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Anniversary of Closing of ’84 Games Celebrated

Times Staff Writer

The first anniversary of the closing of the 1984 Olympics was marked Monday by ceremonies at the Coliseum. Six bronze plaques listing the names of Games’ gold medalists and members of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee were unveiled.

In addition, Paul Ziffren, chairman of the board, presided over the planting of a time capsule containing memorabilia from the Games, and there was a preview, at the nearby Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, of an Olympic exhibit that will be opened to the public on Thursday.

The capsule--which holds among other items a gymnastics leotard that belonged to gold medalist Julianne McNamara, boxing gloves from heavyweight gold medalist Henry Tillman, a towel from gold medal swimmer Steve Lundquist and a copy of the contract that put the Games in the hands of a private committee--will be opened Aug. 12, 2034, 50 years to the day after the closing ceremony.

The keys to the capsule were turned over to the mayor’s office for safekeeping shortly after the capsule was lowered into a crypt-like opening in the concrete below the plaques.

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The president of the Games, Peter Ueberroth, showed up at the ceremony unexpectedly in casual clothes, but did not join Ziffren, executive vice president Harry Usher, torch bearer Rafer Johnson and other dignitaries in speaking. An autographed baseball from Ueberroth, now commissioner of baseball, was included in the time capsule.

The guest list, kept to only about 300 persons, constituted mainly Olympic insiders--persons who formed the inspirational and managerial core of the Olympic staff or who had a great many dealings with the committee. Some political figures, among them Mayor Tom Bradley, who was instrumental in getting the Games for the city, were also present.

The bronze plaques were unveiled by 1984 medal winners Peter Vidmar, Tracie Ruiz, Terry Schroeder, Sherri and Denean Howard, Nancy Hogshead, Candy Costie-Burke, Curt Fleming, Doug Burke, McNamara and Lundquist. They are bigger and more elegant than the plaques listing the medal winners of the 1932 Games on the other side of the Coliseum peristyle. The Coliseum is the only stadium in the world to have served as the main stadium of two summer Olympic Games.

The exhibit at the museum is entitled “The 1984 Olympics Retrospective Exhibit” and is expected to be open for about five months. Put together by the LAOOC and the museum, and designed by LAX Studios of Westwood, it features photography of the Games along with videotapes of the high points from the Opening Ceremony to the Closing Ceremony. It appeared to be very well received by those who saw it at the preview.

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Long before the time capsule is opened, Olympic enthusiasts here hope the Games will have returned to Los Angeles. They already have announced plans to apply for the 2004 Games.


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