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Cycling at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games:

Men's Individual Pursuit, 4,000 metres

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Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Olympic Velodrome, California State University at Dominguez Hills, Carson, California
Date Started: July 30, 1984
Date Finished: August 1, 1984

Gold: USA Steve Hegg
Silver: FRG Rolf Gölz
Bronze: USA Leonard Harvey Nitz

Summary

The best pursuiters in the world were the East Germans and Soviets. In their absence, the favorite’s role fell to Rolf Gölz (FRG), who had placed second at the 1982 World Championships. Despite the boycott, the field had 33 riders, the largest ever Olympic starting field for this event. The qualifying was led by American Steve Hegg, a former national team ski racer, who won by almost 11 seconds over France’s Pascal Robert, with Golz placing fifth. There were four rounds of match races, and Hegg and Gölz easily made it to the final, with Gölz overtaking his opponents in both the quarters and semis. In the final, Gölz started quickly but Hegg caught him by 2,500 metres and pulled away to an easy victory. In the bronze medal race, another American, Leonard Harvey Nitz, defeated Australian Dean Woods to take third place. After his defeat, Gölz told Hegg, "You wouldn't have beaten me in Germany," to which Hegg replied, "I really don't care - this is Los Angeles."

Hegg and Nitz’s medals were unusual for the United States in track cycling, although the Eastern Bloc boycott had much to do with this. But shortly after the competition, it was revealed that several members of the American track cycling team, including Hegg and Nitz, had participated in blood doping – usually done by harvesting their own blood several weeks before the competition and then re-injecting it shortly before the event. But because the US team had not planned this correctly, they did not have time to harvest their own blood, so they had blood injected from other donors, a very dangerous practice because of the risk of antibody reactions and viral contamination. This was not illegal at the time, but in 1985, blood doping would be banned by the IOC.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Steve Hegg 20 United States USA Gold
2 Rolf Gölz 21 West Germany FRG Silver
3 Leonard Harvey Nitz 27 United States USA Bronze
4 Dean Woods 18 Australia AUS
5 Jørgen Pedersen 24 Denmark DEN
6 Jelle Nijdam 20 Netherlands NED
7 Pascal Robert 20 France FRA
8 Michael Grenda 22 Australia AUS
9 Rudi Ceyssens 22 Belgium BEL
10 Roberto Calovi 21 Italy ITA
11 Anthony Cuff 26 New Zealand NZL
12 Shaun Wallace 22 Great Britain GBR
13 Gabriel Curuchet 21 Argentina ARG
14 Alex Stieda 23 Canada CAN
15 Jörg Müller 23 Switzerland SUI
16 Carlos García 19 Uruguay URU
17 QR Gary Trevisiol 24 Canada CAN
18 QR Henning L. Larsen 29 Denmark DEN
19 QR Maurizio Colombo 21 Italy ITA
20 QR Sixten Wackström 23 Finland FIN
21 QR Stephan Joho 20 Switzerland SUI
22 QR Hans Fischer 23 Brazil BRA
23 QR William Palacios 20 Colombia COL
24 QR Karl Krenauer 25 Austria AUT
25 QR Éric Louvel 22 France FRA
26 QR Steve Bent 23 Great Britain GBR
27 QR Fernando Vera 30 Chile CHI
28 QR Balbino Jaramillo 33 Colombia COL
29 QR Diomedes Panton 23 Philippines PHI
AC QR Pedro Caino 28 Argentina ARG overtaken
AC QR Hsu Chin-Te 18 Chinese Taipei TPE overtaken
AC QR Eduardo Cuevas 33 Chile CHI overtaken
AC QR Ingo Wittenborn 19 West Germany FRG overtaken