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Olympics Past: Los Angeles

After holding off a bid from rival city New York, Los Angeles won the right to host the 1984 Summer Olympics, becoming the sixth US city to do so. Despite boycotts from the Soviet Union, Cuba and Germany, more than 140 nations were in attendance.

Not only did the US take top honors (with 83 gold medals), but the song created for the opening ceremony, the “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” by John Williams, took home a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 1985. Plan a visit to the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles with 2-for-1 tickets until the end of May.

The Los Angeles Games are considered to be one of the most financially successful, thanks in large part to the majority of events taking place at pre-existing facilities. Two of the city’s most famous stadiums, the Rose Bowl Stadium and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, continue to hold NCAA college football games from September-December. In the off-season check the listings for concerts, weekend flea markets and outdoor concerts.

Two major universities, University of Southern California and University of California, held a number of events including gymnastics, swimming and tennis. Visitors can download self-guided tours on smart phones, or schedule guided tours of the campuses through the admission offices.

On weekends, Santa Anita Park (the 1984 site for equestrian events) fills with horse-racing spectators. Daily tours of the stables, barns and gardens are also available -- you’ll even get to meet Fighting Furrari, the horse who starred in “Seabiscuit”.

Of course, it’s hard to think of the 1984 Games without recalling the gold-winning US basketball team, led by legendary Michael Jordan. And if NBA is your thing, head to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to see star-studded LA Lakers games. Keep an eye out for David Beckham while you’re there -- he’s a regular at courtside.

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Deal Expert, Los Angeles