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Cycling at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games:

Men's Sprint

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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 31, 1984
Date Finished: August 3, 1984
Format: 1,000 metres.

Gold: USA Mark Gorski
Silver: USA Nelson Vails
Bronze: JPN Tsutomu Sakamoto

Summary

Without the East Germans, the event was quite devalued. Since 1977, East Germany had won 13 of the 18 medals offered in the event at the World Championships. Four of the other five were won by Soviet riders. The 1980 gold medalist, Lutz Heßlich, was the best sprinter in the world, hacing won the Worlds in 1979 and 1983 and he would win again in 1985 and 1987. In both 1985-86 East Germans would fill all three steps of the podium at the World Championships.

In their absence, two American riders came to the fore. Mark Gorski had been the best American sprinter in the late 70s, but he retired in 1981 after several bad crashes. With the Olympics in Los Angeles he returned to the track in 1983 and had actually beaten Sergey Kopylov (URS), 1981-82 World Champion, three times that year. The other top American was Nelson Vails, one of the first black American cyclists to reach international prominence. Vails started riding as a bicycle messenger in New York City. Nicknamed the Cheetah, he had a very fast top-end but had never beaten Gorski. The final came down to the two Americans, and Gorski continued his dominance of Vails in two straight races.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Mark Gorski 24 United States USA Gold
2 Nelson Vails 23 United States USA Silver
3 Tsutomu Sakamoto 21 Japan JPN Bronze
4 Philippe Vernet 23 France FRA
5 Gerhard Scheller 25 West Germany FRG
6 Marcelo Alexandre 21 Argentina ARG
7 Kenrick Tucker 25 Australia AUS
8 Fredy Schmidtke 23 West Germany FRG
2 h1 r8/11 Gabriele Sella 21 Italy ITA
2 h2 r8/11 Lee Fu-Hsiang 24 Chinese Taipei TPE
2 h1 r7/11 Claudio Iannone 20 Argentina ARG
2 h2 r7/11 Katsuo Nakatake 20 Japan JPN
2 h3 r7/11 Frank Orban 19 Belgium BEL
2 h4 r7/11 Franck Dépine 25 France FRA
3 h1 r7/11 Murray Steele 23 New Zealand NZL
3 h2 r7/11 Mark Barry 20 Great Britain GBR
3 h3 r7/11 Alex Ongaro 20 Canada CAN
3 h4 r7/11 Vincenzo Ceci 20 Italy ITA
2 h1 r5/11 Max Rainsford 21 Australia AUS
2 h2 r5/11 Paulo Jamur 19 Brazil BRA
2 h3 r5/11 José Antonio Urquijo 23 Chile CHI
2 h4 r5/11 Charles Pile 28 Barbados BAR
2 h5 r5/11 Rosman Alwi 22 Malaysia MAS
2 h6 r5/11 Gene Samuel 23 Trinidad and Tobago TTO
2 h1 r3/11 Brian Lyn 22 Antigua and Barbuda ANT
2 h2 r3/11 Deograves Asuncion 28 Philippines PHI
2 h3 r3/11 Leon Richardson 27 Antigua and Barbuda ANT
2 h4 r3/11 Hugo Daya 20 Colombia COL
3 h1 r3/11 James Joseph 27 Guyana GUY
3 h2 r3/11 Ernest Moodie 25 Cayman Islands CAY
3 h3 r3/11 Heinz Isler 24 Switzerland SUI
3 h4 r3/11 Rodolfo Guaves 30 Philippines PHI
4 h4 r3/11 Ian Stanley 21 Jamaica JAM