Following the Olympics in Moscow in 1980, the Olympics came to Los Angeles in 1984. After 52 years, the Games have returned to the city of Hollywood. In return for what the USA did to USSR, the Communist bloc boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984.
However, Romania chose to defy the Communist bloc and attend the Games.
The Games were extremely successful, both commercially and culturally. However, for India, the Los Angeles Games were a tragic disaster. It's so close, yet so far for both the Indian hockey team and the Indian athletics team yet again.
However, while the Indian hockey team was lucky to come back with a medal from Rome Olympics, the team was forced to be content with an agonizing 5th position at the Los Angeles Games.
Interesting facts from the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984
Rise of Carl Lewis, the next big thing in the USA after Jesse Owens -
The Los Angeles edition brought forward a new sensation in American athletics - Carl Lewis. After Jesse Owens, many Americans took to athletics, especially Afro Americans. However, none could match his level.
But Carl Lewis was not one of them. His Olympic debut in Los Angeles was a testament to it. He equaled Jesse Owens' record in style, winning gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and the 4 x 100 meter relay race.
Rise of Ben Johnson, a promising star turned cheat -
The Los Angeles edition was also the debut of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson. Not many knew him before these Games, but some would get to know him. In the same race as Carl Lewis breached the 10 second barrier again to win gold, Ben clocked 10.22 seconds to win the bronze medal.
However, Ben Johnson would later become notorious for being the cheat who resorted to drugs to enhance his performance. He created a world record at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, clocking 9.79 seconds to win the 100 meters.
However, he was accused of using stanozolol. He was stripped of world record as well as his gold medal.
Rise of Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball icon ever -
The Los Angeles Games also saw the rise of the iconic 'Dream Team' of American basketball. Not only that, the Games also saw the rise of one of the greatest basketball players ever, Michael Jordan.
Along with Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin, he was on the American team that won the gold medal in basketball. He did not participate in the Seoul Olympics in 1988. However, he returned to help win the iconic gold medal for the 'Dream Team' at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
Introduction to the women's marathon -
The Los Angeles Games also introduced us to the Women's Marathon for the first time. The marathon has been a part of the modern Olympics since 1896. However, it was only at the Los Angeles edition, that the women's marathon was finally introduced.
Very close yet so far for India in both athletics and field hockey -
Like the Rome Olympics of 1960, it was very close, yet so far for India in both athletics and field hockey. In athletics, India shocked the world when PT Usha, a young athlete from Kerala, entered the finals of the 400m hurdles, becoming the first Indian woman to do so.
But like Milkha Singh, she missed the Olympic podium with a whisker. The same PT Usha led the Indian relay team to a historic finals in the 4 x 400m relay race. However, despite creating an Asian record, the team finished last out of the 7 teams in fray.
For Indian hockey, the scene was even worse. It wasn't as shameful as in Montreal. The record was much better. However, the goalless draw against West Germany still haunts the Indian team, especially the captain Zafar Iqbal, who missed the opportunity to score a goal despite the goalpost being wide empty.
To rub salt on the wounds, Pakistan won the gold medal, defeating the same West German team in extra time. However, this was the last time any Asian team won a gold medal in field hockey at the Olympics.
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