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LA Olympics revisited in downtown LA photo display

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 09:05AM
Javier Mendoza/Herald-Examiner Collection

O.J. Simpson carries the Olympic torch before the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

In a one-day-only photo display at Downtown's Mark Taper Auditorium, a collection of photographs will work to paint a picture of the 1932 and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, just in time for the start of the summer's Olympic games in London.

The "L.A. in Focus: Images from the LAPL Photo Collection" event will be curated and narrated by David Davis, a part of the L.A. library's Photo Friends and author of a new book called "Showdown at Sheperd's Bush" about the 1908 Olympic marathon.

The photos were pulled from the Los Angeles Public Library's collection and include many pictures taken by the Herald Examiner.

"They shot the hell out of the 1984 Olympics," Davis said.

There will be an hour presentation with 80 to 100 photos, and will include facts, context and memorable tales about the L.A. Olympics.

"Sometimes it's just beautiful imagery," Davis said, but often times the photos capture historical and significant moments -- including lighting the Olympic flame at the Coliseum and the first woman to run an Olympic marathon.

For the 1932 games in L.A., the first ever athlete village was built in Baldwin Hills. Only the men lived there, the women were "sequestered to hotels," Davis said.

The 1984 Olympics was a huge turning point for the games, Davis said. After the 1972 terrorist attacks in Munich, the 1976 games that left Montreal crippled with debt and the 1980 Moscow games which the U.S. boycotted, L.A. was "about the only city" who bid for the '84 games.

"They changed the paradigm for how the Olympics are set up," Davis said, explaining that Los Angeles kept building to a minimum, using the resources they already had (like the L.A. Coliseum) to host the games.

He added that since 1984, big cities across the globe have been competing to host the prestigious event.

The event will take place Sat. June 9 at 2 p.m. at the Mark Taper Auditorium. It's free and open to the public with no reservations required.


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