Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games

Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee

The first Olympic Games held without government financing since the first modern Games in 1896, the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games became a model for the future with its reliance on existing facilities and corporate sponsors, turning a $223 million profit.


For the first time since 1968, the U.S. topped the medal count, capturing 174 medals, including 83 gold – which was more than the total medal count of second-place West Germany. The Games were boycotted by 14 Eastern European countries in response to the American boycott of the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games. Carl Lewis made the first of his four Olympic appearances and took home four gold medals, while Mary Lou Retton became the first American to win the women’s gymnastics all-around gold medal.

Olympic Highlights

  • Nations: 140
  • Athletes: 6,829 (5,263 men, 1,566 women)
  • Disciplines: 29
  • Medal Count: United States 174 (83 gold, 61 silver, 30 bronze); West Germany 59 (17 gold, 19 silver, 2312 bronze); Romania 53 (20 gold, 16 silver, 17 bronze)
  • New events: women’s marathon, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, women’s cycling road race
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The United States' women's teams enjoyed resounding success at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, capturing the first-ever gold medals in women's soccer and softball, as well as winning gold in women's gymnastics team all-around and women's basketball.
Landowner Alexander Cushing had a dream of turning an uninhabited valley near Lake Tahoe into the host of the Olympic Winter Games. Within five years, Squaw Valley transformed from an undeveloped site into a fully functioning town.