Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Olympic Swim Stadium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: August 3, 1984
Date Finished: August 4, 1984
Without [Vladimir Salnikov] this event seemed empty. The Soviet star was the defending champion, having broken the 15-minute barrier at the Moscow Olympics, and winning the 1978 and 1982 World Championship. He had bettered his world record in both 1982 and 1983 and was still the only swimmer to have bested 15 minutes. In his absence the race was expected to come down to the two Americans, [Mike O'Brien] and [George DiCarlo]. By 200 metres of the final they had pulled away from the pack. But DiCarlo found the water warmer than he liked and fell off the pace by 800 metres, leaving O'Brien in control. He would eventually win gold in 15:05.20, but DiCarlo did hang on for the silver medal, followed by West German [Stefan Pfeiffer] in third. A few weeks later Salnikov won the Friendship Games 1,500 in 15:03.51. O'Brien commented after his win, "Obviously 15:05 is a long way from 14:54. I think, though, that if he'd have been in the same pool swimming right next to me, I could've given him a good race." It's nice to think so.