The current official capacity of the Coliseum is 93, In addition, the torch has been lit on the following historic occasions: For several days following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in For over a week following the September 11 attacks in Non-stop for seven days following the death of Ronald Reagan , a former California governor who opened the Summer Games. The Olympic torch was lit when the expected official awarding of the Olympic games to Los Angeles on September 13, Planning[ edit ] The Coliseum was commissioned in as a memorial to L.
The official ground breaking ceremony took place on December 21, with construction being completed in just over 16 months, on May 1, When the Coliseum opened in , it was the largest stadium in Los Angeles with a capacity of 75, In , however, with the Olympics due in two years, the stadium was extended upward to seventy-nine rows seats with two tiers of tunnels, expanding the seating capacity to , The now-signature Olympic torch was added.
For a time it was known as Olympic Stadium. The Olympic cauldron torch which burned through both Games remains above the peristyle at the east end of the stadium as a reminder of this, as do the Olympic rings symbols over one of the main entrances. The football field runs east to west with the press box on the south side of the stadium. The scoreboard and video screen that tower over the peristyle date back to ; they replaced a smaller scoreboard above the center arch installed in , which in turn supplanted the model, one of the first all-electric scoreboards in the nation.
Over the years new light towers have been placed along the north and south rims. The large analog clock and thermometer over the office windows at either end of the peristyle were installed in In the mid-and late s the press box was renovated and the "Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum" lettering and Olympic rings, lighted at night, were added to the eastern face of the peristyle tower. Between the double peristyle arches at the east end is the Coliseum's "Court of Honor"—plaques recognizing many of the memorable events and participants in Coliseum history, including a full list of and Olympic gold medalists.
The complete roster of honorees can be seen below. The statues, modeled on water polo player Terry Schroeder  and long jumper from Guyana, Jennifer Inniss , who participated in the games, were noted for their anatomical accuracy. A decorative facade bearing the Olympic rings was erected in front of the peristyle for the games, and the structure remained in place through that year's football season.
The stadium rim and tunnels were repainted in alternating pastel colors that were part of architect Jon Jerde 's graphic design for the games; these colors remained until Renovations[ edit ] The Coliseum under construction in For many years the Coliseum was capable of seating over , spectators.
In the stadium underwent its first major renovation in over three decades. Most of the original pale green wood-and-metal bench seating was replaced by individual theater-type chairs of dark red, beige, and yellow; these seats remain in place today, though the yellow color was eliminated in the s.
The seating capacity was reduced to approximately 93, The Coliseum was problematic as an NFL venue. At various times in its history, it was either the largest or one of the largest stadiums in the NFL, making it difficult to sell out. Since the NFL's blackout rule barred games from being televised locally unless they were sold out 72 hours before kickoff, this meant Rams and later Raiders games were often blacked out in Southern California.
Partly due to this, from to the late s it was common practice to shift the playing field to the closed end of the stadium and install end zone bleachers in front of the peristyle, limiting further the number of seats available for sale.
When a larger east grandstand was installed in — at the behest of Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom , the capacity was just 71, With the upcoming Summer Olympic Games, a new track was installed and the playing field permanently placed inside it.
However, the combination of the stadium's large, relatively shallow design, along with the presence of the track between the playing field and the stands, meant that some of the original end zone seats were as far from the field by the equivalent length of another football field. A portable seating section was built between the eastern endline and the peristyle bleachers the stands are removed for concerts and similar events. The locker rooms and public restrooms were modernized. The bleachers were replaced with individual seating.
The changes were anticipated to be the first of a multi-stage renovation designed by HNTB that would have turned the Coliseum into a split-bowl stadium with two levels of mezzanine suites the peristyle end would have been left as is.
The Raiders then redirected their efforts toward a proposed stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood before electing to move back to the Oakland—Alameda County Coliseum prior to the season. The last element of the Northridge earthquake repairs was the replacement of the condemned press box with a new press box in In August , construction began on the Coliseum's west end on a new 6, square-foot high-definition video scoreboard, accompanying the existing video scoreboard on the peristyle east end of the stadium.
In July , USC gained the master lease of the Coliseum, after the previously governing Coliseum Commission failed to deliver promised renovations.
USC officials stated that construction will be planned around the school's and the Rams' home football schedule, with no interruption. Situated just across the street from Exposition Park, USC agreed to play all its home games at the Coliseum, a circumstance that contributed to the decision to build the arena. When USC and UCLA played each other , the "home" team USC in odd-numbered years, UCLA in even , occupied the north sideline and bench, and its band and rooters sat on the north side of the stadium; the "visiting" team and its contingent took to the south press box side of the stadium.
Excepting the mids and —, the two teams have worn their home jerseys for the rivalry games for the Victory Bell ; this tradition was renewed in , even though the two schools now play at different stadiums. The peristyle arch entrance to the Coliseum.
The Coliseum served as the site of the field hockey , gymnastics , the show jumping part of the equestrian , and the track and field events along with the opening and closing ceremonies.
Louis, Missouri in only to move back to Los Angeles in The Dodgers played here until Dodger Stadium was completed in time for the season. Even allowing for its temporary status, the Coliseum was extremely ill-suited for baseball, which requires roughly 2. The playing surface was just barely large enough to accommodate a baseball diamond. As a result, foul territory was almost nonexistent down the first base line, but was very expansive down the third base line with a very large backstop for the catcher.
Also, from baseball's point of view, the locker rooms were huge, because they were designed for football not baseball teams. This seemed likely to ensure that there would be many " Chinese home runs ", as such short shots were called at the time, and sportswriters began jokingly referring to the improvised park as "O'Malley's Chinese Theatre"  or "The House that Charlie Chan Built", drawing protests from the Chinese American community in the Los Angeles area.
A ball hit to left would have to clear both screens to be a home run; if it cleared the first screen, it would be a ground-rule double. However, the Dodgers discovered that the state's earthquake safety laws barred construction of a second screen. The first screen was built, however; its cables, towers, wires and girders were in play. In the first week of play during the season , the media's worst preseason fears seemed to be realized when 24 home runs were hit in the Coliseum, three of them by Chicago Cubs outfielder Lee Walls , not especially distinguished as a hitter.
But pitchers soon adapted, throwing outside to right-handed hitters, requiring them to pull the bat hard if they wanted to hit toward left. Perhaps no player took better advantage than Dodgers outfielder Wally Moon , who figured out how to hit high fly balls that dropped almost vertically just behind the screen.
By season's end, he had hit 19 homers, all but 5 of them in the Coliseum. In recognition, such homers were dubbed " Moon Shots. Also, when the expansion Los Angeles Angels joined the American League for , Frick rejected their original request to use the Coliseum as a temporary facility. With a right field corner of only feet, this fell short. Late that season, the screen figured in the National League pennant race. The Braves were playing the Dodgers in the Coliseum on September 15, , and Joe Adcock hit a ball that cleared the screen but hit a steel girder behind it and got stuck in the mesh.
According to the ground rules, this should have been a home run. However, the umpires ruled it a ground-rule double. Then the fans shook the screen, causing the ball to fall into the seats.
The umpires changed the call to a homer, only to change their minds again and rule it a ground-rule double. The game was tied at the end of nine innings and the Dodgers won it in the tenth inning. The Dodgers won the ensuing playoff and went on to win the World Series. The Coliseum during the World Series. Each of the three games of the World Series played there drew over 92, fans, with game 5 drawing 92,, a record unlikely to be seriously threatened anytime soon, given the smaller seating capacities of today's baseball parks.
The Coliseum was also the site of John F. Kennedy's memorable acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. It was during that speech that Kennedy first used the term "the New Frontier ". In , the American Football League 's Los Angeles Chargers played at the Coliseum before relocating to San Diego the next year; the team moved back to its original home in The United States men's national soccer team played its first match as the stadium in , losing to Mexico in a World Cup qualifier.
Largest Gathering in History[ edit ] The largest gathering in the Coliseum's history was a Billy Graham crusade which took place on September 8, with ,  in attendance, noted by the Coliseum's website as an all-time record. With the renovations of , the capacity of the Coliseum was reduced to roughly 93, for future events.
The event was the first motocross race held inside a stadium. Later, in , a documentary was released about the concert. In , Evel Knievel used the entire distance of the stadium to jump 50 stacked cars at the stadium. Knievel launched his motorcycle from atop one end of the Coliseum, jumping the cars in the center of the field, and stopping high atop the other end.
In this capacity, the stadium also is the site of the longest professional American football game in history; a triple-overtime game on June 30, a few weeks before the start of the Summer Olympics between the Express and the Michigan Panthers , which was decided on a yard game-winning touchdown by Mel Gray of the Express, 3: Until , this game marked the only time in the history of pro football that there was more than one kickoff in overtime play in the same game.
The event saw Newport Beach native Bruce Penhall retain the title he had won in front of 92, fans at London's Wembley Stadium in An estimated 40, fans were at the Coliseum to see Penhall retain his title before announcing his retirement from motorcycle speedway to take up an acting role on the NBC drama series CHiPs. Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics , and the Coliseum became the first stadium to host the Summer Olympic Games twice; again serving as the primary track and field venue and site of the opening and closing ceremonies.
Geils Band, and a relatively unknown newcomer called Prince. Tour , with four consecutive concerts on September 27, 29—30 and October 2, These shows were recorded and eight songs from the show of September 30 appear on their box set, entitled Live — U2 played at the stadium on leg 3 of their breakout Joshua Tree tour in with two consecutive nights, November 17 and 18, They later returned on their Pop Mart tour, June 21, Guns N' Roses would later return for four shows in October as the opening act for The Rolling Stones, then again on September 27, on their infamous co-headlining tour with Metallica.
A second show was planned to take place on the 23rd, but was later canceled. Benefit Concert on September 21,