Olympics 1984: Countdown to Los Angeles

May 25, 1984

Report Outline
Putting on the Games
The Olympic Setting
Coping with the Impact
Special Focus

Putting on the Games

Elaborate Show Going on Russia

The Russians and some of their friends are not coming, but the 1984 Summer Olympics are going ahead as scheduled. A visitor to Los Angeles cannot avoid seeing evidence of the Games—even months before they begin on July 28. He flies in on United Airlines (the official airline of the Olympics) and picks up a Toyota from Budget Rent-A-Car (the official car rental company) at Los Angeles International Airport, which has just undergone a two-year. $700 million renovation.

Making his way onto the freeway, he passes a car with special Olympics license plates and speeds by an artist painting an Olympics-inspired mural alongside an entrance ramp. He then sees an enormous billboard depicting America's top Olympic prospect, track star Carl Lewis, in bright-colored super-realism style. At the hotel, the visitor is greeted by a copy of the Los Angeles Times with its daily offerings of Olympics-related stories. A trip to the headquarters of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC) injects the visitor into a seemingly non-stop stream of activity: phones ring constantly; consultants, contractors, reporters and countless others rush in and out, dealing with 1,000 or more full-time committee staffers.

The headquarters are in Culver City, west of downtown Los Angeles, in a mammoth structure that formerly housed a helicopter assembly plant. By the time the Games begin the staff will number more than 65,000. Although about half of these workers will be unpaid volunteers, the LAOOC is saying that it will be the biggest employer in the western United States. These thousands will be putting on the world's largest regularly scheduled sporting event: the Summer Olympic Games—formally the Games of the XXIIIrd Olympiad of the modern era.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Jul. 03, 2012  Hosting the Olympics
Apr. 05, 1996  Centennial Olympic Games
May 25, 1984  Olympics 1984: Countdown to Los Angeles
Jul. 09, 1976  Olympics 1976
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