chapter  8
Sports Infrastructure, Legacy and the Paradox of the 1984 Olympic Games
ByWayne Wilson
Pages 13

Historians and journalists typically portray the 1984 Los Angeles Games as a pivotal or watershed event in Olympic history. They ascribe a wide range of legacies to the work of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC). Most analyses of 1984 Olympic Games legacies focus on business practices, revenue models and the changing role of media, as well as public and elite perceptions of the benefits of hosting the Games. There is a broad consensus that the Los Angeles Olympics created or at least accelerated the privatisation and commercialisation of the Games, inspired a new sponsorship model for international sports events, stimulated an increased dependence on television revenue, consolidated the importance of opening and closing ceremonies, and spawned a reliance on large numbers of volunteer workers.1 The 1984 Games encouraged the perception that hosting the Games could be a driver of economic growth, a perception that in the estimate of some writers ultimately led to the Salt Lake City scandals as host city bidders hoping to reap the financial rewards of Olympic Games bribed members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).2 Virtually all observers also cite the LAOOC’s large operating surplus of $232.5 million as an obvious 1984 legacy.