Los Angeles’ Olympic legacy is traveling to Dodger Stadium, as the LA84 Foundation and the Los Angeles Dodgers will celebrate Olympics Night on July 20 as the Dodgers host the Atlanta Braves. The first 40,000 ticketed fans to the Dodgers’ game will receive a commemorative 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games coin, while the night will also feature Olympians and Paralympians, Olympic-themed events and Sam the Eagle, the official mascot of the 1984 Games. LA84 is also teaming with the Dodgers to bring 300 young athletes from the LA84-funded Woodcraft Rangers afterschool program to the game.
The game’s first pitch will be thrown out by four-time Olympic medalist Lisa Fernandez, who pitched Team USA to gold in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Summer Games. Two-time Paralympic judo medalist Dartanyon Crockett will be playing the national anthem, while Olympians Tai Babilonia (’76, ’80), Adam Duvendeck (’04, ’08), Craig Lincoln (’72), John Moffet (’84), Rusty Smith (’02, ’06) and Katherine Starr (’84, ’88) will also be in attendance. The LA84 Foundation archives will also display artifacts and photos from Dodger Stadium’s time as an Olympic venue before the game, in an exhibition in the right field plaza of the stadium. A special event ticket package also includes a legacy LA84 Foundation cap.
Dodger Stadium is connected to Los Angeles’ Olympic history, having served as the host site for exhibition baseball at the 1984 Olympic Games. The 16-game tournament, which saw Japan defeat a United States squad of amateur players featuring future major leaguers Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire and Will Clark in the championship game. Dodger Stadium saw an average attendance of over 48,000, and baseball became an official Olympic event at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games. Baseball will be returning to the Olympic Games for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games after a brief hiatus. Softball was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
The LA84 Foundation has impacted over three million LA youth since its inception in 1985, and has reinvested the surplus of the 1984 Olympic Games back in the communities of Southern California. Since 2003, LA84 and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation have partnered to build 47 Dodgers Dreamfields to provide baseball and softball fields as well as offer league opportunities through its Dodgers RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program. The LA84-funded LAUSD Beyond The Bell program also offers free-of-cost baseball and softball leagues for students in every LAUSD middle school.