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The 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Calif. marked a return for America to global competition after then-President Ronald Reagan banned the county from participating in Russia’s 1980 games. A collective of Black track and field stars set new athletic marks and collected plenty of gold medals during the 1984 games.

Birmingham, Ala. standout Carl Lewis made his debut, winning four gold medals in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, 4×100 relay, and the long jump events, tying Jesse Owens‘ 1936 performance in Berlin.

Valerie Brisco-Hooks set a record by becoming the first Olympian to win the 200 and 400-meter dash events Brisco-Hooks went on to win three gold medals overall. Despite her achievement, Brisco-Hooks was overshadowed by gold medal-winning gymnast, Mary Lou Retton. Brisco-Hooks did appear on an episode of the popular NBC sitcom,The Cosby Show, in 1986. Today, the Greenwood, Miss. Native coaches at West Los Angeles College.

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