Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): The Forum, Inglewood, California; Titan Gym, California State University at Fullerton, Fullerton, California
Date Started: July 31, 1984
Date Finished: August 11, 1984
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.
Six teams qualified directly from the 1982 World Championships. Champion USSR, third-placed Poland and sixth-ranked GDR, however, did not show up in Los Angeles, having joined the Communist Bloc boycott of the Games. They were joined by European qualifiers Hungary and Czechoslovakia (9th and 10th at the 1982 Worlds), as well as Americas qualifier Cuba (13th). They were replaced by West Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, Spain and Iceland. Of the teams competing, Yugoslavia, losers of the last World Championship final, were favored for the gold. Contenders were Romania (which did not join the boycott), Denmark (fourth at the Worlds) and West Germany, a former World Champion (1978).
In Group A, Yugoslavia suffered an early set-back in the first match, drawing (22-22) against puny Iceland, having led the game 21-16. They recovered and beat Japan, Algeria and Switzerland. The final pool encounter would decide whether Romania or Yugoslavia would go into the final. Romania was ahead almost the entire match, until the Yugoslavs pulled ahead with a penalty shot netted by Mile Isaković in the final minute of the game. In the other pool, the West Germans and the Danes were the teams to beat. They met in the final pool match, having both won all of their prior matches. The West Germans were helped by Sepp Wunderlich, who scored nine times for a 20-18 victory by Germany.
The teams competing in the final were both coached by medallists from 1972. Yugoslavia's coach Branislav Pokrajac had won the gold back in 1972, while Romania's Simion Schobel coached the Federal Republic of Germany. The final was a close affair, the teams remaining in balance through 15-15. The Yugoslavs then scored three times in a row. Germany kept alive, scored twice to 18-17 with less than half a minute remaining, but Yugoslavia sat out the remainder of the match. West Germany's silver medal meant the first handball medal won by a team outside of Eastern Europe.