Friday, 27 April 2012

Road to Olympics - Los Angeles 1984... Kenya's Back !

1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games logo
After missing two consecutive Games, Kenyan sports people were thrilled to be back on the international arena. But the toll of the boycotts was all clear given the lack of participation. This was reflected on the number of athletes sent and also the performance of the team at large.

As a whole, Los Angeles was one of the most successful Olympic Games. This was thanks to the marketing acumen and organisational skills of one Peter Ueberroth - Time's Magazine Person of the Year 1984. Let's take some highlights here below;

  • 'Returning the favour' for the US-led boycott of 1980 Moscow Games, the USSR led 14 countries in a boycott and went on to hold the Friendship Games. 2 other nations in Iran and Libya meant 16 countries in total boycotted Los Angeles.
  • More than a Sporting Festival - the Games had an elaborate Festival ' the LA Olympic Arts Festival which was held to mark and appreciate the role of arts and sports. In the same vein, the Opening and Closing ceremonies had some of the most elaborate shows of that time. Concerts were organised to feed Games attendants and the world audience with a feast of entertainment.
      Sam the Eagle - 1984 Olympic Games mascot
  • Carl Lewis legend is born - this man who's loved and loathed in almost equal measure ran and jump to equal Jesse Owens 1936 Olympic Games exploits winning 4 gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and the long jump.  These would be the first of nine gold medals in his Olympic years.
  • Nawal el Moutawakel from Morocco became the first female from a Muslim state to win gold in an Olympic Games. She won this in the 400m women's hurdles.
  • Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin all future NBA Hall of Famers would win their first gold medal as part of the USA Basketball team as amateurs. They would return in 1992 as the Dream Team which included the creme de la creme of the NBA.
  • Lord. Sebastien 'Seb' Coe would become the 1st man to win consecutive titles in the 1500m men's race. 2 decades later he led London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. 

  • 140 nations participated with a total of 6,800 athletes representing these countries;
  • Kenya had 61 athletes ( 56 men and 5 women); participating in Athletics, Boxing, Hockey, Shooting and Weightlifting;
  • Kenya won ONLY 1 Gold ( Julius Korir - 3000m steeplechase), 2 Bronze ( Mike Musyoki - 10000m and Ibrahim Bilali - Flyweight in boxing);
  • The Kenyan men's Hockey team was placed 9th out of 12 nations participating. They were the sole African representatives
Julius Korir - 3000m Gold medal winner in 1984
The Los Angeles Olympic Games marked a positive turn for the IOC which had been reeling from two fairly unsuccessful Games in Montreal and Moscow with the former being a commercial disaster for the Canadian hosts.
It also saw major corporates joining the big league in sports through sponsorship deals which ensured the commercial success of the Games. These included McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Kodak among other major corporations. Nike also achieved much of success due to its links with American athletes who excelled in many of the sporting disciplines. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great way for people to make difference. People are now turning online. Many people play Pool Games and are very much interested in them. Hope these people learn about sports and the fun derived from them.