Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum by gyvwpgjmtx


									Present use

The Coliseum is now primarily the home of the USC Trojan football team. During the
recent stretch of its success in football, most of USC's regular home games, especially
the alternating games with rivals UCLA and Notre Dame, attract a capacity 92,000
person crowd, although they regularly drew far less during the 1990s. The current
official capacity of the Coliseum is 93,607. The Coliseum Commission also rents the
Coliseum to various events, including international soccer games, musical concerts
and other large outdoor events.

Celebrating their 50th anniversary in Los Angeles, the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox
played an exhibition game here on March 29, 2008; a Los Angeles and MLB record
for attendance was broken, where 115,300 people attended the game.

On June 17, 2009, the Coliseum played host to the 2009 NBA World Champion Los
Angeles Lakers as the end point of the championship parade. Player and coach
speeches were given at the Coliseum following a procession that began at the Staples

 Olympic Cauldron

The Olympic Cauldron (also known as the Olympic Torch) was built for the stadium's
two Olympic games. It is still lit during the fourth quarter of USC football games, and
other special occasions (e.g., when the Olympics are being held in another city). At
the Los Angeles Dodgers Fiftieth Anniversary Game on March 29, 2008, the torch
was lit for the ThinkCure! charity ceremony, while Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline"
was played and the majority of the attendees turned on their complimentary souvenir
keychain flashlights. In 2004, the cauldron was lit non-stop for seven days in tribute
to President Ronald Reagan, who had died; and it was lit again in April 2005
following the death of Pope John Paul II, who had celebrated Mass at the Coliseum
during his visit to Los Angeles in 1987. The torch was also lit for over a week
following the September 11 attacks in 2001. It was lit for several days following the
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.


Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

U.S. National Historic Landmark

California Historical Landmark?#960
Coliseum during a USC Game


3911 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California


34051 1181716 / 34.01417N 118.28778W / 34.01417; -118.28778Coordinates: 34051
1181716 / 34.01417N 118.28778W / 34.01417; -118.28778




John and Donald Parkinson

Architectural style(s):

Art Moderne

Governing body:


Added to NRHP:

July 27, 1984

Designated NHL:

July 27, 1984



CHL #:


The Coliseum was commissioned in 1921 as a memorial to veterans of World War I
(rededicated to veterans of all wars in 1968). The official ground breaking ceremony
took place on December 21, 1921 with work being completed in just over 16 months,
on May 1, 1923. Designed by John and Donald Parkinson, the original bowl's initial
construction costs were $954,873. When the Coliseum opened in 1923, it was the
largest stadium in Los Angeles with a capacity of 75,144. However, with the arrival of
the Olympics only ten years later, the stadium was expanded to 101,574 and the
now-signature torch was added. For a time it was known as Olympic Stadium. The
Olympic cauldron torch which burned through both Games remains above the
peristyle at the east end of the stadium as a reminder of this, as do the Olympic rings
symbols over one of the main entrances. The football field runs east-west with the
press box on the south side of the stadium. The scoreboard and video screen that
tower over the peristyle date back to 1983; they replaced a smaller scoreboard
installed in 1972, which in turn supplanted the 1937 model, one of the first electric
scoreboards in the nation. Over the years new light towers have been placed along the
north and south rims. Over a period in the middle 1950s the press box was expanded
and the large analog clock and thermometer over the office windows at either end of
the peristyle were added. So too were the "Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum" lettering
and Olympic rings, lighted at night, on the east side of the peristyle tower. Between
the peristyle arches at the east end are plaques recognizing many of the memorable
events and participants in Coliseum history, including a full list of 1932 and 1984
Olympic gold medalists.

A pair of life-sized bronze nude statues of male and female athletes atop a 20,000
pound (9,000?kg) post-and-lintel frame formed the Olympic Gateway created by
Robert Graham for the 1984 games. The statues, modeled on water polo player Terry
Schroeder and long jumper from Guyana, Jennifer Innis, who participated in the
games, were noted for their anatomical accuracy.


The Coliseum under construction in 1922

For many years the Coliseum was capable of seating over 100,000 spectators, and the
capacity for the 1984 Olympics configuration was approximately 90,500. During the
1960s and 70s, it was common practice to shift the playing field to the closed end of
the stadium and install end zone bleachers in front of the peristyle, reducing the
capacity to 71,500. With the upcoming 1984 Summer Olympic Games, a new track
was installed and the playing field permanently placed inside it. The large seating
capacity made the venue problematic for the Raiders, as it meant that the vast
majority of their home games could not be televised locally due to NFL "blackout"
rules (league rules do not allow home games to be televised locally unless the game
sells out at least 72 hours prior to its scheduled kickoff). Furthermore, the
combination of the stadium's large, relatively shallow design, along with the presence
of the track between the playing field and the stands, meant that some of the original
end zone seats were essentially away from the field by the equivalent length of
another football field. To address these and other problems, the Coliseum underwent a
$15 million renovation before the 1993 football season which included the following:

The field was lowered by 11?feet (3.4?m) and fourteen new rows of seats replaced the
running track, bringing the first row of seats closer to the playing field (a maximum
distance of 54?feet (16?m) at the eastern 30 yard-line).

A portable seating section was built between the eastern endline and the peristyle
bleachers (the stands are removed for concerts and similar events).

A modernization of the locker rooms and public restrooms.

The bleachers were replaced with individual seating.

Additionally, for Raiders home games, tarpaulins were placed over seldom-sold
sections, reducing seating capacity to approximately 65,000. The changes were
anticipated to be the first of a multi-stage renovation designed by HNTB that would
have turned the Coliseum into a split-bowl stadium with two levels of mezzanine
suites (the peristyle end would have been left as is). After the 1994 Northridge
Earthquake, however, $93 million was required from government agencies (including
the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to repair earthquake damage, and the
renovations demanded by the Raiders were put on hold indefinitely. The Raiders then
redirected their efforts toward a proposed stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood
before electing to move back to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum prior to the
1995 season. The last element of the Northridge Earthquake repairs was the
replacement of the condemned press box with a new press box in 1995.


Many events have been held at the Coliseum over the years; below are some of the
more notable.


On October 6, 1923, Pomona College and USC played in the inaugural game at the
Los Angeles Coliseum, with the Trojans prevailing 237. Located across the street
from Exposition Park, USC's agreement to play all its home games at the Coliseum
was a contributing factor to its original construction. From 1928 until their departure
in 1982, the UCLA Bruins also played home games at the Coliseum. When USC and
UCLA played each other, the "home" team fans sat on the North side of the stadium,
and the "visiting" team fans sat on the South (press box) side of the stadium. For
many years, both teams wore their home football jerseys for the UCLA-USC rivalry
football games.


The front of the Olympic Stadium, including the two bronze statues.

In 1932, the Coliseum hosted the 1932 Summer Olympic Games; the first of two
Olympiads hosted at the stadium. The Coliseum served as the site of primary track
and field events as well as opening and closing ceremonies. The 1932 games marked
the introduction of the Olympic Village as well as the victory podium.

The former Cleveland Rams of the National Football League relocated to the
Coliseum in 1946, becoming the Los Angeles Rams; but the team later relocated again,
first to Anaheim in 1980, then to St. Louis, Missouri in 1995. The Los Angeles Dons
of the All-America Football Conference played in the Coliseum from 1946 to 1949,
when the Dons franchise merged with its NFL cousins just before the two leagues
merged. In 1960 the American Football League's Los Angeles Chargers played at the
Coliseum before relocating to San Diego the next year.


A Dodgers game at the Coliseum; note the shape of the field.

Among other sporting events held at the Coliseum over the years was Major League
Baseball, which was held at the Coliseum when the Los Angeles Dodgers of the
National League relocated from Brooklyn, New York in 1958. The Dodgers played
here until Dodger Stadium was completed in time for the 1962 season, despite the fact
that the Coliseum's one-tier, oval bowl shape was extremely poorly suited to baseball.
Foul territory was almost nonexistent down the first base line, but was very expansive
down the third base line with a very large backstop for the catcher. Some seats were
as far as 710?feet (220?m) from the plate.

The left field fence was only 251 feet (77 m) from the plate because the field was just
barely large enough to fit a baseball diamond. Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick
ordered the Dodgers to erect a screen in left field to prevent pop flies from becoming
home runs. At its highest point at the foul pole, the fence was 42?feet (13?m) high.
The cables, towers, girders and wires were in play. Frick originally wanted the
Dodgers to build a second screen in the stands, 333?feet (101?m) from the plate. A
ball hit to left would have to clear both screens to be a home run; if it cleared the first
screen, it would be a ground-rule double. However, the state's earthquake laws barred
construction of a second screen.

Unable to compel the Dodgers to fix the situation, the major leagues passed a note to
Rule 1.04 stating that any ball field constructed after June 1, 1958, must provide a
minimum distance of 325?feet (99?m) down each foul line. Also, when the expansion
Los Angeles Angels joined the American League for 1961, Frick rejected their
original request to use the Coliseum.

In 1959, the screen figured in the National League pennant race. The Milwaukee
Braves were playing the Dodgers in the Coliseum on September 15, 1959, and Joe
Adcock hit a ball that cleared the screen but hit a steel girder behind it and got stuck
in the mesh. According to the ground rules, this should have been a home run.
However, the umpires ruled it a ground-rule double. Then the fans shook the screen,
causing the ball to fall into the seats. The umpires changed the call to a homer, only to
change their minds again and rule it a ground-rule double. Adcock was left stranded
on second. The game was tied at the end of nine innings and the Dodgers won it in the
tenth inning. At the end of the regular season, the Dodgers and Braves finished in a tie.
The Dodgers won the ensuing playoff and went on to win the World Series. If
Adcock's hit had been ruled a home run, the Braves may have won the game and
could have gone on to win the pennant by one game.

Although ill-suited as a Major League Baseball field, with its left field line at 251 feet
(mentioned above) and power alley at 320 feet (98 m), it was ideally suited for large
paying crowds. Each of the three games of the 1959 World Series played there drew
over 92,706 fans, a record unlikely to be seriously threatened anytime soon, given the
smaller seating capacities of today's baseball parks. A May 1959 exhibition game
between the Dodgers and the New York Yankees in honor of legendary catcher Roy
Campanella drew 93,103, the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in the Western
Hemisphere until an exhibition game in 2008 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and
the Boston Red Sox to mark the 50th anniversary of Major League Baseball in Los
Angeles. The Coliseum also hosted the second 1959 MLB All-Star Game. Also, from
baseball's point of view, the locker rooms were huge, because they were designed for
football (not baseball) teams.

The Coliseum was also the site of John F. Kennedy's memorable acceptance speech at
the 1960 Democratic National Convention. It was during that speech that Kennedy
first used the term "the New Frontier."

The Rams hosted the 1949, 1951 and the 1955 NFL championship games at the
Coliseum. The Coliseum was the site of the very first NFL-AFL Championship Game
in January 1967, an event since renamed the Super Bowl. It also hosted the Super
Bowl in 1973. The venue was also the site of the NFL Pro Bowl from 1951-1972 and
again in 1979.


In July 1972, the Coliseum hosted the Super Bowl of Motocross. The event was the
first motocross race held inside a stadium . It has evolved into the AMA Supercross
championship held in stadiums across the United States and Canada.

In 1973, Evel Knievel used the entire distance of the stadium to jump 50 stacked cars
at the stadium. Knievel launched his motorcycle from atop one end of the Coliseum,
jumping the cars in the center of the field, and stopping high atop the other end. The
jump was filmed by ABC Wide World of Sports. Also in 1973, the Coliseum was host
to Super Bowl VII which saw the (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins (170) defeat the
(NFC) champion Washington Redskins (13-4), 147, and become the first, and
presently the only team in the NFL to complete a perfect, undefeated season.

The Los Angeles Rams played their home games in the L.A. Coliseum until 1979,
when they moved to Orange County prior to the 1980 NFL Season. They hosted the
NFC Championship Game in 1975 & 1978 in which they lost both times to the Dallas
Cowboys by lopsided margins.

The Coliseum was also home to the USFL's Los Angeles Express between 1983 and
1985. In this capacity, the stadium also is the site of the longest professional American
football game in history; a triple-overtime game on June 30, 1984 (a few weeks
before the start of the 1984 Summer Olympics) between the Express and the
Michigan Panthers, which was decided on a 24-yard game winning touchdown by
Mel Gray of the Express, 3:33 into the third overtime to give Los Angeles a 2721 win.

In 1982 the former Oakland Raiders moved in. The same year, UCLA decided to
move out, relocating its home games to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Also in 1982, the Individual World Speedway Final was held for the first and, to this
day, only time in the USA. The event saw American Bruce Penhall retain his title in a
meeting that involved one of the most controversial incidents in the history of World
Speedway, when Penhall and Englishman Kenny Carter collided.

Los Angeles hosted the 1984 Summer Olympics, and the Coliseum became the first
stadium to host the Olympics twice; again serving as the primary track and field
venue and site of the opening and closing ceremonies.

Bruce Springsteen played four consecutive sold-out nights at the Coliseum in the fall
of 1985 as the culmination of his landmark Born in the U.S.A. Tour. Black Sabbath
played to a sellout audience on July 26, 1980. Van Halen also soldout the Coliseum
during their 1988 OU812 Tour better known as the Monsters of Rock Tour 1988.
Other notable concerts include The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, The
Grateful Dead, and U2 (as part of the Joshua Tree Tour).

In 1995, the Raiders left Los Angeles and returned to Oakland, leaving the Coliseum
without a professional football tenant for the first time since the close of World War

The most recent pro football tenant has been the short-lived Los Angeles Xtreme, the
first and only champion of the XFL.

The stadium hosted several matches, including the semi-finals and final, of the 1991
CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament. The United States national team beat
Honduras in the final. The Coliseum also staged the final match of the Gold Cup in
the 1996, 1998, and 2000 tournaments.

The stadium hosted the K-1 Dynamite!! USA mixed martial arts event. The promoters
claimed that 54,000 people attended the event, which would have set a new
attendance record for a mixed martial arts event in the United States, however other
officials estimated the crowd between 20,000 and 30,000.

In May 1959, the Dodgers had hosted an exhibition game against the reigning World
Series champion New York Yankees at the Coliseum, a game which drew over 93,000
people. The Yankees won that game 6-2. As part of their west coast 50th anniversary
celebration in 2008, the Dodgers again hosted an exhibition game against the reigning
World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. The middle game of a three-game set
in Los Angeles, held on March 29, 2008, was also won by the visitors, by the
relatively low score of 7-4, given the layout of the field - Red Sox catcher Jason
Varitek had joked that he expected scores in the 80s.

As previously mentioned in the 1950s-1960s section, during 1958-1961, the distance
from home plate to the left field foul pole was 251?feet (77?m) with a 42-foot (13?m)
screen running across the close part of left field. Due to the intervening addition of
another section of seating rimming the field, the 2008 grounds crew had much less
space to work with, and the result was a left field foul line only 201?feet (61?m) long,
with a 60-foot (18?m) screen which one Boston writer dubbed the "Screen Monster".
Even at that distance, 201 feet is also 49?feet (15?m) short of the minimum legal
home run distance. This being an exhibition game, balls hit over the 60?feet (18?m)
temporary screen were still counted as home runs. There were only a couple of
homers over the screen, as pitchers adjusted (and Manny Ramirez did not play,
although he ironically enough, would later be traded to the Dodgers that season). Net
proceeds from the game, estimated to be at $1 million (US) were to go to the
ThinkCure cha

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