Why The Olympics Are Good For Los Angeles


Young Chris was so excited when his family bought tickets to the 1984 summer Olympics. We saw soccer at the Rose Bowl and I don’t even remember who played, but I do remember my Sam the Eagle doll, those Mary Lou Retton trays from McDonald’s and everybody talking about how empty the freeways were. The 1932 Olympics brought us more tangible landmarks, like rows of palm trees, the Olympic Auditorium and Olympic Boulevard.We join London, Paris and Athens as the only cities to host the entire summer games twice and the ’32 games introduced millions to our burgeoning town and helped fuel our growth during the depression. On November 5th you can hear sports historian Wayne Wilson explain it all in the rarified surroundings of the 1910 Britt mansion, home of the LA84 foundation. The Society of Architectural Historians shares hors d’oeuvres, sports memorabilia and the civic pride that came with pulling it off twice (the foundation is funded with profits from the ’84 Olympics.) Our bid for the 2020 games didn’t get too far, better luck in 2024. My Sam doll should be worth something by then. 


Photograph via LA84 Foundation