29)
    • Synchronized swimming (2)
    • Water polo (1)
  • Archery (2)
  • Athletics (41)
  • Basketball (2)
  • Boxing (12)


  • Canoeing (12)
  • Cycling
    • Road (3)
    • Track (5)
  • Equestrian
    • Dressage (2)
    • Eventing (2)
    • Show jumping (2)


  • Fencing (8)
  • Field hockey (2)
  • Football (1)
  • Gymnastics
    • Artistic (14)
    • Rhythmic (1)
  • Handball (2)
  • Judo (8)
  • Modern pentathlon (2)


  • Rowing (14)
  • Sailing (7)
  • Shooting (11)
  • Volleyball (2)
  • Weightlifting (10)
  • Wrestling
    • Freestyle (10)
    • Greco-Roman (10)


Demonstration sports

  • Baseball
  • Tennis
discipline Sat.
July August
Olympic rings without rims.svg opening ceremony                                 92655
Basketball pictogram.svg basketball                     1     1     363093
Archery pictogram.svg archery                             2   25396
Boxing pictogram.svg boxing                             12   230906
Fencing pictogram.svg fencing         1 1 1 1   1 1 1   1     40,441
Football pictogram.svg Soccer                             1   1422605
Weightlifting pictogram.svg weightlifting   1 1 1 1 1   1 1 1 1 1         42736
Handball pictogram.svg handball                         1   1   69352
Field hockey pictogram.svg hockey                       1     1   150732
Judo pictogram.svg judo               1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1   34,400
Canoeing (flatwater) pictogram.svg canoe                         6 6     54144
Athletics pictogram.svg athletics             3 3 5 7   4 2 5 11 1 1129485
Modern pentathlon pictogram.svg Modern pentathlon           2                     21588
cycling Cycling (track) pictogram.svg train     1   1   3                   42,000
Cycling (road) pictogram.svg Street   2             1              
Equestrian Equestrian Dressage pictogram.svg dressage                         1 1     282372
Equestrian Jumping pictogram.svg Jump                     1         1
Equestrian Eventing pictogram.svg versatility             2                  
wrestling Wrestling Freestyle pictogram.svg freestyle                         3 3 4   105380
Wrestling pictogram.svg Greek-Rom.         3 3 4                  
Rowing pictogram.svg rowing               6 8th               68385
Shooting pictogram.svg shoot   2 1 3 1 2 1 1                 24826
Swimming sport Swimming pictogram.svg swim   4 5 5   5 5 5                 305896
Synchronized swimming pictogram.svg synchronized swimming                         1     1
Water polo pictogram.svg water polo                           1    
Diving pictogram.svg diving                   1   1   1   1
Sailing pictogram.svg sailing                       7         0
gymnastics Gymnastics (artistic) pictogram.svg gymnastics       1 1 1 1 6 4               137229
Gymnastics (rhythmic) pictogram.svg Rhythmic sports gymnastics                           1    
Volleyball (indoor) pictogram.svg volleyball                     1       1   300428
Olympic rings without rims.svg closing ceremony                                 90861
demonstration competitions
baseball                     1            
tennis                             2    
decisions   9 8th 10 8th 15 20 24 20 11 6 16 15 21 34 4  
July August

color Legend

  • opening ceremony
  • Competition day (no decisions)
  • Competition day (x decisions)
  • closing ceremony

Medal count

These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1984 Games.

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States* 83 61 30 174
2  Romania 20 16 17 53
3  West Germany 17 19 23 59
4  China 15 8 9 32
5  Italy 14 6 12 32
6  Canada 10 18 16 44
7  Japan 10 8 14 32
8  New Zealand 8 1 2 11
9  Yugoslavia 7 4 7 18
10  South Korea 6 6 7 19
Totals (10 nations) 190 147 137 474

Participating National Olympic Committees

Participating nations Number of athletes

Athletes from 140 nations competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Eighteen nations made their Olympic debut: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Virgin Islands, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Mauritania, Mauritius, North Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and the United Arab Emirates. Zaire had previously competed at the 1968 Summer Olympics as Congo-Kinshasa. The People's Republic of China made its first appearance in a Summer Olympics since 1952, while for the first time the Republic of China team participated under the politically contrived name of Chinese Taipei.

The Soviet Union led the Warsaw Pact members and other Communist countries in a boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics, in retaliation for the U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Olympics four years earlier (over the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979). The pretexts for the 1984 Soviet-led boycott were concerns over security, "chauvinistic sentiments" and "an anti-Soviet hysteria ... being whipped up" in the United States. However, a handful of countries disregarded the boycott and attended the Games anyway, among them Yugoslavia (host of the 1984 Winter Olympics), the People's Republic of China, and Romania (the only Warsaw Pact country that had opted to ignore the Soviet demands). The Romanian team received a particularly warm reception from the United States; when the Romanian athletes entered during the opening ceremonies, they were greeted by a standing ovation from the spectators, who were mostly U.S. citizens. This would turn out to be Romania's most successful Olympic Games – they won 53 medals, including 20 golds.

In the table below, the number of athletes representing each nation is shown in parentheses.

Participating National Olympic Committees
  •  Algeria (32)
  •  Andorra (2)
  •  Antigua and Barbuda (13)
  •  Argentina (87)
  •  Australia (246)
  •  Austria (102)
  •  Bahamas (22)
  •  Bahrain (10)
  •  Bangladesh (1)
  •  Barbados (16)
  •  Belgium (67)
  •  Belize (11)
  •  Benin (3)
  •  Bermuda (12)
  •  Bhutan (6)
  •  Bolivia (12)
  •  Botswana (7)
  •  Brazil (151)
  •  British Virgin Islands (9)
  •  Burma (1)
  •  Cameroon (49)
  •  Canada (439)
  •  Cayman Islands (8)
  •  Central African Republic (2)
  •  Chad (3)
  •  Chile (57)
  •  China (219)
  •  Colombia (37)
  •  Republic of the Congo (10)
  •  Costa Rica (28)
  •  Cyprus (10)
  •  Denmark (63)
  •  Djibouti (3)
  •  Dominican Republic (39)
  •  Ecuador (10)
  •  Egypt (114)
  •  El Salvador (10)
  •  Equatorial Guinea (5)
  •  Fiji (15)
  •  Finland (88)
  •  France (243)
  •  Gabon (4)
  •  The Gambia (7)
  •  West Germany (394)
  •  Ghana (23)
  •  Great Britain (338)
  •  Greece (51)
  •  Grenada (7)
  •  Guatemala (24)
  •  Guinea (3)
  •  Guyana (6)
  •  Haiti (4)
  •  Honduras (12)
  •  Hong Kong (48)
  •  Iceland (32)
  •  India (48)
  •  Indonesia (16)
  •  Iraq (24)
  •  Ireland (43)
  •  Israel (31)
  •  Italy (305)
  •  Ivory Coast (12)
  •  Jamaica (45)
  •  Japan (247)
  •  Jordan (12)
  •  Kenya (60)
  •  South Korea (204)
  •  Kuwait (23)
  •  Lebanon (21)
  •  Lesotho (4)
  •  Liberia (9)
  •  Liechtenstein (7)
  •  Luxembourg (5)
  •  Madagascar (4)
  •  Malawi (15)
  •  Malaysia (21)
  •  Mali (4)
  •  Malta (8)
  •  Mauritania (4)
  •  Mauritius (4)
  •  Mexico (99)
  •  Monaco (8)
  •  Morocco (40)
  •  Mozambique (9)
  •  Nepal (11)
  •  Netherlands (127)
  •  Netherlands Antilles (8)
  •  New Zealand (130)
  •  Nicaragua (25)
  •  Niger (3)
  •  Nigeria (33)
  •  Norway (104)
  •  Oman (16)
  •  Pakistan (29)
  •  Panama (8)
  •  Papua New Guinea (7)
  •  Paraguay (14)
  •  Peru (38)
  •  Philippines (20)
  •  Portugal (39)
  •  Puerto Rico (51)
  •  Qatar (27)
  •  Romania (125)
  •  Rwanda (3)
  •  San Marino (19)
  •  Saudi Arabia (40)
  •  Senegal (24)
  •  Seychelles (9)
  •  Sierra Leone (7)
  •  Singapore (5)
  •  Solomon Islands (3)
  •  Somalia (7)
  •  Spain (185)
  •  Sri Lanka (4)
  •  Sudan (5)
  •  Suriname (5)
  •  Swaziland (8)
  •  Sweden (176)
  •  Switzerland (129)
  •  Syria (7)
  •  Chinese Taipei (59)
  •  Tanzania (18)
  •  Thailand (35)
  •  Togo (6)
  •  Tonga (7)
  •  Trinidad and Tobago (16)
  •  Tunisia (23)
  •  Turkey (47)
  •  Uganda (26)
  •  United Arab Emirates (7)
  •  United States (522) (host)
  •  Uruguay (19)
  •  Venezuela (26)
  •  Virgin Islands (33)
  •  Samoa (8)
  •  North Yemen (2)
  •  Yugoslavia (143)
  •  Zaire (8)
  •  Zambia (16)
  •  Zimbabwe (16)

Boycotting countries

Fourteen countries took part in the Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics:

  •  Afghanistan
  •  Angola
  •  Bulgaria
  •  Cuba
  •  Czechoslovakia
  •  East Germany
  •  Ethiopia
  •  Hungary
  •  Laos
  •  Mongolia
Countries that boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics are shaded blue
  •  North Korea
  •  Poland
  •  Soviet Union
  •  Vietnam

Albania, Iran and Libya also boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics, citing political reasons, but these countries were not a part of the Soviet-led boycott. Albania and Iran were the only two countries to boycott both the 1980 and 1984 Summer Games.

  •  Albania
  •  Iran
  •  Libya


For doping controls , the LAOOC set up its own doping laboratory at UCLA , because until then, the only IOC-compliant laboratory in North America was in Montreal . On November 30, 1983, the IOC accredited the lab at the university so that it could take over the doping controls at the Games. The IOC called for 2000 doping controls, while the LAOOC only wanted to test 1500 athletes. Eventually, the organizing committee prevailed and tested 1502 athletes during the 15 competition days.

Eleven doping tests on steroids for muscle building were positive, two of which came from medal winners who had to return their medals. Finnish 10,000-meter runner Martti Vainio and Swedish super-Roman wrestler Tomas Johansson , both of whom had silver, were convicted of doping with the anabolic steroid methenolone and suspended for at least a year. A hammer thrower and a volleyball player were found guilty of testosterone doping, two more athletes and five weightlifters of all weight classes were tested positive for nandrolone . At least ten more Gedopte had no consequences to fear, since their positive tests from the hotel room of IOC medical director Alexandre de Mérode had disappeared.

In retrospect, USOC confidential records leaked out, revealing that 34 US athletes had been tested but not suspended in secret pre-match doping rehearsals. These tests were designed to prevent traces of doping from being detected in the games. The United States was also under pressure that the Moscow Games were officially celebrated as the first doping-free Olympic Games in history, and that the United States wanted to follow suit in 1984. [72]

With 1,610 gender examinations , the number of medical tests confirming the gender of all female registered starters was greater than the number of doping samples. The buccal mucosal smears were taken in 88% of the participants and examined for Y chromosomes , since the remaining 12% already had "femininity certificates" of the IOC Medical Commission . The samples were taken before the first competition of the athletes in the polyclinics of the three Olympic villages and tested in a central laboratory within 24 hours.  Ambiguous test results led to consultations of the IOC Medical Commission, The LAOOC did not announce official results to protect the dignity of those affected. Nevertheless, a number of six athletes are accepted whose first test results were "male".

1984 Los Angeles

Name Country Sport Banned substance Medals
Serafim Grammatikopoulos  Greece Weightlifting Nandrolone  
Vésteinn Hafsteinsson  Iceland Athletics Nandrolone  
Tomas Johansson  Sweden Wrestling Methenolone 2nd, silver medalist(s) (super-heavy)
Stefan Laggner  Austria Weightlifting Nandrolone  
Göran Pettersson  Sweden Weightlifting Nandrolone  
Eiji Shimomura  Japan Volleyball Testosterone  
Mikiyasu Tanaka  Japan Volleyball Ephedrine  
Ahmed Tarbi  Algeria Weightlifting Nandrolone  
Mahmud Tarha  Lebanon Weightlifting Nandrolone  
Giampaolo Urlando  Italy Athletics Testosterone  
Martti Vainio  Finland Athletics Methenolone 2nd, silver medalist(s) (10,000 m)
Anna Verouli  Greece Athletics Nandrolone  

The organizers of the Los Angeles games had refused to provide the IOC doping authorities with a safe prior to the start of the games. Due to a lack of security, medical records were subsequently stolen. A 1994 letter from IOC Medical Commission chair Alexandre de Mérode claimed that Tony Daly, a member of the Los Angeles organizing committee had destroyed the records. Dick Pound later wrote of his frustration that the organizing committee had removed evidence before it could be acted on by the IOC. Pound also claimed that IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and Primo Nebiolo, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had conspired to delay the announcement of positive tests so that the games could pass without controversy.

The American cyclist Pat McDonough later admitted to "blood doping" at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Following the games it was revealed that one-third of the U.S. cycling team had received blood transfusions before the games, where they won nine medals, their first medal success since the 1912 Summer Olympics. "Blood doping" was banned by the IOC in 1985 (at the time of the Olympics it was not banned), though no test existed for it at the time.


Alleged Soviet doping plan

Documents obtained in 2016 revealed the Soviet Union's plans for a statewide doping system in track and field in preparation for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Dated prior to the country's decision to boycott the Games, the document detailed the existing steroids operations of the program, along with suggestions for further enhancements. The communication, directed to the Soviet Union's head of track and field, was prepared by Dr. Sergei Portugalov of the Institute for Physical Culture. Portugalov was also one of the main figures involved in the implementation of the Russian doping program prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics.Filmmaker and director of 2017 movie Icarus Bryan Fogel has said that stricter doping controls might have been the main reason of the Soviet boycott.

Success of Los Angeles as host city

Following the news of the massive financial losses of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the only two cities to express a genuine interest in hosting the 1984 Games were Los Angeles and New York. Given that only one city per country is allowed to bid for any one Games, the USOC vote for the American bid city was effectively the deciding vote for the 1984 Olympics host city. In this case, the Los Angeles bid received 55 votes compared with New York's 39 votes – this is the closest that the city of New York has ever come to being selected to host the Olympic Games, coming closer in 1984 than they did in their 2012 bid (when they lost to London).

The low level of interest among potential host cities for the 1984 Games had been viewed as a major threat to the future of the Olympic Games. However, after the financial success of the Los Angeles Games, cities began to show a renewed interest in bidding to become host again. The Los Angeles and Montreal Games are seen as examples of best and worst practice when organizing the Olympics, and serve as valuable lessons to prospective host cities.

Ambitious construction projects for the two previous Summer Olympics, Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980, had burdened organizers with substantial debts as expenses greatly exceeded revenues. Furthermore, the 1976 and 1980 Olympics were entirely government funded. Unlike Montreal and Moscow, Los Angeles 1984 was privately funded, with strict controls imposed on expenditure; rather than constructing new venues with overly ambitious designs, the organizers chose instead to utilise existing venues and facilities wherever possible. The main example of this was the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which was also the Olympic Stadium for the 1932 Summer Olympics. The only two new venues constructed specifically for the 1984 Summer Olympics were secured with the backing of corporate sponsors: the Olympic Velodrome was largely funded by the 7-Eleven corporation and the Olympic Swim Stadium by McDonald's.

In addition to corporate support, the Olympic committee also used the income from the exclusive television rights, and for the first time these contracts would prove to be a significant source of revenue. Adjusted for inflation, the Los Angeles Games secured twice the amount of income received by the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics and four times that of the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics.

Following the success of the 1984 Games, the Los Angeles OCOG, led by Peter Ueberroth, used the profits to create the LA84 Foundation for promoting youth sports in Southern California, educating coaches and maintaining a sports library.


Commercialization and criticism

The games of Los Angeles in 1984 caused a strong commercialization of the Olympic Games (see Commercialization ). The official sponsors, who contributed to the financing of the LAOOC budget, were able to promote this status. For example, Coca-Cola used the slogan " Official Soft Drinks of the Olympics " and estimated its success at 21 million drinks sold during the competitions. Levi Strauss made the equipment of the American Olympic team a promotional audience vote. [26] McDonald's launched the " When the US wins, you win " promotion on scratchcardsOlympic disciplines were scrub- free and got a Big Mac for free in an American gold medal in this discipline , for silver fries and for bronze a coke . The unexpected costs due to the numerous gold medals in the absence of the Soviet team led to a major financial loss,  on about the television series The Simpsons in 1992 alluded. 

Due to the lack of public funds, the LAOOC also went into the construction of new sports facilities depending on the sponsors who financed new buildings. That's why the Los Angeles budget could cost $ 470 million, while the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow cost $ 9 billion, and Montreal spent $ 1.5 billion four years earlier and became indebted.

The marketing of the games met with some heavy criticism. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote, "Profit and capitalist thinking accompany the preparations", Mario Pescante of Italy's NOK warned that Olympics would be treated by the Americans as "any business enterprise".  With Maureen Kindel, even a member of the LAOOC's board of directors was "worried that the soul would be harmed by the magic of the games." The LAOOC president, Peter Ueberroth , however, argued that this type of funding would be "a model for future Olympic Games". In fact, the organizers of Seoul and Calgary were guided by the LAOOC, and sponsorship became part of the Olympics, which was heavily exploited in Atlanta in 1996. On the other hand, there were voices promising an end to Olympic mendacity from open commercialization:



The press officer of the Los Angeles Summer Olympics was Richard B. Perelman . A total of 8,700 journalists, technicians and other employees of the media were accredited. Alone 4863 employees of television and radio were present to report from the Olympic Games.

The LAOOC received a total of $ 286,764 million through the sale of the television rights. The American Broadcasting Company alone paid 225 million, followed by the European Broadcasting Union with 19.8 million and Japan with 18.5 million. In return, the agreement with ABC contained the assurance "that Olympic competitions, which are particularly popular with Americans, will run at reasonable air time." The ABC broadcasted the games not only in the US, but produced the world view on which all channels resorted. With 216 cameras ABC brought a total of 180 hours of Olympics on the television screen. The daily transmission was divided into four sections. From eight to eleven there was a morning broadcast in the style of Good Morning America , which was reported live only from rowing and canoe racing. Between 13 and 14:30, ABC broadcast the first decisions of the day and between 16 and 21, all important decisions. From 21:30 to 23 clock followed by reports.

Each advertising minute during these broadcasts earned the channel $ 250,000. All of ABC's ad space sold out in mid-1983 for a total of $ 615 million.  In part, ABC awarded free advertising minutes to companies whose advertising had suffered during the 1984 Winter Olympics due to declining ratings due to the early retirement of the American ice hockey team and the postponement of the Downhill race.  In Germany, ARD and ZDF broadcastthe games. The images differed only slightly from those in the US, because of the world view of ABC was used. In addition to the share for the image rights, the costs for the German broadcasters were estimated at 17 million deutschmarks, since studio rooms, technical equipment and decoration, as well as speaker seats in the stadiums had to be paid separately for the first time.

Broadcast rights

The 1984 Games were covered by the following broadcasters:

  •  Argentina: Argentina Televisora Color, Canal 13, Canal 11
  •  Australia: Network Ten
  •  Brazil: Rede Globo, Rede Manchete, SBT, Rede Record, Rede Bandeirantes
  •  Brunei: Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad TV3, a member of New Straits Times Press (live direct television broadcast transmission)
  •  Canada: CBC
  •  Chile: TVN, UC-TV
  •  China: CCTV
  •  Ecuador: Teleamazonas
  •  France: TF1
  •  Hong Kong: ATV, TVB
  •  India: Doordarshan
  •  Indonesia: TVRI Jakarta
  •  Ireland: RTÉ
  •  Italy: RAI
  •  Japan: NHK
  •  Macau: TDM
  •  Malaysia: Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad TV3, a member of New Straits Times Press (live direct television broadcast transmission)
  •  Mexico: Televisa
  •  Netherlands: NPO
  •  New Zealand: TVNZ
  •  Norway: NRK
  •  Paraguay: Paraguay Televisora Color, Canal 4, Canal 9 Cerro Corá
  •  Philippines: GMA Radio-Television Arts, Radio Philippines Network
  •  Portugal: RTP
  •  Romania: TVR
  •  Singapore: Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad TV3, a member of New Straits Times Press (live direct television broadcast transmission)
  •  South Korea: KBS, MBC
  •  Spain: TVE
  •  Sri Lanka: Rupavahini (SLRC)
  •  Sweden: SVT
  •  Taiwan: TTV, CTV, CTS
  •  Thailand: National Television Thailand
  •  Turkey: TRT
  •  United Kingdom: BBC
  •  United States: KABC-7 (ABC)
  •  Uruguay: SODRE Canal 14, Monte Carlo TV, Channel 10, Teledoce
  •  Venezuela: Venevision
  •  West Germany: ARD, ZDF
  •  Yugoslavia: JRT

In popular culture

The games were the topic of the 1983–84 United States commemorative coin series.

McDonald's ran a promotion titled, "When the U.S. Wins, You Win" where customers scratched off a ticket with the name of an Olympic event on it, and if the U.S. won a medal in that event then they would be given a free menu item: a Big Mac for a gold medal, an order of french fries for a silver medal, and a Coca-Cola for a bronze medal. The promotion became more popular than expected due to the Soviet boycott which led to the U.S. winning far more Olympic medals than expected.

This promotion was parodied in The Simpsons episode "Lisa's First Word", where Krusty Burger runs a similar offer. The promotion was intended to be rigged so that prizes would only be offered in events dominated by the Eastern Bloc, but the Soviet-led boycott causes Krusty to personally lose $44 million. He vehemently promises "to spit in every fiftieth burger," to which Homer retorts "I like those odds!" Chief Wiggum also exclaims that he could kiss Carl Lewis, who won four gold medals at the Games.

On NCIS, Tim McGee has an obsession with jet packs, stemming from having attended the 1984 Olympic ceremony as a child and having Bill Suitor fly over his head in his jet pack. This storyline is based on the real experience of executive producer and writer Jesse Stern.

Pop punk band Bowling for Soup references the games in the song "I Can't Stand LA". During a section showing appreciation for the city, the song states, "thank you for hair metal and the '84 Olympics."

Jilly Cooper's novel Riders has a storyline set at the show jumping event at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

In the Seinfeld episode "The Gymnast", Jerry dates a woman who competed in the 1984 Olympics and won a silver medal for Romania.


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