Videos of the Week: 1984 Summer Olympics

Today, we start to get ready for the Olympics with various looks at coverage from previous games. This morning, we go back to the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles which were covered by ABC in the US, CBC in Canada and the BBC in the UK.

We’ll have video clips from each network and it will be interesting to watch. We begin with the Opening Ceremonies at Los Angeles Coliseum as broadcast by ABC’s Peter Jennings and Jim McKay. It’s sad to think that both have passed away in the last three years.

And here is the entrance of the United States following Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. You may not remember that Yugoslavia was the only Eastern Bloc nation to participate in the 1984 Games as many of the Warsaw Pact countries boycotted following the Soviet Union’s lead.

For those of you who have never heard Howard Cosell call boxing, here’s your opporunity as he called the Lennox Lewis-Tyrell Biggs quarterfinal fight in the super heavyweight division. By 1984, Howard had took himself calling professional boxing, but still called amateur fights.

Here’s Mary Lou Retton’s famous vaults done during the Women’s Gymnastics All Around competition as called by Jack Whitaker and Cathy Rigby.

One of the more emotional moments during the games was when Jeff Blatnick of Schenectady, NY won the gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling over Thomas Johanssen. Jeff had beaten Hodgkin’s Disease and during his interview on ABC, came up with the famous line, “I’m a happy dude.” That line is not in this video.

This is Jim Lampley calling the 200 meter butterfly final with Australian Jon Sieben upsetting the Albatross, Michael Gross of West Germany. Mark Spitz was Jim’s partner on ABC.

In 1984, the UK’s Daley Thompson won the decathlon and here’s how the BBC covered it.

Here’s how the BBC covered rivals Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters finals.

This is the end of the first women’s marathon won by Maine’s Joan Benoit.

This is a bumper for ABC’s Olympic coverage.

Now the Closing Ceremony as hosted by ABC’s Jim McKay and Peter Jennings.

And the handing of the the Antwerp Olympics flag from Los Angeles to Seoul which hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Here’s how CBC signed off from Los Angeles for the last time. The host was Brian Williams (not the guy from NBC). Brian will be back hosting the 2010 and 2012 Olympics for CTV.

This would mark the last Summer Olympics for ABC. NBC took over in 1988 in Seoul and has maintained a stranglehold on the Summer Olympics through now. We’ll take a look at NBC’s coverage from 1988 next Sunday.

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.