Nascar BUSCH Light CLASH at the Coliseum
A historic weekend in an epic location, NASCAR kicked off the start of the season with the BUSCH Light CLASH at the Coliseum. The event included a fan fest on Saturday, preliminary heats, and some incredible entertainment. The competition was fierce with 36 drivers vying for 23 spots.
Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull, dazzled the sold-out crowd with his mega-hits and mega energy to kick off the main event. The performance was followed by a stunning fly-over featuring a C-17 with fireworks.
Racers powered through 150 laps, maneuvering through the ¼ mile track with bursts of speed. At the 75 lap mark, the crowd was treated to a performance by legend Ice Cube. The race included a lot of action, lead changes, spin-outs, and damaged vehicles.
When the checkered flag flew, Joey Logano edged out Kyle Busch to be crowned winner of the Clash at the Coliseum.
Super Bowl VII: Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Redskins
Super Bowl VII was played between the American Football Conference champion Miami Dolphins, and the National Football Conference champion Washington Redskins. This was the second Super Bowl played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the first being Super Bowl I. The Dolphins won with a final score of 14-7. The season was a special season for the Dolphins because they had a completely undefeated perfect season. They are still the only team in modern NFL history to go completely undefeated. The Dolphin’s are also the only team to win a Super Bowl, despite being shut out in the second half. On defense, the Dolphin’s priority was stopping Larry Brown.
The halftime show featured Woody Herman and the Michigan Marching Band, along with the Citrus College Singers and Andy Williams. The pregame show featured the crew of Apollo 17, who were the final humans to leave the moon one month earlier. The game was also the warmest super bowl to date, with a kick-off temperature of 84°F.
National Football League Pro Bowl Game
The 1952 Pro Bowl Game was the NFL’s second annual all-star game, and it was hosted at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The game was an exhibition in order to showcase the League’s most talented players from the season prior. The event attracted roughly 19,400 fans to the Coliseum. The National Conference squad defeated the American Conference with a final score of 30-13.
The National Conference was coached by Joe Stydahar, the head coach for the LA Rams. The American Conference team was led by Bill Brown, the coach for the Cleveland Browns. Dan Towler of the Los Angeles Rams, who was called the “closest thing the NFL has ever produced to an unstoppable ball carrier,” won MVP of the game. Each winner on the National’s team took away $600, while the members of the losing American team took away $500 each.
L.A. Dons Vs. Brooklyn Dodgers
On September 13th, 1946 the LA Dons played the Brooklyn Dodgers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This was the Dons first home game played at the Memorial Coliseum. The LA Dons were coached by Dudley DeGroot and beat the Dodgers 20-14, drawing in around 19,500 attendees.
The points for the LA Dons were scored by Bud Nygren, who scored the first points on a touchdown from Charlie O’Rourke, as well as Andy Marefos and Chuck Fenenbock. This was the LA Dons inaugural season in the eight team All American Football Conference. Overall, the Dons finished this season 7-5-2, ending up third in the West division and failing to qualify for playoffs.
LA Rams vs. Washington Redskins: Los Angeles Times Charity Game
On September 6th, 1946, the Los Angeles Times hosted the 1st Annual All Charity Football Game. The game drew in over 68,000 attendees and raised a sum of nearly $100,000. The game took place at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Los Angeles Rams (World Champions) played the Washington Redskins (Eastern Champions). This was the first Rams home game played in L.A., as the team had just moved from Cleveland after winning the 1945 NFL Championship game. The team was well known for its inclusion of two African American players, Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, who were the first AFrican American players since the 1933 season.
Regular tickets for the Los Angeles Times Charity Game were being sold for around three dollars. The Charity Game was a preseason game against the LA Rams rival team, the Redskins, which would be followed by five home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum that season.
Manchester City vs. Real Madrid
The International Champion’s Cup Sets Unbreakable Attendance Record at 93,098.
With 93,098 tickets purchased for last night’s international soccer match between Manchester City and Real Madrid FC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, not only was it the largest crowd to witness a soccer match in the 94-year history of the stadium, it establishes a record that may never be broken. January 2018, the Coliseum is scheduled to undergo a $270M renovation which will ultimately reduce capacity to approximately 78,500. Manchester City defeated Real Madrid with a final score of 4-1.
The previous attendance record for a Coliseum soccer match was 92,650 for the August 6, 2006, doubleheader featuring Chivas de Guadalajara vs. FC Barcelona and Chivas USA vs. New England Revolution.
Dynamite!! USA at the Coliseum
Dynamite!! USA, a mixed martial arts (MMA) event, took place at the Coliseum. In front of a crowd of 23,267, the event featured the debut of former professional wrestler Brock Lesnar, and the anticipated rematch between Royce Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba. The show also featured the MMA debut of NFL wide receiver Johnnie Morton. The event was aired in two parts in the United States, with three preliminary bouts airing on Showtime, and a main fight card shown on pay-per-view.
USA vs. El Salvador
In front of a crowd of 14,671 fans, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) took on El Salvador at the Coliseum in the first of their preparatory games for the 1998 World Cup in France.
Starting the game off, U.S. standout Joe-Max Moore scored the first goal, screening out El Salvador’s goalkeeper, Alvaro Sanchez, in the 3rd minute. The game was tied up in the 59th with a goal by El Salvador’s Oscar Lazo, but the celebration was brief. U.S. player Eric Wynalda scored in the 61st, followed again by a second goal by Moore in the 88th, which sealed the United States a victory with a final score of 3-1.
The USMNT represents the United States in international soccer, competing in CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) as well as qualifying for all seven World Cups held since 1990.
Pro Bowl All-Star Game
The 1979 Pro Bowl was the NFL’s 29th annual all-star game, and featured the most outstanding performers from the 1978 season. On Monday, January 29, 1979, before a crowd of 38,333, the NFC faced off against the AFC. Bum Phillips of the Houston Oilers led the AFC team against the NFC team coached by the Los Angeles Rams head coach Ray Malavasi. The NFC came away with the win, 13-7, ending what would be the last Pro Bowl to be played in Los Angeles.
Interesting fact: Leading the offense that day for the AFC was one of football’s brightest stars, The Pittsburgh Steelers Lynn Swann. Swann has one of the most exemplary careers in the game (four-time Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP, three-time Pro Bowl player, NFL Man of the Year 1981, just to name a few achievements). We are proud to say that Lynn Swann is currently the Athletic Director here at the University of Southern California (Fight on!).
Knievel Sets Record
February 18, 1973, motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel performed in front of a crowd of 35,000, successfully leaping over 50 crushed cars on the field. This jump provided Knievel with his largest audience to date, including television coverage on the ABC “Wide World of Sports” broadcast.
Throughout his 25 year career, Knievel made the majority of his jumps on the Harley-Davidson XR-750 motorcycle,
wearing a now instantly recognizable jumpsuit designed to celebrate and inspire patriotism. Knievel sported several different variations of the “stars and bars” theme throughout his career, which drew comparisons to another American icon, Elvis Presley.
In a rather charming bit of irony, Knievel also filmed a motorcycle safety film shot contemporaneously at the Coliseum entitled “Not So Easy,” narrated by Peter Fonda, who had himself gained iconic status in biker culture as writer and star of the 1969 blockbuster “Easy Rider.”
Superbowl of Motocross
Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the “Superbowl of Motocross”!
The first ever motocross event to be held inside of a stadium took place July 8, 1972 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in front of a crowd of 29,290.
Many people thought the idea was crazy- to build a man-made course and then tear it down all within just a week- however the event was a resounding success, and eventually went on to become the largest motocross event series in the U.S. California locals got the privilege of watching both European and American racers compete in their backyard, with some of the best contestants as young as sixteen!
It has been said that the 1972 Superbowl of Motocross event set the stage for the most popular form of motorcycle racing, and will be remembered as the night that motocross became a household word.
Blassie vs. Tolos
The first outdoor wrestling match since 1952 took place at the Coliseum. The 11-match event, promoted by the Olympic Boxing and Wrestling Club, sold tickets for just $5, and featured headliners Freddie Blassie and John Tolos. The promoters ramped up anticipation (and ticket sales) by having Blassie and Tolos fight every Saturday night on Channel 13’s “Wrestling Theatre”, encouraging the wrestlers to play up their rivalry with taunts and other theatrics that would soon become synonymous with the sport. In the end, in front of a crowd of 17,847, Blassie triumphed over Tolos, making it one of the greatest show biz build-ups in televised wrestling history.
Patterson vs. Quarry
Boxers Floyd Patterson and Jerry Quarry fought in a heavyweight bout before a crowd of 17,863 at the Coliseum. Patterson was rated the #4 contender in the world at this time and was itching to get another title shot at Mohammed Ali. The younger and less experienced fighter, Floyd came in to the match with a record of 46-5, including 35 knockouts.
The match went a full 10-rounds, and ended in a draw.
Coliseum Hosts First Super Bowl
The Coliseum celebrates the 50th Anniversary of hosting the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, more popularly known as Super Bowl I, which took place on January 15, 1967. The National Football League champion Green Bay Packers faced off against the American Football League champion Kansas City Chiefs in front of a crowd of 63,036, as well as 50 million viewers at home on both the
NBC and CBS television networks.
The Packers emerged victorious, 35-10, in a game that featured more than a dozen future Hall of Famers: Vince Lombardi, Herb Adderley, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung, Henry Jordan, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Willie Wood, Hank Stram, Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Len Dawson, and Emmitt Thomas.
As would become synonymous with the Super Bowl’s history of memorable half-time shows, two men from Bell Aerosystems strapped on “jetpacks” for a demonstration inside the stadium, landing on the field near the 50 yard line.
Chargers Take on Titans
On August 6, 1960, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a new football team called the Los Angeles Chargers took on the New York Titans in their first game for the AFL. The Chargers won, 27-7, in front of a crowd of 27,778.
Nearly 57 years later, the team has announced today that they will be playing their 2017 season at the StubHub Center in Carson.
L.A. Greets Dodgers: 90,000 Fans Expected
The Brooklyn Dodgers made their first appearance as the resident team of Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In front of a crowd of 78,672, the Dodgers took on the San Francisco Giants, winning 6-5. Despite their move to the west coast, in their first season the Dodgers attracted over 1.85 million fans and dominated the National League, winning five pennants (1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959) and two World Championships (1955 and 1959).
Sheriff’s Annual Show
Starring Roy Rogers, the Sheriff’s Championship Rodeo took place at the Coliseum in front of a record- breaking crowd of 100,857. With a theme of “Gold Rush Days”, the Rodeo ran annually from 1945 until 1960, and was sponsored by the Sheriffs’ Relief Association of Los Angeles County.
Dale Evans, “Queen of the Westerns”, and Ann Sheridan, “Queen of the Rodeo”, shared the spotlight as they reigned over activities that afternoon. Featuring a parade of more than 1,000 western horsemen, the performers showcased a variety of western songs, as well as rope spinners and twirlers, clowns and comedy bull fighters showing off in a mock bull fight.
The festivities ended with the most spectacular show of all, a horse drill called “Golden Horse Quadrille”, which consisted of a very well-executed square dance on horseback by eight cowboys and cowgirls, and if that weren’t enough, Lt. Dick Evans commanded a motorcycle drill by the Los Angeles Police Department’s American Legion Police Post 381.
Jackie Robinson Makes Debut with Dodgers
Jackie Robinson Day is a traditional event which occurs annually in Major League Baseball, commemorating the day Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, and becoming the first African American to play in the major leagues.
Robinson competed at the Coliseum while he was a student athlete at UCLA, lettering in baseball, football, basketball, and track & field. Throughout his career, he was also named Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and became a six-time all-star.
In 1962, Robinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and in 1984, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1997, the MLB retired his jersey number #42, and in 2005, Jackie Robinson was forever memorialized as part of the Coliseum’s legacy with a plaque in our Court of Honor.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Welcomes Thrill Circus
The Lt. Dick Ryan International Rodeo and Thrill Circus came to visit the Coliseum, a combination rodeo, circus and stunt show. This event, which also included midget and motorbike demonstrations, was planned to bring to the people the real spirit of the old west with action, thrills, cowboys and horses. A portion of the proceeds went towards rehabilitating blinded servicemen.
Lt. Ryan was the United States Army’s rodeo expert, hosting several rodeos to entertain the troops during World War II. For this event, he hired the widow of a fighter pilot, Marjorie Bong, to serve as “Queen of the Rodeo”, however, the real star of the show was a horse named Hatsushimo. Before a crowd of 32,025, Hatsushimo, the universal symbol of freedom, paraded through the stadium to the delight of all in attendance.
In honor of National Army Day, which is celebrated in the U.S. on April 6, we thank and honor our troops for their service & sacrifice.
2nd Annual Southern California Ski Jump Competition
A ski jump competition took place inside of the Coliseum. Known as the “golden age” of this sport, thanks in part to the excitement of the 1932 Winter Olympics, engineers used snow machines and crushed ice to recreate the elements. These competitions were also held in Berkeley, the Hollywood Bowl, and the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island.
Norwegian Ice Queen
Today marks the 81st anniversary of the “Midsummer Ice Skating Carnival” held at the Coliseum. With tickets selling for only 30 cents, this was the first time that an ice skating exhibition was held at an outdoor football stadium. Headlining the event was world-famous figure skater, Olympian, and Hollywood actress, Sonja Heine. Known as the “Norwegian Ice Queen”, Heine has been credited with putting the sport of figure skating on the map.
Paavo Nurmi: World’s Greatest Distance Runner
Paavo Nurmi, arguably the world’s greatest distance runner, held a track meet at the Coliseum. With over 500 athletes competing, many of them recent Olympians, the “Flying Finn” from Finland was still the clear star attraction, racing against American Lloyd Hahn to try and break the world record in the mile & a half race, as well as other exhibition events against local Native American tribes from California. One of the most impressive skills Nurmi held was not just his speed, but that he was one of the rare runners who could adjust his pace to a variety of different races, from the 1500m to the 10,000m — even competing in the 3000m steeplechase!
Throughout the course of his career, Nurmi set 22 world records, and won nine gold & three silver medals in his various track & field events at the Olympics (1920, 1924 and 1928). Nurmi, who rarely ran without a stopwatch in his hand, has been credited for introducing the “even pace” strategy and analytic approach to running, as well as for making running a major international sport.
“Bull” Montana vs. Jack Dempsey
In the early 1920s, Luigi Montagna, better known as “Bull” Montana, often wrestled with his friend Jack Dempsey, a world champion fighter, prior to some of Dempsey’s larger fights to help entertain the press and spectators. The duo teamed for a 1925 special exhibition in connection with the U.S. battle fleet’s athletic day at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The exhibition featured men and women champions in a various sports, and the crowd was filled with officers and enlisted men within the armed forces who were being honored. According to wrestling historian, J. Michael Kenyon: “The two celluloid artists attacked each other with convincing fury, scorning custard pies and other studio weapons, and battling with their bare hands. Dempsey finally heaved the Bull through the ropes after ten minutes of what was called wrestling and was conceded the victory.”
Dempsey continued to box in exhibition matches until 1940, but he was never a serious contender again. He became a successful restaurateur in New York City and remained a popular figure until his death in 1983. As for Montana, he continued playing movie bits into the 1940s. He died on January 24, 1950 in Los Angeles, California.