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Los Angeles 1984 - Quick hits

Profit

For the first time the Games was organised by a private company whose stated aim was to make a profit. They eventually made 150 million US dollars.

Smog

Pollution was one of the scourges of the Games - with 12,000 tonnes of harmful emissions drifting in Los Angeles every day. In order to curb this during the Games, the city authorities asked surrounding factories to reduce production by up to 20%.

Standing ovation

The Romanian, Chinese, and Yugoslav delegations were given a rousing ovation during the opening procession, all of these countries having ignored orders from Moscow to boycott the Games.

Made in Hollywood

Conceived and produced like a cinematic and visual bonanza, the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics was one that would not easily be forgotten. It was watched by 2.5 billion television viewers.

Emotion

American 400m hurdler, Edwin Moses, too emotional to speak, had to have three attempts before he was able to recite the Olympic oath.

Security

The spectre of terrorism led the organising committee to take drastic measures at the Games, with a record budget of 55 million dollars, and a total of 17,000 men as well as 80 helicopters flying in the sky above Los Angeles. The authorities even considered using an "explosive-disarming" robot if a bomb scenario became apparent.

McDonalds

Built thanks to financing to the tune of 4 million dollars from the well-known fast food chain, McDonald's, the Olympic swimming pool would remain known as...the McDonald pool.

Drama

The women's marathon, making its first appearance at the Games, was an emotional affair as Switzerland's Gabriela Andersen-Schiess arrived at the Olympic stadium. Television cameras from all over the world transmitted the harrowing images of the 39-year-old staggering all over the track. Suffering from heat prostration and refusing help, she hobbled on. This scenario lasted for five minutes, but after doctors deemed that she was fit to continue, she finally crossed the line, falling into the arms of waiting medics. Eventually finishing in 37th place, the Swiss ski instructor from Idaho, USA recovered quickly and two weeks later took part in another race.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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