The 1984 Summer Olympics were officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad and took place in Los Angeles. U.S. President Ronald Reagan officially opened the Games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Etta James performed the National Anthem. To keep cost manageable, Los Angeles used existing facilities except a swim stadium and a velodrome that were paid for by corporate sponsors. The 1984 Summer Olympics are often considered the most financially successful modern Olympics.
The cauldron was lit by Rafer Johnson, (winner of the decathlon at the 1960 Summer Olympics). He touched off the flame which then passed through a specially designed flammable Olympic logo, igniting all five rings. The flame then passed up to cauldron atop the peristyle and remained aflame for the duration of the Games. Approximately 6,000 athletes participated, representing 140 countries. Fourteen (14) Eastern Bloc countries including the Soviet Union, Cuba and East Germany (but not Romania) boycotted the LA Games. Both Iran and Libya also boycotted.
The mascot for Los Angles Olympics was Sam the Olympic Eagle and was designed by Disney artists. Eleven athletes failed drug tests at the Los Angeles Games.
Barefoot runner Zola Budd (born in South Africa) was unable to complete until she took British Citizenship. She ran in the final of the 3000m, against US favourite, Mary Decker. Budd, the barefooted pacesetter, stumbled after Decker accidentally spiked her heel, neither runner recovered leaving Maricica Puica of Romania, a clear winner. Budd was disqualified, briefly, but the Olympics' director of athletics decided "there was no foul" and reinstated her. Puica and several other athletes said that Decker was to blame. Needless to say, that wasn't how the American saw it. "Zola tripped me," Decker said.
Carl Lewis made his first of four appearances at the Olympics, equaled the 1936 performance of Jesse Owens by winning four gold medals, in the 100 m, 200 m, 4x100 m relay and long jump.
After Gabriella Dorio (Italy won gold in women’s 1500m she celebrated her victory in a bath of wine.
Li Ning from the People's Republic of China won 6 medals in gymnastics, 3 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze, earning him the nickname "Prince of Gymnasts" in China.