Los Angeles and The History of the Games

Los Angeles and The History of the Games

Los Angeles has a special history with the Olympic Games, hosting the iconic global event twice before in 1932 and 1984.

Both the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games generated profits and the surplus for the 1984 Games helped start the LA84 Foundation, which has provided access to sport to more than three million young Angelenos, including Venus and Serena Williams and Russell Westbrook.

“The Games are woven into the fabric of Los Angeles’ history,” said LA28 Chairperson Casey Wasserman. “Starting with a legacy that began in 1932 and was cemented in 1984, the 2028 Games will inspire our community and the world of sport for decades to come.”

In 1932, Los Angeles hosted the Olympic Games for the first time. The event marked the introduction of Los Angeles to the world as a major U.S. city.

Held in the midst of the Great Depression, only 37 nations across 14 sports participated. In an effort to control expenses, the Games relied on existing Southern California venues to host events. The only new construction was the Los Angeles Swimming Stadium (later named LA84 Foundation/John C. Argue Swim Stadium), which is still open to the public today.

The U.S. topped the competition in 1932 by winning 103 medals. Italy and Finland followed the U.S. in medal count with 36 and 25 medals, respectively.

The Olympic Games returned to LA in 1984 with events stretching across many of Southern California’s iconic sports venues, including the Rose Bowl and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for a second time.

Following the 1932 minimal construction approach, and with the addition of commercial partners, the 1984 low-risk financial model proved to be a success and set a new standard for Olympic Games.

At the 1984 Games, the U.S. led with 83 gold medals, and Carl Lewis was a key contributor with four gold medals matching the previously unrivaled feat achieved by Jesse Owens in 1936.

In a series of firsts, Morocco’s Nawal El Moutawakel won the woman’s 400m to become the first woman from a Muslim country to take home gold and Xu Haifeng won the 50m pistol event for China’s first gold.

The road to Los Angeles 2028 began in 2015 when Los Angeles announced a bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024, competing with Paris, Rome, Budapest and Hamburg.

Los Angeles and Paris were the finalists in the summer of 2017 and for the first time ever, the International Olympic Committee moved forward with a dual award, naming Paris host of the Olympic Games 2024 and Los Angeles host of the Olympic Games 2028.