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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

IT'S AN OLYMPIC YEAR : When Los Angeles Hosted the Games - 1984 & 1932

My hometown of Los Angeles hosted two summer games, 52 years apart.  The 1984 games were known for their budget frugality.  Some venues were recycled from the earlier the coliseum...and the games actually earned a profit, which is used to fund local sports charities.  It was also known for the "Olympic Miracle" where, due to much scaremongering, people stayed off the streets and traffic was a dream for two weeks - kind of like what happened during "Carmageddon" last year.  It is also the games where much of the Communist world stayed away in retaliation for the U.S boycotting the Moscow games four years earlier due to the Soviet Union's involvement in Afghanistan.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Bobak Ha'Eri under CC-BY-SA license

The coliseum is now used for USC home games and few other events.  Many in the area have dreams for another NFL team to move in here, but reality states that will never happen.  USC seems happy with it and every now and then wrestles for total control of the facility, which is run by a commission made up of state and local interests.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Pelladon under CC-BY license

Next door is the Sports Arena, which was the venue for boxing at the 1984 games.  It is also the original home of the Lakers (when they moved to L.A.) and the Clippers, both of whom have moved on to Staples Center up the street.  It's in pretty shabby condition these days, hosting lingerie football, car shows, and other minor events.

It is scheduled to be demolished soon.

Adjacent is the swim stadium from the 1932 games, which is still in use as a public pool. 

The Expo Line light rail, which just opened a few months ago, goes right by these three venues. It's also the new home of the space shuttle, Endeavour.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
kla4067 under CC-BY license

Sitting on top of a hill overlooking downtown Los Angeles is Dodger the third oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use...which was the site of the baseball competition.  It is also the only major baseball stadium that I know of that is almost completely lacking in public transportation access.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Ellen Levy Finch under CC-BY-SA license

One of my favorite places in the area is Santa Anita Park racetrack in Arcadia where many of the equestrian events took place in 1984.  Still open and still racing, crowds have really thinned out over the last few years as satellite wagering has expanded.  Magna, the company that owns it, has been in and out of bankruptcy.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Dan(golfpro1) under CC-BY license

In 1932, it was the Riviera Country Club which hosted the ponies.  Today, it's host to the L.A. Open PGA Golf known as the tournament that Tiger Woods dropped out of when his scandal hit the news.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Bobak Ha'Eri under CC-BY-SA license

Other venues farther out hosted some more events in 1984.  The Rose Bowl in Pasadena hosted soccer.  Of course, it is still used every New Year's Day (except for Sundays) for the Rose Bowl game and UCLA uses this as their home facility for football.  It's also home to a very large flea market each month.  It's in a beautiful setting in the middle of Brookside Park, just north of Suicide Bridge.

Lake Casitas, in the mountains above Ventura and near Ojai, provided the water needed for rowing and canoeing.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia and Arnold C (Buchanana-Hermit)

Our tour ends down in Anaheim, across the street from Disneyland, at the Anaheim Convention Center which was used as the wrestling venue for the 1984 games.  For those of you who have attended the Abilities Expo while it was in Anaheim, this place is in that same complex.  Dating from 1967, it is also the venue for the first concerts I ever attended...Merle Haggard for country and western; Loggins and Messina for rock 'n roll with Argent as the lead-off group.

Hope you enjoyed this Olympic Tour and will join us again tomorrow as we get ready to wrap up Olympic Week here at The World on Wheels.


1 comment:

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