1996 Summer Olympics
Learn more about 1996 Summer Olympics
|Games of the XXVI Olympiad|
|Host city||Atlanta, Georgia, United States|
|Athletes participating|| 10,320|
(6,797 men, 3,523 women)
|Events||271 in 26 sports|
|Opening ceremony||July 19, 1996|
|Closing ceremony||August 4, 1996|
|Officially opened by||President Bill Clinton|
|Athlete's Oath||Teresa Edwards|
|Judge's Oath||Hobie Billingsley|
|Olympic Torch||Muhammad Ali|
|Stadium||Centennial Olympic Stadium|
The 1996 Summer Olympics, formally known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and informally known as the Centennial Olympics, were held in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Atlanta was selected in September 1990 in Tokyo, Japan, above Athens, Belgrade, Manchester, Melbourne and Toronto.
Some felt Athens should have had the right to host the games because it marked the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic games. The IOC instead voted for Atlanta citing the reasoning behind this decision was that Athens' infrastructure could not be improved enough in time to successfully host the Games. Athens would eventually win the right to host the 2004 Summer Olympics in 1997. Though there were claims that executives in Atlanta had bribed the IOC officials, these were never substantiated though they prompted other winning bids from Nagano, Sydney, and Salt Lake City to be more carefully scrutinized.
Though the Games made a financial profit, it was not without issues. Numerous observers considered the Games "over commercialized". Problems of traffic congestion sometimes made travel between venues difficult. More seriously, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing of July 27, 1996, killed spectator Alice Hawthorne and wounded 111 others, and elicited the death of Melih Uzunyol by heart attack. Even with the problems, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said, in his closing speech, "Well done, Atlanta", although did not say they had been the best Olympics yet, which he said at every other Olympic closing ceremony while he was the IOC's president.
 Effect on the city
The games had a profound impact on the city of Atlanta and many in the Atlanta metro area consider the games to be instrumental in transforming Atlanta into the more modern city it has become since. Examples of this are the mid-rise dormitories built for the Olympic village which became the first residential housing for Georgia State University and Turner Field which was a modification of the original Centennial Olympic Stadium. The Atlanta Braves baseball team now makes it home at one of the stadiums built for the games. Also Centennial Olympic Park was built for the events and is still in use. It is interesting to note that Atlanta used no public money to finance the games, which cost US$1.8 billion to host. It was the first city in Olympic history to solely use ticket sales, commercial endorsements and advertising, and private money to fund the hosting of an Olympic games. The consequence of this, however, was that many feel that the games in Atlanta were over-commercialized and were less exciting and sensational than previous games.
 Songs and themes
The Olympiad's official theme, Summon the Heroes, was written by John Williams, making it the third Olympiad for which he has composed. The song "The Power of the Dream", composed by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and David Foster, with words by Linda Thompson was performed in the opening ceremony by Céline Dion accompanied by Foster and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Centennial Choir. Gladys Knight sung "Georgia on My Mind", Georgia's official state song, at the opening ceremony. The closing ceremony featured Gloria Estefan singing "Reach", the official theme song of the 1996 Olympics.
- Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies of the games.
- Slovene gymnast Leon Štukelj arises at the opening ceremony as one of the oldest living sportsmen in the world.
- Naim Süleymanoğlu becomes the first weightlifter to win three gold medals.
- USA Dream Team II cruise to another gold medal win.
- Michael Johnson wins gold in both the 200 m and 400 m, setting a new world record of 19.32 seconds in the 200 m.
- Donovan Bailey of Canada wins the men's 100 m, setting a new world record of 9.84 seconds at that time.
- Marie-José Perec equals Johnson's performance, although without a world record, by winning the rare 200 m/400 m double.
- At the age of 35 Carl Lewis takes his 4th long jump gold medal, his 9th in all.
- Softball, beach volleyball and mountainbiking debut on the Olympic programme, together with women's football (soccer) and lightweight rowing.
- Cycling professionals were admitted to the Olympics, with five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain winning the inaugural individual time trial event.
- Michelle Smith of Ireland wins three gold medals and a bronze in swimming, but her victories are overshadowed by doping allegations, which are later reinforced as she is banned after failing a test in 1998.
- Amy Van Dyken wins four gold medals in the Olympic swimming pool, the first American woman to win four titles in a single Olympics.
- A record 197 nations, all current IOC member nations, take part, with a record 79 of them winning at least one medal.
- Five athletes were disqualified for using banned drugs. A few more were reinstated since the drug they took had been declared illegal only a week before the Olympics.
- Kerri Strug becomes an American heroine after bringing victory to the American female gymnastics team in spite of having to perform with an injury in the final event. Her gymnastics team, popularly known as the "Magnificent Seven", also includes Shannon Miller, Amy Chow, Jaycie Phelps, Amanda Borden, Dominique Dawes and Dominique Moceanu.
- Andre Agassi wins the gold medal in the tennis event. This helps him become the first male player to ever win the career Golden Slam. (completes his Career Grand Slam in 1999 when he wins the French Open singles title).
- Kurt Angle of the United States won the gold medal in 100 kg (220 lb) freestyle wrestling while suffering a fractured neck. Angle would later go on to fame in Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment, winning the WWE Championship on four different occasions and the World Heavyweight Championship on two occasion as to date making him a six time world champion. He is widely regarded as one of the best athletes to ever participate in pro wrestling.
- Deng Yaping of China wins two gold medals in Women singles and doubles of table tennis. She is also the winner of these two titles in 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
- For the first time Olympic medals were won by the athletes from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burundi, Ecuador, Georgia, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mozambique, Slovakia, Tonga, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
- Lee Lai Shan won a gold medal in sailing, the first and only gold medal that Hong Kong has ever won.
- Centennial Olympic Stadium (now Turner Field)
- Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (demolished 1997)
- The Omni (Demolished 1997 and replaced by Philips Arena in 1999.)
- Georgia Dome
- Georgia International Horse Park (Conyers, Georgia)
- Lake Lanier (Near Gainesville, Georgia)
- Georgia World Congress Center
- Georgia State University
- Georgia Tech Aquatic Center
- Sanford Stadium (Athens, Georgia)
- Savannah River (at Savannah, Georgia)
- Stone Mountain Tennis Center (at Stone Mountain, Georgia)
- Legion Field (Birmingham, Alabama) - Soccer
 Medals awarded
See the medal winners, ordered by sport:
 Participating nations
A total of 197 nations were represented at the 1996 Games.
 Medal count
These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games:
|1||Image:Flag of the United States.svg United States (host nation)||44||32||25||101|
|2||Image:Flag of Russia (bordered).svg Russia||26||21||16||63|
|3||Image:Flag of Germany.svg Germany||20||18||27||65|
|4||Image:Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China||16||22||12||50|
|5||Image:Flag of France.svg France||15||7||15||37|
|6||Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy||13||10||12||35|
|7||Image:Flag of Australia.svg Australia||9||9||23||41|
|8||Image:Flag of Cuba.svg Cuba||9||8||8||25|
|9||Image:Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine||9||2||12||23|
|10||Image:Flag of South Korea (bordered).svg South Korea||7||15||5||27|
 Leading medal winners
|Men's leading medal winners at the Atlanta games|
|Pos||Athlete's name||Sport / discipline||Gold||Silver||Bronze||Total|
|1||Image:Flag of Russia (bordered).svg Alexei Nemov (RUS)||Gymnastics||2||1||3||6|
|2||Image:Flag of the United States.svg Gary Hall Jr. (USA)||Swimming||2||2||0||4|
|Image:Flag of Russia (bordered).svg Aleksandr Popov (RUS)||Swimming||2||2||0||4|
|4||Image:Flag of the United States.svg Josh Davis (USA)||Swimming||3||0||0||3|
|5||Image:Flag of Russia (bordered).svg Denis Pankratov (RUS)||Swimming||2||1||0||3|
|6||Image:Flag of Australia.svg Daniel Kowalski (AUS)||Swimming||0||1||2||3|
|7||Image:Flag of Belarus.svg Vitaly Scherbo (BLR)||Gymnastics||0||0||3||3|
 See also
 Olympics with significant criminal incidents
- 1972 Summer Olympics – Munich, Bavaria, West Germany — Munich massacre
- 1996 Summer Olympics – Atlanta, Georgia, USA — Centennial Olympic Park bombing
 External links
Olympic Games}"> |
| Sports • Medal counts • NOCs|
Medalists • Symbols
| Summer Games: 1896, 1900, 1904, 19061, 1908, 1912, (1916)2, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, (1940)2, (1944)2, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024|
|Winter Games: 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, (1940)2, (1944)2, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022|
|Athens 2004 — Turin 2006 — Beijing 2008 — Vancouver 2010 — London 2012|
1861 Atlanta in the Civil War | 1864 Atlanta Campaign | 1868 Georgia State Capitol moved | 1881 International Cotton Exposition | 1888 Coca-Cola invented | 1890 Grady Memorial Hospital opens | 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition | 1915 Leo Frank lynching | 1926 Candler Field opens | 1935 Techwood Homes opens | 1946 CDC opens | 1960s American civil rights movement | 1979 MARTA opens | 1980 Hartsfield Airport opens | 1988 Democratic National Convention | 1989 Underground Atlanta reopens | 1994 Super Bowl XXVIII | 1996 Centennial Olympics | 2000 Super Bowl XXXIV
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