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DAY 16 / SUNDAY, AUG. 12, 1984

Greg Louganis wins second diving medal in four days

He wins the gold medal in the 10-meter platform, becoming the first to eclipse 700-point mark.

August 12, 2009|Mario Aguirre

Los Angeles was host to the Summer Olympics 25 years ago. This final part of a 16-day series looks back at Sunday, Aug. 12, 1984.

The big news

Greg Louganis won his second medal in four days by besting 11 opponents in the men's 10-meter platform final. Louganis became the first diver in history to break the 700 mark on the platform, scoring 710.91 points.

Louganis established a 67.41-point lead over the silver medalist, Bruce Kimball.

Louganis also carved his name in the record books by becoming the third athlete in Olympic history to win both the three-meter springboard and the platform -- a feat that hadn't been done since the 1920s.

The big surprise

This closing ceremony was eagerly awaited, given that the man orchestrating it was famed Hollywood producer David L. Wolper.

The crowd (92,655 strong) was in total silence as the Coliseum lights went out and then did as told and pointed blue-lensed flashlights into the night sky, producing as then-staff writer Richard Hoffer wrote, "a compacted bowl of city lights, a sparkling field, a carpet strewn with emeralds. It was a nearly extraterrestrial sight, certainly one challenging to the senses."

Wolper, an award-winning television and film producer, spent a year organizing the opening and closing ceremonies.

Every detail concerned him -- not because his reputation was at stake, but because he was worried how the city would be remembered.

There was no doubt the closing ceremony would be remembered -- not only for the ballet dancers and breakdancers and fireworks but for the flying saucer above the Coliseum that night.

Update

"You got 2 billion people watching," Wolper, 81, said recently. "I wasn't concerned about myself . . . I had done so many big shows by that time. I was worried more that if we were a failure . . . you'd hear 'em say, 'Here it is Hollywood, a disaster in the ceremony.' That would be the thing that would have killed me.

"It's one of those mysteries of life," he added.

"On that day, everything worked."

In the years since retiring, Wolper has focused his attention on writing, including an autobiography, "The Producer: A Memoir," with David Fisher. He also has written articles for the Huffington Post and Sports Illustrated.

Now that he is retired, he has the time to tell his stories.

"I didn't have the chance when I was doing all the movies and television," he said. "Now, I've just been writing about the things I like to do. It's fun."

From the archives

"Turn out the lights. The party's over. Pack up the costumes. Put away the paper hats. Turn off the loudspeaker. Pay the band. . . . Thanks for the memories.

"Thanks, Carl Lewis. You might have been a headache, but you were never a bore, and you made it a benchmark Olympics. . . .

"Thank you, Peter Ueberroth and Paul Ziffren and Harry Usher for showing Americans they didn't know their own strength. . . .

"They doused the L.A. Olympic flame at 9:30. But where it glows, in a nation's heart, it can never go out. The Games went on as they had come in -- on a note of joy, and hope and promise. America gave a party and the world came. The ones you want at your party, anyway. The world's Olympians. Victors all." -- Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray

Spotlight on

China had an impressive showing in its first big effort in the Olympic Games. It earned 15 gold medals, fourth behind only the U.S. (83), Romania (20) and West Germany (17). China also collected eight silvers and nine bronzes.

-- Mario Aguirre

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