1980s1984 L A OlympicsABCCyclingOlympic Cycling CompetitionOlympics

Olympics – 1984 – L A Games – Mens Track Cycling Sprint Finals – USA Nelson Vails Vs USA Mark Gorski


Track cycling is a bicycle racing sport usually held on specially built banked tracks or velodromes (but many events are held at older velodromes where the track banking is relatively shallow) using track bicycles.  With the exception of the 1912 Olympics….track cycling has been featured in every modern Olympic Games….with women’s track cycling was first included in the 1988 Seoul Olympics….then the competitions moved indoors after the 2000 Sydney Games.  Along the decades, track lengths have been gradually reduced….as early velodromes varied in length between 130 and 500 meters long….when by the 1960’s was seen a standard length of 333.33 meters length that were commonly used for international competitions….and since 1990, international velodromes usually have a length of 250 meters. 

Sprint races are generally between 8 and 10 laps in length and focus on raw sprinting power and race tactics over a small number of laps to defeat opponents. Sprint riders will train specifically to compete in races of this length and will not compete in longer endurance races.

Mark Gorski was a member of the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Olympic Teams….while winning a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles in the 1000m sprint cycling event. He was inducted into the U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame in 1995.

Nelson Beasley Vails (born October 13, 1960) is a retired road and track cyclist from the United States….who rode as a professional from 1988 to 1995.  He represented the USA at the 1984 Los Angeles Games…. where he won the silver medal in the 1000m sprint….behind countryman Mark Gorski.  Vails was the first African-American cyclist to win an Olympic medal….and he was inducted to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in 2009.

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