x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

A shrine to sporting moments

The grand old lady has seen headier days. But what the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum does not have in modern glamour, it has in history.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has been home to two Olympics and many of the United States' most illustrious teams.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has been home to two Olympics and many of the United States' most illustrious teams.

The grand old lady has seen headier days. But what the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum does not have in modern glamour, it has in history. Once upon a time, the world gathered there for the Olympics. Twice, in 1932 and 1984, making it the only two-Olympiad stadium on the planet. The cauldron for the Games still stands guard, lit for special occasions. Once upon a time, it was picked as the venue for the first Super Bowl. So that ghost pacing the sideline might be Vince Lombardi, the Green Bay coach.

Once upon a time, the Dodgers called it home, though baseball in the Coliseum was like trying to fit a square peg in an oval hole. The distance down to the left-field wall was a ridiculously short 251 feet. But if there was not enough outfield space, there were plenty of seats, so more than 92,000 fans showed up each day for Games 3, 4 and 5 of the 1959 World Series - a record that will likely never be broken.

Once upon a time, the Rams made it their NFL home. Then the Raiders did. Also UCLA football. Now they are gone, the Dodgers up the freeway to their own ballpark, UCLA to the Rose Bowl, the Rams to St Louis, the Raiders to Oakland. Barring massive refurbishing, no World Series or Super Bowl or Olympiad will come calling again. University of Southern California football games keep the place humming on autumn Saturdays, but what the Coliseum offers most are unparalleled memories.