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Going for the Gold: African Americans and the Games of the XXIII Olympiad

Christina Rice, Senior Librarian, Photo Collection,
Gina Hemphill
Gina Hemphill, granddaughter of famed Olympian Jesse Owens, carries the torch into the Coliseum for the opening ceremonies on July 28, [1984]. Photo credit: Anne Knudsen, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

We have to wait until the summer of 2028 for Los Angeles to host the Games of the XXXIV Olympiad, but when we do, we will join Paris and London as only the third city to host the Summer Games three times, having previously done so in 1932 and famously, in 1984.

The 1984 Summer Games were one of the city's crowning achievements. During two weeks in late July/early August of that year, the United States took home 174 medals, including 83 gold. Photographers from the Los Angeles Herald Examiner newspaper were on hand to capture much of the competition, and those images now permanently reside in the Los Angeles Public Library's photo collection. In honor of African American History Month, here is a brief look at some of the black participants who helped make the 1984 Summer Olympic Games a memorable success.

Rafer Johnson

Rafer Johnson, the last of the torch runners, [1984]. Photo credit: Anne Knudsen, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Rafer_Johnson_at_Opening_Ceremonies

Rafer Johnson, winner of the 1960 decathlon gold medal, lights the Olympic flame during the opening ceremonies on July 28, [1984]. Photo credit: Paul Chinn, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

U.S. featherweight Albert Hood

Weightlifting. U.S. featherweight Albert Hood set American records in the snatch and total weight lifted in his finest night, [1984]. Photo credit: Paul Chinn, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Basketball players cheering

Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Wayman Tisdale and Patrick Ewing of the U.S. men's basketball team are all smiles as they close in on a gold medal, [1984]. Photo credit: James Ruebsmen, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Michael_Jordan_and_Yunlong_Huang on the court

Michael Jordan, then a student at the University of North Carolina, was introduced to the world during the 1984 Olympic Games. Photo credit: James Ruebsmen, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Cheryl Miller goes for loose ball

Scene of the USA vs Yugoslavia women's basketball game. Cheryl Miller (#9) goes for the loose ball in the midst of several Yugoslavian players, [1984]. Photo credit: James Ruebsmen, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Cheryl Miller cheering

Cheryl Miller cheers from the bench during a U.S. vs Canada game. She would help lead the U.S. women's basketball team to a gold medal in 1984. Photo credit: James Ruebsmen, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Women's volleyball, 1984 Olympics

Hitter Rose Magers drives home a United States point during volleyball teams' victory over Peru in Long Beach, [1984]. Photo credit: Javier Mendoza, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Evander_Holyfield boxing

Evander Holyfield faces off against Ismail Khalil Salman of Iraq. Days later, Holyfield would be disqualified over a controversial call by the referee in a semi-finals match, but would still earn a bronze medal, [1984]. Photo credit: James Ruebsmen, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Tyrell Biggs vs Damiani Francesco

Scene shows Tyrell Biggs vs Damiani Francesco in this Olympics boxing match, [1984]. Photo credit: James Ruebsmen, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Chandra_Cheeseborough

Chandra Cheeseborough is shown winning the 400 meter at the Olympic Trials. She would go on to win the silver medal in that event at the 1984 Games. Photo credit: Paul Chinn, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Valerie Brisco-Hooks

Valerie Brisco-Hooks hold the flag and her son, Alvin Jr., after she won the women's 200 meters at the Olympic trials yesterday, [1984]. Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Evelyn Ashford (right), hugs teammate Jeanette Bolden

After winning the 100 meter gold medal, Evelyn Ashford (right), hugs teammate Jeanette Bolden, [1984]. Photo credit: Paul Chinn, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Valerie Brisco-Hooks and 200-meter silver medalist Florence Griffith, Women's 200 meters, 1984 Olympics, photo credit: Paul Chinn, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

runner Edwin Moses

Edwin Moses, despite running from an unfavorable lane, streaks to victory in the 400-meter hurdles at the Olympic Trials, [1984]. Photo credit: Paul Chinn, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Carl Lewis beams

Carl Lewis beams and holds his fist in the air as he advanced in the 100m run, [1984]. Photo credit: Paul Chinn, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

Carl Lewis raises his arms in victory

Carl Lewis raises his arms in victory as he wins a gold medal for the 200 meter. Lewis would win four gold medals at the 1984 Summer Games, and nine gold medals total over during his career. Photo credit: Paul Chinn, Los Angeles Herald Examiner Collection

 

 

 

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