Oh, What a Party It Was

Beforehand, it was uncool to care: the world's quadrennial white elephant was lumbering toward Tinseltown, and so what? And besides, the Russians weren't coming; the Russians weren't coming. But by the time the great Rafer Johnson made it up the Coliseum's endless stairs, cynicism was lifting like those white balloons with the funny red and blue tails. The Games were going to be grand after all. For two glorious weeks, Americans sat transfixed in front of their TV sets, thrilling to heroes they had never heard of a month earlier. The images that flickered across the screen did not die but...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!