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Olympics – 1984 – L A Games – Equestrian Team Show Jump + Boxing + Diving + Wrestling + Track 800m


Day 11 of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics took place on Tuesday, August 7th….as ABC’s coverage in this daytime 3 hour block of coverage featured the Equestrian Team Show Jumping preliminary round….with Team USA featuring Joe Fargis on Touch of Class….Conrad Homefeld on Abdulla ….Melanie Smith on Calypso…..and Leslie Howard on Albany…..as this eventual gold medal winning team would be covered throughout this telecast. 

ABC Sports provided a full day of coverage on Day 11….which included a look back at the prior day’s outcomes that had not been covered….as Frank Gifford showcased Brazil’s Joaquim Cruz setting a new Olympic record (1:43.00) in the men’s 800m race….while running the 2nd fastest time in history in the 800m….and beating race favorites GBR Sebastian Coe + teammate Steve Ovett.  The program then shifts to the men’s 3m springboard diving preliminary competition….which got underway beginning with the 4th of 11 dives….after which the top 12 divers move on to the finals.  This competition  is covered by Jack Whitaker and Cynthia Potter….and showcases 4 really outstanding divers….USA’s Greg Loughanis (maybe the greatest diver of all time) and Ron Merriot….along with China’s Li Highpong + Tan….who battle throughout the day for the top four spots in qualifying…..as well as throughout the entire competition all the way to the medal stand…..a battle that was really just for the silver and bronze medals….cuz Loughanis just dominated the rest to gold. 

One of the many things I like about ABC’s coverage of the Olympics is their “personal profiles” of many of the top athletes at the games….whereby they go to their home countries or states and film a personal piece on each athlete....as this telecast has a great profile on Chinese diver Li Hiphpong…..as they visit his home province in China.

Next on this telecast, the program shifts to Curt Gowdy and Rus Hellickson at the Anaheim Convention Center for the 1st round 198 pound class match between USA Ed Banach verses Austrian Edwin Linz…. then comes another wonderful ABC profile on the history of Los Angeles…..including the 40 years it was under Mexican rule…..all the way back to 1781….and when the puebla (small village) of The Angels was first inhabited…..all the way up to 1850….when California joined the Union. The program then shifts to Howard Cosell at the boxing venue for an insightful interview with USA middleweight Virgil Hill….just prior to his match with Yugoslavian Damir Skaro….which turns out to be a really good fight that Hill was fortunate to win on a split decision. 

The program shifts back to the Kathleen Sullivan at the ABC Studio….as she introduced actor Robert Conrad for an enjoyable interview with the actor / boxing enthusiast as he expounds on his excitement about the USA Boxing Team….then Frank Gifford narrates a piece on women’s tennis at the Olympics…. and how it was part of the Games until 1924….when it was removed from competition….and how it came back for a “trial” at the 1968 Mexico City Games….and has again shown up at the 1984 L A Games for an “exhibition sport” in anticipation of it becoming a medal competition at the upcoming 1988 Seoul Games.  This is followed by an interview by Kathleen Sullivan with actor Tom Selleck….who was the official sponsor of the USA men’s water polo team…..which is followed by a piece on Olivera Street….a quaint Mexican influenced part of Los Angeles that was worth a visit to while at the Games. 

Simply put, this 3 hours of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics is nothing less than pure enjoyment to see.

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