'84 Olympics were shining moment for Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles has a grand idea of how to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its successful role as host of the 1984 Olympics. Do it again.
The city famed for sun and celebrities officially became the U.S. candidate to host the 2024 Olympics on Tuesday. It hopes to join London as the only three-time hosts of the games. Los Angeles was the site of the 1932 Olympics, but it is best remembered for 1984, when Olympic fever took hold and the city pulled off a coup that hasn't been seen since in other Olympic cities burdened by cost overruns and white elephant venues.
Corporate sponsorships, private fundraising and a big U.S. television deal helped raise money to pay for the games. The city's famously snarled traffic dissipated as residents left town or stayed home and employers staggered work hours to make the city navigable.
Here are some memories from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
COST CONTAINMENT: The 1984 Olympics are often hailed as the most financially successful games, with much of the credit going to businessman Peter Ueberroth, who oversaw the local organizing committee. Los Angeles contained costs by using existing facilities, like the Coliseum, Dodger Stadium, the LA Sports Arena, and UCLA, while getting corporate sponsors to foot the construction bill on a swim stadium and velodrome. Ueberroth used some of the profits to endow a foundation that continues to benefit the region through funding of youth sports and facilities.
MARY LOU RETTON: The powerful sprite from West Virginia became the first non-Eastern European gymnast to win the all-around title. With two events to go, Retton trailed leader Ecaterina Szabo of Romania by 0.15 points. The American scored perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault to win the gold by 0.05 points, having overcome a knee injury and surgery just before the Olympics. Retton also won four other medals and forever became known as ''America's Sweetheart.'' Her smiling face adorned Wheaties cereal boxes. On the men's side, the U.S. won the team gold medal.
CARL LEWIS: He competed in the first of his four Olympics in Los Angeles, winning four gold medals to equal Jesse Owens' performance at the 1936 Berlin Games. Lewis won the 100-meters in 9.99 seconds and the long jump with relative ease. He earned his third gold in the 200 in 19.80 seconds, the third-fastest time in history, and anchored the 4x100 relay to gold in a world-record time of 37.83 seconds.
MARY DECKER: The American runner was the favorite for gold in the 3,000 meters. In the final, barefoot Zola Budd, a South African representing Britain, moved ahead of Decker after three laps. Trying to pressure Budd, Decker stayed close in crowded conditions and collided with the 18-year-old runner, falling dramatically to the curb. Decker didn't finish, while the crowd booed Budd the rest of the race in which she finished seventh. Decker was carried off the track in tears, blaming Budd for her fall. Budd was disqualified and later reinstated after a review of the race. A year later, they met again in London, with Decker winning and Budd taking fourth. The women shook hands and made up. Years later, Decker said she fell because she was inexperienced at running in a pack. Few remember the Olympic race was won by Maricica Puica of Romania.
GREG LOUGANIS: The American regarded as the greatest diver in history blew the competition out of the pool in Los Angeles. He won the 3-meter springboard by more than 100 points over his nearest rival. In the 10-meter platform, Louganis' total of 710.91 points was the highest in the sport's history and nearly 70 points ahead of the silver medalist. He defended both titles four years later at the Seoul Games.