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Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

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  • Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

    So hard to believe, but it will have been 25 years ago tomorrow (7/28) that I was sitting in my nosebleed press credential seat at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, watching the never-to-be-forgotten opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics.

    A lot of people were concerned about the impact that the Games would have on Southern California.

    As it turned out, they were two of the best weeks we've ever had here. Most everyone seemed to get along, and the usual traffic was virtually non-existent because people were either on vacation, at the events or watching them, or taking part in large carpools and time-shifting that a lot of companies did.

    Peter Ueberroth and the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee did a great job of utilizing exisiting venues, from Coto de Caza to the south (south Orange County) to my most frequent venue as a Ventura-based radio reporter, Ojai's Lake Casitas for the early-morning rowing and canoeing events.

    When I drive past it now, you'd hardly know that gold medals were handed out there, and I met and interviewed the King of Sweden (I think) there.

    A great time for Southern California and America, to be sure.
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  • #2
    Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

    I remember it well. Between my sophomore and junior years of high school. Such good memories!

    And let us Disney fans not forget their contribution -- Sam The Olympic Eagle!

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    • #3
      Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

      I was in high school during the 84 games working at McDonalds at the time. I remember they had some promotion about giving away Big Macs for the gold medals that were won. The US did very well, and I remember all the stores in our area, including ours, running out of stuff to make Big Macs. We were crazy busy, some people got mad, but it was fun.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

        One of the great ideas they had to promote these games was the Olympic torch relay. People and groups signed up across the country, to carry the torch for a mile each.

        A week before the start of the Games, I covered the event as the torch passed the Ventura City Hall. Later that evening, the local chapter of the Hell's Angels had their motorcycles revved for a mile down the 101 through Camarillo.

        What a time it was.
        God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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        • #5
          Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

          Originally posted by OC2Epcot View Post
          I was in high school during the 84 games working at McDonalds at the time. I remember they had some promotion about giving away Big Macs for the gold medals that were won. The US did very well, and I remember all the stores in our area, including ours, running out of stuff to make Big Macs. We were crazy busy, some people got mad, but it was fun.
          The US did vry well in large part, of course, due to the fact that most of the Soviet bloc countries didn't come because we boycotted the games in Moscow four years earlier.
          God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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          • #6
            Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

            Originally posted by Radiobarry View Post
            One of the great ideas they had to promote these games was the Olympic torch relay. People and groups signed up across the country, to carry the torch for a mile each.

            A week before the start of the Games, I covered the event as the torch passed the Ventura City Hall. Later that evening, the local chapter of the Hell's Angels had their motorcycles revved for a mile down the 101 through Camarillo.

            What a time it was.
            I do remember that. The torch relay went less than a mile from my home. I remember seeing that. It was amazing!

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            • #7
              Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

              The '84 games are the first games I rememer watching on TV. I was 5. The following year we went down to LA and Anaheim for our first trip to Disneyland. Being so young, I didn't know and realize the games only went on for two weeks, as I wanted to see an event when we were there . I wanted to see the stadium where the ceremonies were held but we didn't have time.

              I've got one Sam the Eagle pin in my Olympic pin Collection.

              And next year, it will be our turn to host the winter games. It will be interesting, so far Vancouver is the largest city ever to host the winter Olympics.

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              • #8
                Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

                Originally posted by Barbossa View Post
                The '84 games are the first games I rememer watching on TV. I was 5. The following year we went down to LA and Anaheim for our first trip to Disneyland. Being so young, I didn't know and realize the games only went on for two weeks, as I wanted to see an event when we were there . I wanted to see the stadium where the ceremonies were held but we didn't have time.

                I've got one Sam the Eagle pin in my Olympic pin Collection.

                And next year, it will be our turn to host the winter games. It will be interesting, so far Vancouver is the largest city ever to host the winter Olympics.
                Sice I was reporting for my local station covering the local event in my area, I missed a lot of the bigger events going on in LA proper. But after a crash course I learned more about rowing, canoeing and kayaking that I ever knew before.

                The thing that sets this Olympics apart from most others was the use of already existing venues.

                The taxpayers of Los Angeles saw what happened to Montreal in 1976, which took on a debt that it's most likely still being paid off today.

                They did make improvements to the Coliseum for the track and field events, and I believe they built a new bicycling facility.

                But aside from that, for gymnastics they used mainly UCLA's Pauley Pavillion...for swimming they already had the swim stadium outside the Coliseum. They used the Forum for boxing and basketball, that sort of thing.

                Ueberroth knew he couldn't count on a blank check from the taxpayers, and he and the LAOOC made it work, and even turned a profit which was used for youth sports facilities and the like.

                Rafer Johnson, the 1960's gold medalist, lit the flame that night 25 years ago. This, from latimes.com, about the unforgettable night 25 years ago.

                Enjoy the Games all you can up there in BC. I'm sure Vancouver will do a great job. But they'll be gone before you know it.
                God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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                • #9
                  Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

                  Originally posted by Radiobarry View Post
                  The taxpayers of Los Angeles saw what happened to Montreal in 1976, which took on a debt that it's most likely still being paid off today.
                  Montreal finally got paid off in December 2006! :blink:

                  In a way Vancouver is lucky too. Half of the major venues were standing already, such as BC Place, GM Place, the Pacific Coliseum, and the downhill run at Whistler (which has been used for the world cup circuit). The only ones that had to be built were the speedskating oval, the curling arena, the nordic center, the sliding center, improvements to Cypress Mountain for freestyle and snowboarding events, and of course the athletes village. UBC also benefitted from a rebuilt hockey arena. All the venues are finished, except for the athletes village which won't be finished until September or October.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

                    Two words:

                    Mitch Gaylord

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                    • #11
                      Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

                      I was there! My high school band was chosen as an Official Olympic Youth Band. We played at the torch relay, when it went from OJ to whoever was next, there was news coverage. And we played every day at field hockey, it was fun!
                      xo, Deanna

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                      • #12
                        Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

                        Originally posted by Deanna View Post
                        I was there! My high school band was chosen as an Official Olympic Youth Band. We played at the torch relay, when it went from OJ to whoever was next, there was news coverage. And we played every day at field hockey, it was fun!
                        What great memories you must have!

                        Where did Mr. Simpson have the torch?

                        Was field hockey played at the Rose Bowl?

                        That was the first Olympics for baseball. Dodger Stadium was the main venue. Don't remember if then "Anaheim" Stadium was used, or was even available.

                        Anyway, I was wondering about Disneyland events during the games, since I no longer worked there and couldn't really remember what they were doing then.

                        I'm never aure about what images are okay to show from other websites. But I did a search, and found a reference to to what I assume was a private party for the Olympic folks in March of 84, and also to special ticket media looking like a gold medal, used in the summer that year.

                        Anyone else have memories of Disneyland 1984 Olympics related?
                        God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

                          Originally posted by Radiobarry View Post
                          Where did Mr. Simpson have the torch?
                          Did OJ wear a glove when he had the torch?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

                            cool thread barry! i was two years old when the games were in socal.... but as a ventura county native i have pictures as a toddler around the ventura and LA area's for different events and such.
                            -Ricky
                            DLand Connoisseur
                            http://www.djrickyjay.com

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                            • #15
                              Re: Remembering A Great Time For Southern California: The '84 Games

                              I have googled until my fingers about fell off, looking for pictures of the OJ torch ceremony. Here, I found it.
                              Tail of the Coins

                              So it was Santa Monica, and Nicole & her sister were running with him. I mostly remember waiting around and then being very aware that it would all be on the news. You could hear us playing, but I don't remember that there was any footage of us.

                              Field hockey was at, um, I want to say east campus? It was a college campus. We were all like, "um, field hockey?" but it was fun. We'd march in and play, then while the game was on, we'd take off our hats & jackets, root for whoever we wanted, and eat free sammiches & the little half cans of soda. We'd play at half time, and then again at the end. I wish I had more pictures!!!
                              xo, Deanna

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