GETTING THE GAMES
KEISSER: I was in Montreal in '76, and when the Games started the Olympic Stadium wasn't done. They were supposed to have a retractable roof and they had this large, crane-like structure that was gonna be pulling the roof ... well, they never finished it. And the city worked well enough but the subway system never was put in.
Everyone was dubious of this and everyone said it'll never work in Los Angeles, and if you may remember, L.A. was the only city that bid (on the 1984 Summer Olympics.)
When it came time to put money on the table, it was pretty much, 'Well we do it in LosAngeles or we have to go out and start scuffling around for a site because no other city was ready to pony up the money to put the Olympics up.'
HOFFARTH: Tehran was the only other city (interested in hosting the '84 Games), so that could've been exciting.
Going into the Olympics ... as a college student and being socially aware as I was supposed to be between parties and all those other collegiate things, what stuck in my mind was: L.A.'s the only city that wants these Olympics? Well, how good can they be then?
MODESTI: I remember the night before the Opening Ceremony, there was a car accident in Westwood. A car veered off the boulevard and into a crowd of people and killed one and hurt many, and the reaction of the city was, here it goes, international terrorism has arrived as expected at these Olympics. Of course, it turned out to be a guy with a grudge, but he was not al-Qaida. It was a false alarm.
JARES: I was so innocent in those days I thought al-Qaida was a Moroccan distance runner.
KEISSER: I think he got DQd in the first round.
McCARTHY: They had me (covering) a lot of security stuff back during the Olympics. There was a big hassle between the LAPD and the feds over who would take control of the security of the Olympics. (LAPD Chief) Daryl Gates didn't want to give it up, and the feds didn't want to give it up, and Daryl finally won out and the feds took a back role to it.
Most of my stories were around security and what was going on at the different venues, sweeping the buses for any kind of bombs, etc. I vividly walked into a bus right in the beginning - in fact it was the first column I ran - and the guy who was supposed to be sweeping (for bombs) was in the back of the bus, sleeping on the bench. That was the first tip-off to the security of the '84 Olympics ... it wasn't the best.
JARES: I meant to come in when you were talking about security, because I did a series of pieces for Westways magazine for a magazine two years before the Olympics, a different sport each month,so I talked to Peter Ueberroth at his home in Encino at the time. Peter Ueberroth, born September 2 nd, 1937, the same day I was, he became a millionaire and I became a journalist.
Anyway, his chauffeur was also sort of a karate expert and probably a weapons expert, too. So security consciousness was very high and Ueberroth had his own protection with him at all times.
KEISSER: When they were still mulling over the sites for the Olympic villages, and they were worried about a plane swooping in over Westwood, and taking out a village, taking out UCLA. It was really almost hysterical there for a while.
McCARTHY: I remember vividly a press conference with Ueberroth, and I had been tipped that the National Guard was gonna be called in, and I raised the question, 'Are you gonna be using the Guard for protection?' And I'd never seen a guy get so red in the face as he got at that time because that was totally under the table and he didn't want to let people know they were gonna have guys out there with weapons on street corners if things went down. But, like everything else, they were wrong about that.
McCARTHY: They were wrong about the traffic that was supposed to be gridlocking Los Angeles during that time. It was the best two weeks we've ever had.
JARES: Some people were saying, 'Oh, I'm getting out of town. I'm gonna rent my house to some Italians and live in Rome in their place and get out of here.' It was a great place to be.
KEISSER: I can still remember Driving from the Herald to the Coliseum for the first day of track, wWe got one of the rare parking passes, and everyone was taking the bus, even the media, and so e're coming down Figueroa and I'm going, 'There's no traffic.' Then I turn right onto Martin Luther King and there are all these parking lots across the street, typically full, and they all had these signs that said $100 to park, $75 to park, and there was no one in the lots. It was the most hilarious thing you'd ever seen. There was no traffic in L.A.
JARES: There was a fear of smog more than anything. Apart from security, another aspect was, 'Oh my God, how are you gonna run a decathlon with the smog bad there ...
HOFFARTH: And then the same concerns in Beijing.
JARES: But I'm sure worse, because in Beijing smog is probably the worst in the world from what I understand.
KEISSER: There wasn't particularly great air in Seoul, Korea, either (in 1988). They had their own issues with smog and haze.
MODESTI: One of the controversies in those Games was that, maybe unavoidably because Americans were winning all the medals and ABC was an American network, they were accused of jingoism, giving it the rah-rah for the U.S. of A. Daley Thompson, the British decathlete, wore a T-shirt one day that read, 'What about the TV coverage?' Did people get carried away with the USA thing?
KEISSER: It was the world's stage and ABC's coverage was so red-white-and-blue that you never saw anybody else on TV. All you ever saw was an American winning this, an American winning that, or an American getting upset by somebody, and the announcers in general carried the flag, too; there was very little movement on the part of the network to really change anything, even after the complaints came out. They were still pretty much pumping the U.S. and not really paying attention to anybody else that was doing anything.
HOFFARTH: ABC invested more than $200 million in the rights, which was outrageous, but the fact that it was all live - unlike now - and you could charge a lot for commercials, they were going to easily recoup it.
The other thing Peter Ueberroth did: He knew that TV was gonna raise a lot of money for his cause, especially up front, so he had all three networks bid against each other, plus Jerry Perenchio (the entertainment mogul and sports promoter) had a start-up company that got into the bidding, and this little company called ESPN was actually thrown into the process. They were only five years old at the time. Each one of five had to pay $750,000 as a non-refundable deposit just to bid, so right away Ueberroth has all this money, and he just used the interest on that as operating expenses.
All ABC had to do was show American coverage because that's what kept people coming back. They wanted to see Mary Lou Retton, they saw these new stars ...
KEISSER: I can't remember what the totals were, but I remember the actual number of hours of coverage jumped dramatically over '76. Because there was no American coverage of the '80 Olympics, they didn't have a strong template other than the fact that they were gonna be live and they knew America was gonna win a lot of medals. That would not happen again today, you see what NBC does now with their crafted prime-time show, which is basically garbage, but the thing is now you have all these auxiliary channels in which you can watch Romanian weightlifters ...
HOFFARTH: There was no cable saturation ... like I said, ESPN was only five years old.
KEISSER: People scoffed at ESPN, saying, 'Oh, what are they gonna do? A little cable company?' They were just trying to find better programming than monster trucks.
KEISSER: Some of the smaller events got more probably more coverage than they ever had in theAmerican Olympics before. I remember there were a handful of locals on the women's field hockey team, and they won a medal, surprisingly, and they had crowds of like 25,000 at East L.A. College, and they were just so happy that people were there. I don't remember who played in the game but they filled the Rose Bowl for the soccer final. And I get to the Coliseum and there'd be 60,000 people to watch the (track and field) prelims, and I'm just going, "This is just so amazing that people would be so involved in it."
JARES: There were a tremendous number of athletes from 'SC and UCLA, and Dwight Stones, who'd been with Long Beach State after UCLA. We really had a lot of Southern California athletes involved. (The gold-medal winning men's volleyball players) were Southern California beach guys. (Gymnast) Mitch Gaylord was from here in the Valley, that added to the excitement for the local people and the local press.
KEISSER: Remember the volunteers? I mean, what was it, like 40,000 people volunteered to work the Olympic Games? I don't think you get 40 people to volunteer to work them now. There's probably 40,000 people out of work that would love the opportunity to do something, but that was one of the things that was amazing to me. All these ushers and peripheral people that were happy enough to just have the (Olympic) shirt, get a credential ...
McCARTHY: And they gave them tickets to other events, that's how they paid them.
HOFFARTH: The day I was graduating (from USC), on May 8, 1984, they announced the Olympic boycott, Moscow was pulling out, and that's all we were talking about on graduation day. It's like, this is gonna be ridiculous. You can't have an Olympics without Russia, or East Germany, or the other 14 countries that were involved in it. I was really pessimistic about the athletic competition itself.
JARES: The boycott didn't ruin it.
KEISSER: The only sport that was incredibly affected by the boycott was swimming because, without the East German women and without some of the other countries there, the U.S. really dominated.
JARES: Men's sprints we would've won anyway, and a lot of the Europeans that did come did win the events we were soft in. It'seasy for somebody to look at it and go, 'It wasn't that big of a deal,' but back then, it was a huge deal.
McCARTHY: Do you think they ever figured out on the medal count, what we might have lost to the Soviet Union had the blockade not been in effect? I mean, we won 83 golds that year ... the next was 20 gold medals for Romania.
KEISSER: I remember it wasn't so much about the gold medals, but the 174 total medals was hugely affected, because you had Americans medaling in sports that we'd never medaled in before, like wrestling and field hockey. Eighty-three (gold medals) was a big number, and had the Soviet Union been here it would've declined, but the United States probably still would've won the medal count. But 174 total medals? That's the inflated number.
HOFFARTH: The closest venue we had at the Daily Breeze office in Torrance was the velodrome at Cal State Dominguez Hills, which was known as the 7-Eleven Velodrome - that was another thing that Ueberroth did, having all these company sponsoring things. So on the USC campus we had McDonald's Swim Stadium. To me, that was another turnoff to the Olympics. It was just gonna be one big commercial project, but that was his grand plan.
JARES: Well, it was commercial, but it's still paying off, so I'm glad it was commercial. USC got a beautiful swim stadium out of it, Dominguez Hills got the velodrome, but we already had a lot of good venues, so L.A. was a good place for it. It was a good combination of a city getting some good venues and already having some good venues.
McCARTHY: I remember going in the Coliseum and those aisles were so narrow ... they're still so narrow. Mmy wife was eight months pregnant, and she tried to get through there to ourseats and she'd be bumping people's heads as she was going by. It was a time when you were young and the city was young and you just felt, well, there was a lot of fun out there.
HOFFARTH: And you saw the colors of the Coliseum change, from Trojan cardinal and gold and now, all the sudden, it's got this weird blue, all these pastels and it's like, this is just one big frilly promotion.
KEISSER: Rowing was at Lake Casitas and most of the sailing was off Long Beach. I think they had one of the exhibition events, I think taekwondo was down there, and a couple of other ones, too. Cal State Fullerton held an event, East L.A. College was the place for field hockey, Dodger Stadium for the exhibition of baseball with a guy named Mark McGwire, Rod Dedeaux, Chris Gwynn (Tony Gwynn's brother) ... they didn't even win the gold medal, they won the silver. Who beat them, Japan?
McCARTHY: I was actually more into the boxing venue, over at the Sports Arena. It was kind of disappointing they didn't have it at the old Olympic Auditorium, which had the atmosphere ...
HOFFARTH: (The Olympic Auditorium is) now a Korean church. Have you passed by it lately? It's bizarre.
McCARTHY: And it was kind of sad that they brought it over to the cold Sports Arena for boxing, because it just didn't have the same feel for boxing.
KEISSER: That Korean church still has the same smell (as a boxing ring). It was a great place for boxing. It had the classic ambience for boxing.
JARES: Especially when the fans threw coins and you were wearing glasses in the front row.
HOFFARTH: And California Hospital was right down the street. They'd drag the guys (who got hurt) there.
McCARTHY: What'd we have out at the Sepulveda Dam? What was going on?
HOFFARTH: Pin trading (laughter).
JARES: They wanted canoeing and kayaking and some rowing in the Sepulveda Dam, but they would have had to create a venue and I think the San Fernando Valley kind of stiff-armed the idea, some homeowners group. There's another piece of evidence of the pessimism and cynicism going into these Games. It wasn't like everybody wanted to be a part of it.
POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
HOFFARTH: The other thing Ueberroth did that was brilliant was having the Olympic torch go across the country.
JARES: That was the first time we did it.
HOFFARTH: I remember a lot of celebrities being involved in it, also. And so, while I might not have been willing to go downtown to see some (events), if the torch was coming through my neighborhood ... or maybe I was in Santa Monica when O.J. Simpson was running with it. That was kind of interesting to see all these different people do it. That was another good PR move to sort of set the tone.
McCARTHY: The opening ceremony really set the tone for everything, about how Hollywood it was all gonna be. I think a lot of people, if you ask them today, 'What do you remember about the Olympics?' Maybe they'll remember Carl Lewis or Zola (Budd), but I think so many of them just remember that opening ceremony and setting a feel-good tone, that this is gonna be a big party. That's what got the thing rolling.
As far as athletic competition, yeah it was gonna be pretty pro-American, but it was also pretty pro-Hollywood. It was also pretty pro-frills, and Rafer Johnson lighting the torch. You see Rafer Johnson today, and he lives locally out here in the Valley, and he doesn't look like he's put on a pound. He looks just as solid.
KEISSER: He can still take those (Coliseum) steps, easy.
THE REAL DREAM TEAM
HOFFARTH: The most exciting, anticipated thing for me was men's basketball. Bob Knight was the coach, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Sam Perkins ... they just blew past everybody.
It was pre-Dream Team, but you wouldn't have thought so. The U.S. dominated in basketball, but isn't it funny how they had to change the rules later? This really was a dream team of college kids coached by the most high-profile coach of his time.
KEISSER: During the games, Knight kept his temper in check, but after the games he was a pain. He would get contentious with the writers about the competition factor and how he was gonna handle all these different stars. He would just say, 'That's a stupid question, they're all good players.' ... I think they had one game which they won by 12 against West Germany, otherwise they won by an average of 32 points, and it was probably similar to the Dream Team in terms of the competition factor, but in terms of sport, the games weren't close at all. People said the women's basketball was more entertaining - Cheryl Miller and Kim Mulkey, Denise Curry -, and they had competition, too. There were other good teams in the tournament.
JARES: What had most changed from previous Olympics, half (of the players) would be AAU, which was big back then, and half would be college. In Berlin, they played on dirt, and it rained one night and they couldn't dribble the ball because it would splash. They played by car headlights lighting up, primitive stuff. It got a little better when Michael Jordan came along.
MODESTI: Among the players Knight left off that team was Charles Barkley.
HOFFARTH: Yeah, that was a big deal. And if a guy like Leon Wood was gonna make the team and Barkley wasn't ... I mean, obviously Leon didn't have much of an NBA career and now he's an NBA referee, but Leon was a local legend here in L.A. (from Santa Monica High). That was a big deal to see him play in L.A.
A BUDD-ING CONTROVERSY
KEISSER: Mary Decker had a star-crossed career. She set age-group records when she was 12. She was in peak form in 1980 and the boycott came. She was always fighting injuries. She had agreat '83 season. The question was can she carry this through to agold medal in L.A.?
Zola Budd was the girl from South Africa who couldn't compete because South Africa wasn't allowed to compete. So she kept British citizenship.
She always said Mary Decker was her idol. Well, Mary didn't like that particularly much. She said, 'I don't want to be running against this young girl who considers me her idol,' especially because she was a strange runner. And she was, she ran barefoot.
I had left the press area and I was at the peristyle then, watching the race, and I'm watching the straightaway and I see Zola Budd like a washy horse start to move out from the first lane, and you look at Mary Decker, who was right behind her, and you could see on Mary's face that this was bothering her, and it was causing other runners to jostle behind her. And they came around another time and ...
JARES: You're supposed to stay in the same lane, right? It's the 3,000 meters.
KEISSER: Well, runners move around all the time but the thing is that (Budd's) inexperience really showed in that she had the inside lane and there was nobody to her left and she should've just stayed there. But she drifted out. And then coming on the straightaway again, I think on the second lap, and Mary Decker clipped her heel and went down and she's basically screaming on the turf there. Some of the best pictures of the Olympics came from that shot of her screaming, her going down ...
JARES: It was like the girl at Kent State over that body ...
KEISSER: And her husband, Richard Slaney, came out and carried her off. And the whole place began to boo Zola Budd as she's running. I'm going, 'This is a bad scene,' and she faded fast. It was just a nasty, ugly scene, and even if you didn't like Mary because she could be kind of hard to deal with and she wasn't the most popular athlete in track, you knew what she'd put into it and now she goes down in her race. Of all the events I've covered in sports, I can still see that so clearly in my mind.
MODESTI: 'Is Zola guilty?' was our headline the morning after, and I had the task of ... and this is a commentary in part on how much space newspapers had in those days, but. We did a double-truck, a centerfold of a sequence of photos, dozens of photos of that incident ...
HOFFARTH: Again, these are all black and white photos, too. We didn't have color photos.
MODESTI: Right, murky black and white. Like the Zapruder film. And I had to write the caption ... , which went, how many columns would it be in those days, six times two times three so it was, you know, back and forth across the thing and it was like annotating the Zapruder film, because I was saying things like, 'Notice that in frame 13, Zola's left foot comes down a centimeter to the right of the white line ...'
KEISSER: I had gone (back) to the press center and they had (video)tapes of all them, and so I'm watching this over and over and over again and I remember writing that no matter how many times you looked at it, Mary still fell. And then I made a reference to Zapruder, saying it was the most watched video since Zapruder and the desk cut it. And I'm still looking for the person who cut it out.
MODESTI: It couldn't have been me.
NAMES IN THE GAMES
MODESTI: The winner of the women's 3,000 was, in a footnote, Maricica Puica of Romania, one of the great names in '84 Olympic track, along with Alonzo Babers and Innocent Egbunike.
For some reason, these names, whether they finished first or last...
KEISSER: Egbunike was a very talented runner, and so it was one of the funniest things that happened during track was the first-round race in the 400 meters. Egbunike was in lane 1, and you know in the 400 you stay in your lanes, so the gun fired and the guy in the second lane pulled a left turn and is right in front of Egbunike. He's obviously been disqualified, but Egbunike couldn't leave his lane or he'd be disqualified. We said to him, 'What'd you do?' And he said, I just yelled: 'Please get out my lane!' and the guy finally faded and he passed him. But it was like that was counterpoint to Mary Decker and Zola Budd, that was a story that made everyone laugh and have fun at that particular point in the Games.
I remember oOne of the funnier things was there was a big swimmer from West Germany, Michael Gross, 6-foot-7. Kind of like Michael Phelps
HOFFARTH: What'd they call him, 'The Albatross'? Was that something else? He had some bizarre nickname.
JARES: He had some kind of gross nickname.
KEISSER: He won two gold medals and he finished second in another one, and then in one of the relays, the U.S. just edged him out and the Herald had , the next day, a picture of Gross with the "Ghostbusters" logo - "Grossbusters." It was a little overdramatic, it's not like he dominated the Olympics. Matter of fact, the U.S. team was probably favored to win that race, but it was like part of the experience that you were looking for good competition wherever you got it, and that was probably the best competition in swimming. ...
The boxing was pretty much a walkover by the Americans because the Cubans weren't there. But probably one of the biggest controversies was Evander Holyfield. At the end of a round he hit a guy and knocked him down, then the referee declared that Holyfield was disqualified because he said he had hit the guy after the opponent had said, 'Stop.' The videotape showed that both guys hit each other after that point a few times. The official did it. The official was Yugoslavian, so as a result of the knockout ... there was a rule in place that said he couldn't fight again, so the other semifinalist got the gold medal, who happened to be from Yugoslavia. At the medal ceremony the guy grabbed Evander and brought him up to the top step. That was a good boxing team, but the guy who didn't win the gold medal was probably the best boxer out of the group.
McCARTHY: Wasn't that the year when Belize sent one athlete? I think he was a distance runner and he finished dead last but he was the one athlete from Belize and everybody just made a big deal about him.
His pin was very popular; we haven't gotten in to talking about pin trading at the Olympics yet ...
JARES: Sam the Olympic Eagle!
Bob Thomas at Disney designed him. Because I was a cartoon freak, I wrote a column about that and he sent me a full color, hand-drawn Sam the Olympic Eagle, signed from Bob Thomas to me. It's hanging in the guest bathroom now.
There have been some horrible little Olympic cartoon symbols, but '84 had Sam the Olympic Eagle, who sorta looked like the parrot in "The Three Caballeros," the Disney movie.
McCARTHY: They were very popular. There was a lot of trading going on. You couldn't go to any venue without booths being set up out front, people dealing pins ...
TAKING A PASS
JARES: Carl Lewis won four gold medals, and maybe his first jump or second jump in the long jump he went out there and did 10,000 feet and he knew he had won and he didn't jump anymore.
People were unhappy about that, they wanted to see him go for a record or whatever, but he was saving, as I recall, his energy for another another race or more races to go, and wisely so.
In fact, in no meets when he was competing in all those sprints and the long jump, Olympics or not, did he do all his jumps because he was so good. That was a minor controversy compared to Decker but it was a bit of a stink that this American star, maybe the star of the Games, got booed because of it.
KEISSER: That was standard tactics, with the long jump and jumps like that. If you had the best mark, then you'd save yourself for a later performance.
KEISSER: There was so much hype about Carl winning the gold medal. And the place was full and they're looking to watch Carl. He was the headline attraction for men's track and people wanted to see him perform. In their mind, this is the Olympics and you don't pass, you compete. But it was incredibly predictable that Carl would do exactly what he did.
JARES: I thought that was a little unfair with the boos.
McCARTHY: Did Dwight Stones pass in the high jump?
JARES: He was fourth, and he predicted the exact finish of the high jump. The guy he picked to look for is the guy who eventually won it, I think it was a German. And Stones finished fourth.
KEISSER: Joan Benoit runs away with the (women's marathon) and then there's the Dutch girl who came in in the last lap and she was so dehydrated. Gabrielle Andersen-Schiess. And she's flopping around the track and people are saying, 'Don't touch her, don't touch her,' and everyone wrote about the health aspect of that and whether somebody should've stopped her.
HOFFARTH: Was that the first women's marathon?
KEISSER: Yeah, that was the first Olympic women's marathon, and it was not a fun thing to watch, but it was very hot that day. And a day later she was saying it's no big deal.
HOFFARTH: And that was another Olympic event that if you didn't have a ticket to, you could see first-hand because it started in Santa Monica and went all the way across ...
JARES: Except for one portion where they ran on the Marina Freeway, that was like the only part where there was no crowd.
HOFFARTH: Very bizarre.
MODESTI: The name Mary Lou Retton continues to resonate and I seem to remember the U.S. men winning the team gold.
JARES: Well, again, we had California guys. Peter Vidmar went to Brentwood School, Mitch Gaylord was this handsome kid from the Valley, movie-star good looks ...
HOFFARTH: He went on to be an actor.
JARES: You know ... 'SC doesn't have men's gymnastics anymore, it's gone. So I don't know where these guys get their chops, but they were great. Peter Vidmar was excellent. Mary Lou Retton was another one of those little stunted-growth, great athletes ...
KEISSER: Bela Karolyi really took off then, he was coaching (Retton). Back then the coaches could be really close to the athletes, and I can remember her running from one of her vaults and he's right there, right by the side of it. He was like a ringmaster the way he was acting out there, and it made for great comedy. Andso did she.
THE LEGACY OF THE '84 GAMES
JARES: Peter Ueberroth and his staff did such a good job, and L.A. is still reaping the benefits. The old Helms Athletic Foundation became the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles and now the '84 Sports Foundation ... Ueberroth's Olympic money went into it and it became this organization that gives, even today, I think millions of dollars a year to kids' sports programs. L.A. is still benefiting from the '84 Olympics because of that. That's a legacy that's gonna be around for, who knows, maybe a century?
KEISSER: They still generate money for grants based off the surplus they got.
SHOULD THE GAMES RETURN?
MODESTI: Would we like the Olympics back in L.A.? How different would it be?
JARES: More security.
McCARTHY: So much more, but the money is so big that we'd want it in a second, a heartbeat, if we could get it. But, boy, that's a toughie. The traffic concerns, the security concerns. I don't think we could get that two weeks (of good traffic) back.
KEISSER: The Olympics has become too big. It was big then and it's even bigger now and, also,because of L.A. and the (financial) success L.A. had, all the parameters of what's important have changed.
Now it's important that you have the huge TV revenue, and they all want new venues now. The Olympics is big on new venues. And we can't build a football stadium for an NFL team. It took a hermit billionaire to get Staples built, Anschutz and Roski. That's the one thing, I mean London's going over the top in terms of their costs for the Olympics because they have to build new venues, so I don't know if it would work in L.A.
HOFFARTH: I think the only way it would work is if somebody from L.A. stepped up, just like Ueberroth did, and could show the Olympics: 'All right, you've gone from this extreme where nobody wanted it, now you've got this extreme where it's so overrun and ridiculous.' Some smart guy in L.A.is gonna show you how to reconfigure an Olympic Games - whether it's another Ueberroth person or not. I think that would be a challenge for L.A., to re-show the world: 'Let's reign it back, streamline it, make it profitable.'
KEISSER: There aren't a lot of visionaries running around. MODESTI: They might say, look what else is going on in your city and your state ...
KEISSER: The state of California is basically broken and so, imagining somebody coming up like that ... But you know, the circumstances would never be the same, either. In '84 there were coming off of a boycott of the Olympics and one that lost money and was considered a failure in Montreal. I think Montreal just finished paying off their debt for the '76 Olympics. And I'm not being facetious, it literally took them until (this century) to finally pay off all their debt from the Olympics. You don't have that situation now. Redoing the Olympics in the image of the '84 would probably be impossible, which doesn't mean L.A. couldn't hold it and it'd be fun to see.
JARES: I don't think it should have it. It's had it twice; there's a lot of great cities in the world that have never had it. I think it shouldgo elsewhere, but I'd love to see it here.
MODESTI: Well, maybe the message is that this was a period in L.A. history, in Olympic history, that was so nice we should never hope to try and replicate it, and just count ourselves lucky to have experienced it.- Compiled by Pedro Moura