1984 Summer Olympics revisited


Los Angeles was host to the Summer Olympics 25 years ago. This 10th part of a 16-day series looks back at Monday, Aug. 6, 1984.


The big news

It was over after only one jump, and it didn’t matter that his second attempt was a foul. Carl Lewis won the gold medal in the long jump with a mark of 28 feet 1/4 inch. Some in the Coliseum crowd of 85,870 who had come only to see Lewis were disappointed that they couldn’t see more of him, and actually booed.

Lewis, in fact, passed on four other attempts, knowing that none of his competitors would come close to the 28-foot mark. Australia’s Gary Honey’s jump of 26-10 was good for silver and Italy’s Giovanni Evangelisti won the bronze with 26-6 1/2 . This was Lewis’ second gold of these Olympics, the first coming two days earlier in the 100 meters.


After his gold medal-winning jump, Lewis said, “I’m ready for one of the best races in my life,” referring to the semifinal and final of the 200 meters still to come.

The big surprise

Valerie Brisco-Hooks took gold in the women’s 400 meters, and broke the Olympic record in the process. Her time of 48.83 seconds bested the 48.88 set in the 1980 Moscow Olympics by East Germany’s Marita Koch, and she became the fifth woman to break the 49-second mark in the 400.

After the race, Brisco-Hooks knelt in prayer, did a victory lap, then made an early trip to the medal platform.


Brisco-Hooks said she didn’t know she had broken the record until it was announced in her victory lap, which she then cut short to run back to the medal platform. What happened next, she said, was memorable.

“I hugged my husband [Alvin Hooks], and my child [2-year-old Alvin Jr.] and then [U.S. track and field coach] Bobby [Kersee] came over and attacked me!” she said, laughing.

She still works with Kersee to train professional athletes, and her gold medals are locked away, she said.


From the archives

“Even his competitors admitted that the competition for the gold medal was finished after Lewis’ first jump. ‘I think Carl Lewis kills any other person’s chances,’ Evangelisti said. ‘In fact, today’s competition was nice from the second jump on for all the other competitors.’ ” -- Randy Harvey reporting in the Los Angeles Times on the long jump competition.

Spotlight on

Greg Foster. Concerning the man who had won three world championships in the 110-meter hurdles and had been ranked No. 1 in the world, the question wasn’t whether Foster would win Olympic gold, but by how much.

Yet Foster was upset by fellow American Roger Kingdom, a relative upstart 21-year-old who caught up with Foster in the race’s final five meters to set an Olympic record of 13.20 (the current mark is 12.91, set by China’s Liu Xiang at Athens in 2004).

Kingdom, who thought he had come in second, didn’t celebrate until he saw the end on replay. Foster, then 26, said afterward that there wouldn’t be any more Olympics for him. And there weren’t.

-- Baxter Holmes