Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Olympic Velodrome, California State University at Dominguez Hills, Carson, California
Date Started: August 2, 1984
Date Finished: August 3, 1984
Format: Places 1-4 ranked by results of final and 3rd-place match. Places 5-8 ranked by fastest losing times in quarter-finals. Places 9-14 ranked by qualifying times.
The United States had the gold and bronze medalist from the individual pursuit, [Steve Hegg] and [Leonard Harvey Nitz], but they qualified only fifth. The qualifying leaders were Italy, followed by Australia, and then the usually very strong West German team. In the quarter-finals, the US advanced by beating Denmark, but only by 1/100th of a second. The semis were easier for them, as they surprisingly overtook the West Germans to advance to the final. There they faced Australia, which had beaten Italy in the other semi-final. But American [David Grylls] had his cleats come out of his toe strap on an early lap and fell off the back. The Americans, riding with only three cyclists, could not keep pace after the first half of the race, and Australia pulled away to the gold medal.
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.