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20 year anniversary of LA '84

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The Los Angeles Times has several stories regarding the '84 Summer Olympics, obviously coinciding with the 20th anniversary of them.  

Here are two of them (you might be required to register with the LA Times website to read the stories, but registration is free).  


Glory Days

The '84 games were perhaps L.A.'s finest hour, a model of unity, pride and profitability whose impact is undimmed by the passage of 20 years.


Stage Awaits Encore

After success of 1984 Games in L.A., many have worked to bring them back.

Reading the first story gave me more insight of what went on to organize the 1984 Summer Games.  I know from reading other books that the IOC basically gave the organizers of the LA '84 Olympics carte blanche.  After all, virtually by default Los Angeles won the '84 Games; the IOC was surprised with Peter Ueberroth's (the head of the organizing committee) unconventional (at the time) organizing style; basically the organizers said to the IOC, "you let us do it our way or else there will be no 1984 Summer Olympics."  And what a great success they were, logistically AND financially.

Before reading these LA Times stories, I didn't know that a boycott of the '84 SOG had already been anticipated by Ueberroth; he figured it would be fair game since the US led a boycott of the Moscow Games.  So what Ueberroth did was he had people designated as envoys to each Olympic country. When their athletes or officials came to visit, the envoys entertained them in their homes, became their friends, usually spoke their language.  When the Soviets announced their boycott in April 1984, many of the envoys were immediately sent abroad to the countries and officials with whom they now had working relationships.  When the Soviets announced the boycott, they predicted that as many as 100 countries would fall in line.  But in the end, only 12 did.

I also found this anecdote interesting, from the story:

"The IOC, used to being treated like royalty because much of it was back then, never quite knew what to make of Ueberroth and his untraditional organizing committee.

As was their custom, IOC members and other dignitaries visited often from all over the world in the years and months leading up to the Games. But instead of limos awaiting them, Ueberroth sent members of his committee, some of them CEOs and some of them recent college graduates living at home with mom and dad, to do the pickup. It was not inconceivable to have the likes of King Constantine of Greece leaving LAX in the passenger seat of [an organizing committee member]'s little red Datsun, with the white racing stripes.... But just when the dignitaries started to view the Los Angeles organizers as the Beverly Hillbillies, Ueberroth threw the IOC a 10-course dinner at the [very ritzy landmark] Biltmore Hotel in conjunction with the Olympic Arts Festival that dazzled the foreign visitors..."

Hehe!  In light of how much is spent now on the Olympics, I think this puts things in perspective.

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The LA Games were the first Games I remember seeing.  I think we can all be thankful for them having re-invented how Olympic Games are hosted.  They were smart and wonderful games...the Soviets missed out, but Canada got to benefit with over 40 medals, 10 of them gold.

Wow, where does 20 years go?


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