London 2012

1984 - Los Angeles

A revenge boycott led by the Soviet Union saw 14 eastern Bloc nations pull out of the Los Angeles Games, after the USA refused to take part in Moscow four years earlier.

In this Year...

  • O.J Simpson was amongst the 3,616 torch bearers who ran the Olympic Flame from New York to LA.
  • Torvill and Dean win gold at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo with their famous Bolero routine.
  • European Champions France do the double by winning the Olympic football tournament.
  • English champions Liverpool win a fourth European Cup as Bruce Grobbelaar's 'spaghetti legs' helps them beat Roma on penalties in Rome.
  • Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic airline makes its inaugural scheduled flight between Gatwick and Newark in New York.
  • Ghostbusters is released along with iconic 80s films Karate Kid, Beverly Hills Cop, Gremlins and Footloose.
  • Bob Geldof and Midge Ure form Band Aid and their charity single 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' becomes the Christmas No.1.

The Olympics moved east to west after Los Angeles remained the only city to bid for the Games, and they were determined not to build-up the huge debts accrued by Montreal and Moscow.

With the Games being staged without government financing for the first time since 1896, they unsurprisingly took the decision to use many existing sporting arenas around California instead of building a host of new facilities.

This brought criticism, as did the raft of corporate sponsorship that saw athletes compete in the McDonald's Swim Stadium and 7-Eleven Velodrome - but these Games provided a model for future years after revealing they made a profit of $220 million.

With so many Eastern European powerhouses absent, America took their chances and dominated the medal table American sprinter Carl Lewis was the star of the show as he bagged four gold medals to match the achievement of countryman Jesse Owens way back in 1936.

Britain's Sebastian Coe became the first man to retain the 1,500m title, beating Steve Cram into silver, while also taking silver in the 800m.

Daley Thompson, at his third Olympics, saw off Germany's Jurgen Hingsen in a titanic struggle to win consecutive gold medals in the decathlon while Tessa Sanderson and Fatima Whitbread claimed gold and bronze in the javelin.

Rower Steve Redgrave won his first gold medal as part of the coxed fours, while future basketball legends Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing won the gold medal for the USA team.

Joan Benoit won the inaugural women's marathon and Connie Carpenter-Phinney the first women's cycling road race.

Nawal El Moutawakel, in the 400m hurdles, became the first woman from an Islamic nation to win an Olympic medal and the first Moroccan athlete of either sex to win a gold medal.

Archer Neroli Fairhall was the first paraplegic athlete to take part in a medal event when she competed in a wheelchair.

Medal Count

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States 83 61 30 174
2 Romania 20 16 17 53
3 West Germany 17 19 23 59
4 China 15 8 9 32
5 Italy 14 6 12 32
6 Canada 10 18 16 44
7 Japan 10 8 14 32
8 New Zealand 8 1 2 11
9 Yugoslavia 7 4 7 18
10 Korea 6 6 7 19

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