From the Archive: Olympic Fever

With the Winter Olympics just underway, the hometown host of Sochi has already found itself among the constant buzz of front-page news. As we watch to see how Sochi will leave its final mark on the 2014 Olympics, we thought we would look back 30 years at some of the headlines from when Los Angeles hosted the 1984 Summer Olympics. From a not-yet-tarnished O.J. Simpson carrying the torch, to the first-ever female marathon event, here’s a few memorable moments we’ve dug up from the Los Angeles Public Library’s photo collection. Let the games begin!

O.J. Simpson Carries Olympic Torch
It took a chain of 4,200 runners–running one-kilometer segments over 82 days–to deliver the Olympic torch across the U.S. to Los Angeles. Just days before the Opening Ceremonies at the Coliseum, O.J. Simpson carried the torch in Santa Monica. Runners are shown on the California Incline, connecting Ocean Avenue to the Pacific Coast Highway.


Peristyle End of Coliseum During Olympics end of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the Los Angeles Olympic Games.


1984 Olympic Stars
Before there was a “Dream Team,” 1984 Olympic stars Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Wayman Tisdale and Patrick Ewing made it easy for the United States to win big.


Mary Lou on the Balance Beam
In the all-around finals, Mary Lou Retton strikes a delicate pose on the balance beam en route to a gold medal in the all-around.


Greg Louganis Wins Gold Medal
By the age of 16, diver Greg Louganis had won his first Olympic medal. Eight years later, at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, he won gold in both the platform and springboard events, becoming the first man in 56 years to do so.


Carl Cruises to Victor
Haseley Crawford (#850) of Trinidad, left, and Michael McFarlane (#379) of Britain watch Carl Lewis (#915), right, who cruised to victory this morning in a 100-meter heat in 10.32.


Olympic Pin Trading Area, 1984 Olympics
Olympic pin trading area on Figueroa during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Large Budweiser advertising balloons are in the background.


Joan Benoit Wins Women’s Marathon
Until 1984, the Olympic program for women did not include running events longer than 1,500 meters, in part because of the outdated belief that they were too “fragile” for such distances. In the inaugural women’s marathon, Joan Benoit put an end to such talk as she raced away from her chief rival, Norway’s Grete Waitz. Spectators lined the 26.2-mile route to cheer on the competitors, the exception being a three-mile stretch along the Marino Freeway that was closed to the public. Behind Benoit, Switzerland’s Gabriela Andersen-Schiess staggered to the finish.

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