LA84, LA Historical Society Celebrate Tom Bradley, LA’s Olympic Legacy
Thirty-three years later, the legacy of one of LA’s civic giants remains in full effect. The LA84 Foundation and the Los Angeles Historical Society honored late Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley on Sunday, celebrating his impact and influence in bringing the 1984 Olympic Games to Los Angeles.
Hosted by LA84 and the final presentation of the LA Historical Society’s 2017 season as part of the ‘The Bradley Effect: A Tom Bradley Centennial’ series, attendees channeled the Olympic spirit throughout the day. Visitors were treated to a sampling of Bradley’s personal memorabilia collection, including a signed glove from boxing legend and 1960 Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Ali; the story of Bradley’s impact told by Wayne Wilson, LA84 Vice President, Education Services; an update on the LA 2024 Olympic bid; and tours of the historic Britt House and the LA84 Sport History Library, the nation’s premier Olympic archives and memorabilia collection.
Among the audience was Lorraine Bradley, Bradley’s daughter, who came to celebrate his 20-year tenure, the longest of any mayor in LA’s history. As a 14-year-old Angeleno, Bradley viewed events of the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles and developed an affection for sports that would carry through his life. A couple of years after being elected in 1973, Bradley launched LA’s bid for the 1984 Games. In a time where Olympic Games took a significant financial toll on a host city, Bradley spearheaded an effort to run the first privately funded Games. Los Angeles won the bid, and years later hosted the most financially successful Games ever that netted a staggering surplus of over $230 million. Forty percent of that surplus went toward establish a foundation to provide youth sports programming and funding to children across Southern California.
“He saved the Olympic Movement with the ideas he had. Partnering with businesses made these games affordable, and because of this we have programs today that are still helping kids,” Lorraine Bradley said.
Thirty-three years later, powered by Bradley and his Olympic Legacy, the LA84 Foundation has funded over 2,200 nonprofits, built or rehabilitated over 100 sports facilities, and positively impacted millions of youth in Southern California.
Learn more about LA84’s memorabilia collection and archives within the LA84 Sport History Library.