Reliving the 1984 LA Olympics


Carl Lewis, Long Jump Gold Medalist | Neil Leifer | Carl lewis, Sports  photography, Long jump

Watching 16 Days Of Glory and reliving the 1984 Olympic Summer Games.

I came home from work every evening that summer, and plopped down in front of the TV to watch the Games for about 4 hours straight, and then stayed up until 1:00 for the late coverage. After they ended, I went through Olympics withdrawal. And some of the wins, like Joan Benoit in the women’s marathon, and the men’s gymnastics team, are still emotional.

Aside from the things I had forgotten, there are things that I hadn’t noticed before. For instance, before Zola Budd and Mary Decker collided, there was a moment where Decker looked down and frowned, clearly worried that Budd was crowding her. You only see that in slow-mo.

The movie was, I believe, Bud Greenspan’s first for the Olympics.
The cinematography is, of course, first-rate, and David Perry’s dead-pan, emotionless narration lets the athletes tell their own stories.

Given that the USA USA USA dominated the Games, in part because of the Soviet boycott, it could have been mostly about the US team. And he certainly doesn’t short the home team. But he makes room for plenty of foreign victory stories as well.

The photo above is not from the movie. It is, of course, Carl Lewis in the Long Jump, one of four gold medals he won that year. It by Neil Leifer, one of the greatest sports photographers of all time.