1984 Summer Olympics
Sure, half the world boycotted (including USSR, East Germany, Mongolia, and South Yemen) but we didn’t need the stinkin’ commies anyway. An Olympics is an Olympics, and the ’84 Games were pure poetry from the very first day.
Long before host countries used bows & arrows or flying Chinese guys to light the torch, we had decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson climbing a zillion steps to kick things off in Los Angeles. And with that, the complete and utter domination by everyone who wore red, white, and blue began.
Carl Lewis walked (okay ‘ran’) away with four Golds, the men’s and women’s hoops teams both dominated, diver Greg Louganis won a couple Golds, Joan Benoit won the first-ever women’s marathon, and then… then there was that cute little 16-year-old girl from West Virginia who vaulted her way into everyone’s hearts.
Mary Lou Retton’s win in the Gymnastics All-Around cemented her legacy in American sports history (and, hey, it even earned her a cameo in Bill Murray’s Scrooged just four years later.)
Not everything was sunshine and roses, though; we all remember Mary Decker in the 3000m race tripping on the bare feet of (grrrr) Zola Budd. And then there was the craziness of American’s Carrie Steinseifer and Nancy Hogshead sharing a Gold in the 100m Freestyle after finishing with the exact same time.
But such is sports, and when it came to the 1984 Summer Games, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
We ♥ the 1984 Summer Olympics.