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Los Angeles 1984 - Quick hits


For the first time the Games were organized by a private company whose stated aim was to make a profit. The organizers eventually made $150 million.


Pollution was one of the scourges of the Games -- with 12,000 tons of harmful emissions drifting in the Los Angeles air every day. In order to curb this during the Games, the city authorities asked surrounding factories to reduce production by up to 20 percent.

Standing ovation

The Romanian, Chinese and Yugoslav delegations were given a rousing ovation during the opening procession, all of these countries having ignored orders from Moscow to boycott the Games.

Made in Hollywood

Conceived and produced like a cinematic and visual bonanza, the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics was one that would not easily be forgotten. It was watched by 2.5 billion television viewers.


American 400-meter hurdler Edwin Moses, too emotional to speak, had to make three attempts before he was able to recite the Olympic oath.


The specter of terrorism led the organizing committee to take drastic measures at the Games, with a record budget of $55 million, and a total of 17,000 men as well as 80 helicopters flying in the sky above Los Angeles. The authorities even considered using an "explosive-disarming" robot if a bomb scenario became apparent.


Built thanks to financing to the tune of $4 million from the well-known fast food chain, McDonald's, the Olympic swimming pool would remain known as the McDonald pool.


The women's marathon, making its first appearance at the Games, was an emotional affair as Switzerland's Gabriela Andersen-Schiess arrived at the Olympic stadium. Television cameras from around the world transmitted the harrowing images of the 39-year-old staggering all over the track. Suffering from heat prostration and refusing help, she hobbled on. This scenario lasted for five minutes, but after doctors deemed that she was fit to continue, she finally crossed the line, falling into the arms of waiting medics. Eventually finishing in 37th place, the Swiss ski instructor recovered quickly and two weeks later took part in another race.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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