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.
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.
DOB: 17/5/1956 Event: Boxing Medals: 1 gold Flag: USA
A week into the Games of the XXX Olympiad, Richard Moore brings us his half-way highs and lows
Linford Christie sprinted to 100m gold for Britain at an Olympic Games best remembered for America's basketball dream team.