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Tom Bradley added to Coliseum’s court of honor

LOS ANGELES — Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley was posthumously inducted into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Court of Honor April 25 for his significant contributions to the stadium’s legacy.

The plaque describes Bradley as the “champion of the 1984 Olympic Games” and includes this quote — “He welcomed the world. No one has done so much for so many while serving the city of Los Angeles.” Bradley led the efforts to have Los Angeles selected as the host city for the 1984 Summer Olympics, which experts considered one of the most successful Games. The Coliseum served as the venue for track and field and the memorable opening and closing ceremonies.

Bradley’s daughters Lorraine and Phyllis and Los Angeles County Supervisors Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas were among those attending the early afternoon ceremony.

Bradley is the 63rd person or group to be honored with a plaque in the Coliseum Court of Honor since its establishment in 1932.

The Court of Honor commemorates people and events with ties to the Coliseum and the since-demolished Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

Plaques honor such legendary athletes as Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens. Others honored include John F. Kennedy, who received the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination at the Sports Arena and made his acceptance speech at the Coliseum in an address in which he used the phrase “New Frontier” for the first time; Pope John Paul II, who celebrated Mass in the Coliseum in 1987; the Rev. Billy Graham, who attracted 134,254 people for a 1963 crusade; and football coaches Knute Rockne of Notre Dame and John McKay of USC.

As a 14-year-old, Bradley viewed events of the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles and developed an affection for sports that would carry through his life.

Los Angeles’ efforts to host the Olympics for a second time began in 1939 with the formation of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games and an offer to have Los Angeles as an alternative to Tokyo for the 1940 Games, as Japan was already at war in China. The 1940 Summer Olympics would ultimately be canceled because of World War II.

Los Angeles would make bids for each Summer Olympics beginning with the 1948 Games. With the Olympics plagued by high costs and security fears in the 1970s, only three cities sought to host the 1984 Games. The U.S. Olympic Committee chose Los Angeles over New York City to become the U.S. candidate.

Tehran, Iran, dropped its bid before the 1978 vote by the International Olympic Committee because of internal turmoil leading to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

There will still complications even after the IOC selected Los Angeles as the host city. Bradley needed to get the IOC to waive its rule requiring the host city to be responsible for any financial losses.

After that hurdle was cleared, Bradley needed to turn his attention to the City Council, which was split 7-7 to approve the contract. Bradley was ultimately successful in persuading Councilman Marvin Braude to cast the deciding vote in favor of the contract.

With the Peter Ueberroth-led Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee obtaining corporate sponsors to finance the Games, the 1984 Summer Olympics would be the most financially successful. The Games surplus continues to be used by the LA84 Foundation to fund youth sports programs in Southern California. 

Wave Wire Services