The remnants of LA’s 1984 Olympics

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In 1978, Los Angeles agreed to host the 1984 Summer Olympics and, as described in the official report of the games, a small, secretive organizing committee formed to oversee the delivery and management of the two-week event.

The city had hosted the games once before, in 1932, when city officials used the opportunity to show off Los Angeles as a world class city that was—sort of—thriving, in spite of the Great Depression.

By the 1980s, organizing committee leaders had a different goal in mind: profit. For the first time, presentation of the games wasn’t funded by local taxpayers. Instead, the powerful committee, led by businessman Peter Ueberroth, operated as a nonprofit with full financial liability if the games went over budget.

That meant keeping costs down during the games and using plenty of existing venues for competition. The games took place across a wide swath of Southern California, with athletes competing in dozens of neighborhoods and on most of the area’s major college campuses.

For better or for worse, the strategy worked, and the 1984 Olympics were some of the most economically successful in history.

Most of the venues used during the games are still around, though some have been significantly remodeled or rebuilt. Organizers of the 2028 games, borrowing many of the tactics employed by the 1984 committee, plan to stage events in many of the same arenas.

Here’s a look at the places around Los Angeles that shaped Olympic history more than 30 years ago.

This story is the third in a series on the 2028 Olympics that looks at what Los Angeles can learn from hosting previous games and focuses on the issues the city will face over the next decade.

Casey Wasserman, who is chair of LA 2028’s organizing committee, is also a board member at Vox Media, Curbed’s parent company. Vox Media board members have no involvement in Curbed’s editorial planning or execution.

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