Olympic Cycling Road Races
Mission Viejo, CA
July 29, 1984
The men's and women's Olympic cycling road races were held around Mission Viejo, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles. It is dry and hilly, typical on the southern Orange County area. The Start/Finish line was on Olympiad Road, formerly O'Neill Road, renamed in honor of the Olympic event held here. It was sunny and hot the day of the races, tens of thousands of spectators lined the race course.
Women's Road Race
July 29, 1984
The 1984 Olympic road race was the first cycling event ever contested for women in the Olympic Games. The race favorite was Jeannie Longo of France, a multiple world champion. Also favored were Connie Carpenter-Phinney and Rebecca Twigg of the United States, racing on home roads. Twigg had won a silver medal in the 1983 World Championships behind 1983 World Champion Marianne Berglund, who was also in the race and could factor into the medal picture. Midway through the race a group of riders broke away from the peleton, including Longo, Carpenter-Phinney, Twigg, German Sandra Schumacher and Italian Maria Canins. They managed to stay clear and headed into the last kilometer. Longo, who would go on to win gold in the 1996 Olympic road race in Atlanta, dropped her chain and was out of the medal hunt. Twigg, an experienced track sprinter, lead out the sprint and looked to have the race won. In the last few meters, Carpenter-Phinney came around Twigg and threw her bike across the line to win the first women's Olympic gold medal by a few inches. Twigg took silver, the bronze medal went to Schumacher.
Men's Road Race
July 29, 1984
After the exciting finish of the women's race, the men lined up at the start line for 12 laps totaling 190.2km(118.2 mi) over the Mission Viejo roads. It was getting hotter as the afternoon wore on, it was going to be a tough race. With the top Eastern European racers absent due to the boycott, one of the favorites for the race was American Davis Phinney, a member of the 7-11 cycling team, husband of gold medal winner Connie Carpenter-Phinney and the USA cycling team's best sprinter.
On the race's penultimate lap, American Alexi Grewel and Canadian Steve Bauer broke away from the peleton, followed closely by Norwegians Dag Otto Lauritzen and Morten Saether. Bauer and Grewel headed for the finish line to decide the gold medal between them. Bauer, the better sprinter of the two breakaway leaders led out the sprint, Grewel came around him at the line to win by less than a wheel. Lauritzen won the bronze medal.
Additional Olympic Tidbits
The 1984 Olympic cycling medals were the first gold medals in United States Olympic cycling team history and the first Olympic cycling medals of any kind since 1912.
Dag Otto Lauritzen's bronze medal in the men's road race was the last Olympic cycling medal won by a Norwegian until 2012 when Alexander Kristoff won a bronze medal at the London games.
In 1984, I was a struggling college student. I shot these photos with a well used Olympus OM-1 35mm camera and ran out of Kodachrome color film during the 4K Pursuit Finals and had to shoot the rest of the day with inexpensive black and white film.
I had this photo of Connie Carpenter-Phinney
and this photo of Steve Hegg
hanging in the showroom of my shop on State Street in Carlsbad, California. One day a man and woman walked in and asked about the photo. I told them that I had taken the photo at the Olympics. The gentleman told me he'd never seen a photo of the race taken from that angle, I explained there was only myself and an ABC television cameraman in that spot. He offered to buy the photo, I started to think he looked kind of familiar so I asked who he was. Turned out it was Eddie Borysewicz, the US cycling team coach in the photo, and his wife. I told him I would give him the photo, but he insisted he would pay me. We went back and forth a little when his wife produced a US Cycling Team pin from her purse and I traded the photo for the pin.