1996 Summer Olympics

Last updated

Games of the XXVI Olympiad
1996 Summer Olympics logo.svg
Host city Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
MottoThe Celebration of the Century
Athletes10,320 (6,797 men, 3,523 women)
Events271 in 26 sports (37 disciplines)
Opening July 19
Closing August 4
Opened by
Stadium Centennial Olympic Stadium
Barcelona 1992 Sydney 2000
Lillehammer 1994 Nagano 1998

The 1996 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad, commonly known as Atlanta 1996, and also referred to as the Centennial Olympic Games, [2] [3] [4] was an international multi-sport event held from July 19 to August 4, 1996, in Atlanta, Georgia. The fourth Summer Olympics to be hosted by the United States, these Games marked the centennial of the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens—the inaugural edition of the modern Olympic Games. This was the first Summer Olympics since 1924 to be held in a different year from a Winter Olympics, under a new IOC practice implemented in 1994 to hold the Summer and Winter Games in alternating, even-numbered years.


More than 10,000 athletes from 197 National Olympic Committees competed in 26 sports, including the Olympic debuts of beach volleyball, mountain biking, and softball, as well as the new disciplines of lightweight rowing, women's fencing, a team rhythmic gymnastics event, and women's association football. A total of 24 countries made their Summer Olympic debuts in Atlanta, including 11 former Soviet republics participating for the first time as independent nations. With a total of 101 medals, the United States topped the medal table for the first time since 1984 (and for the first time since 1968 in a non-boycotted Summer Olympics), also winning the most gold (44) and silver (32) medals out of all the participating nations. Notable performances during the competition included those of: Andre Agassi, who became the first men's singles tennis player to combine a career Grand Slam with an Olympic gold medal; Donovan Bailey, who set a new world record of 9.84 for the men's 100 metres; and Lilia Podkopayeva, who became the second gymnast to win an individual event gold medal after winning the all-around title in the same Olympics.

The festivities were marred by violence on July 27, when pipe bombs were detonated at Centennial Olympic Park—a downtown park built to serve as a public focal point for the Games' festivities—killing two and injuring 111. Some years later, Eric Rudolph confessed to the bombing and a series of related terrorist attacks and was sentenced to life in prison.

The Games turned a profit, helped by record revenue from sponsorship deals and broadcast rights, and a reliance on private funding, among other factors. There was some criticism of the apparent over-commercialization of the Games, and other issues were raised by European officials, such as the availability of food and transport. The event had a lasting impact on the city: Centennial Olympic Park led a revitalization of Atlanta's downtown area and has served as a symbol of the Games' legacy; the Olympic Village buildings have since been used as residential housing for area universities, and the Centennial Olympic Stadium has been re-developed twice since the Games—first as the Turner Field baseball stadium, and then as the Center Parc college football stadium.

The 1996 Summer Olympics were succeeded by the 1996 Summer Paralympics which commenced on August 16, 1996.

Bidding process

Atlanta was selected on September 18, 1990, in Tokyo, Japan, over Athens, Belgrade, Manchester, Melbourne, and Toronto at the 96th IOC Session. The city entered the competition as a dark horse, being up against stiff competition. [5] The US media also criticized it as a second-tier city and complained of Georgia's Confederate history. However, the IOC Evaluation Commission ranked Atlanta's infrastructure and facilities the highest, while IOC members said that it could guarantee large television revenues similar to the success of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. [6] Additionally, former US ambassador to the UN and Atlanta mayor Andrew Jackson Young touted Atlanta's civil rights history and reputation for racial harmony. Young also wanted to showcase a reformed American South. The strong economy of Atlanta and improved race relations in the South helped to impress the IOC officials. [7] The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) also proposed a substantial revenue-sharing with the IOC, USOC, and other NOCs. [7] Atlanta's main rivals were Toronto, whose front-running bid that began in 1986 had chances to succeed after Canada had held a successful 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and Melbourne, Australia, who hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and after Brisbane, Australia's failed bid for the 1992 games (which were awarded to Barcelona) and prior to Sydney, Australia's successful 2000 Summer Olympics bid. This would be Toronto's fourth failed attempt since 1960 (tried in 1960, 1964, and 1976, but defeated by Rome, Tokyo and Montreal). [8]

Greece, the home of the ancient and first modern Olympics, was considered by many observers the "natural choice" for the Centennial Games. [6] [7] However, Athens bid chairman Spyros Metaxa demanded that it be named as the site of the Olympics because of its "historical right due to its history", which may have caused resentment among delegates. Furthermore, the Athens bid was described as "arrogant and poorly prepared", being regarded as "not being up to the task of coping with the modern and risk-prone extravaganza" of the current Games. Athens faced numerous obstacles, including "political instability, potential security problems, air pollution, traffic congestion and the fact that it would have to spend about US$3 billion to improve its infrastructure of airports, roads, rail lines and other amenities". [6] [9] [10] Athens lost its bid to host the games to Atlanta in 1990, but was later awarded the 2004 Summer Olympics in September 1997.

1996 Summer Olympics bidding results [11]
CityNOC NameRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5
Atlanta Flag of the United States.svg  United States 1920263451
Athens Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 2323263035
Toronto Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 14171822
Melbourne Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 122116
Manchester Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 115
Belgrade Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  SFR Yugoslavia [12] 7

Development and preparation


The total cost of the 1996 Summer Olympics was estimated to be around US$1.7 billion. [13] The venues and the Games themselves were funded entirely via private investment, [14] and the only public funding came from the U.S. government for security, and around $500 million of public money used on physical public infrastructure including streetscaping, road improvements, Centennial Olympic Park (alongside $75 million in private funding), expansion of the airport, improvements in public transportation, and redevelopment of public housing projects. [15] $420 million worth of tickets were sold, sale of sponsorship rights accounted for $540 million, and sale of the domestic broadcast rights to NBC accounted for $456 million. In total, the Games turned a profit of $19 million. [16] [13]

The cost for Atlanta 1996 compares with costs of $4.6 billion for Rio 2016, $40–44 billion for Beijing 2008, and $51 billion for Sochi 2014 (the most expensive Olympics in history). The average cost for the Summer Games since 1960 is $5.2 billion. Unlike Atlanta 1996, Beijing and Sochi were primarily funded by their respective governments. [17]

Venues and infrastructure

The Centennial Olympic Stadium Athletics venue during the 1996 Paralympic Games.jpg
The Centennial Olympic Stadium
The Georgia Dome NewGeorgiaDome.JPG
The Georgia Dome
The Alexander Memorial Coliseum Alexander Memorial Coliseum SE view.jpg
The Alexander Memorial Coliseum

Events of the 1996 Games were held in a variety of areas. A number were held within the Olympic Ring, a 3 mi (4.8 km) circle from the center of Atlanta. Others were held at Stone Mountain, about 20 miles (32 km) outside of the city. To broaden ticket sales, other events, such as Association football (soccer), were staged in various cities in the Southeast. [18] [19]


Izzy, the mascot of the 1996 Olympics Izzy (Atlanta 1996).png
Izzy, the mascot of the 1996 Olympics

The Olympiad's official theme, "Summon the Heroes", was written by John Williams, making it the third Olympiad at that point for which he had composed (official composer 1984; NBC's coverage composer 1988). The opening ceremony featured Céline Dion singing "The Power of the Dream", the official theme song of the 1996 Olympics. The mascot for the Olympiad was an abstract, animated character named Izzy. In contrast to the standing tradition of mascots of national or regional significance in the city hosting the Olympiad, Izzy was an amorphous, fantasy figure. Atlanta's Olympic slogan "Come Celebrate Our Dream" was written by Jack Arogeti, a Managing Director at McCann-Erickson in Atlanta at the time. The slogan was selected from more than 5,000 [20] submitted by the public to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. Billy Payne noted that Jack "captured the spirit and our true motivation for the Olympic games." [21]

The city of Savannah, Georgia (host of the yachting events) held its own local festivities, including a local cauldron lighting event on the first day of the Games (headlined by a performance by country musician Trisha Yearwood). [22]

The syndicated game show Wheel of Fortune taped three weeks of Olympics-themed episodes from the Fox Theater in Atlanta for broadcast in April, May and July 1996, which included prizes from the Games' official sponsors. [23] [24] A video game featuring the Games' mascot, Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings , was also released. [25]


All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4); the other, Birmingham, Alabama uses Central Daylight Time (UTC-5)
  Opening ceremony  Event competitions  Event finals  Closing ceremony
1996 Summer Olympics Calendar of Events



Field hockey

Modern pentathlon


Synchronized swimming
Table tennis
Water polo

Total gold medals1017121714131320281971814213018


Opening ceremony

The ceremony began with a 60-second countdown, which included footage from all of the previous Olympic Games at twenty-two seconds. There was then a flashback to the closing ceremony of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, showing the then president of the IOC, Juan Antonio Samaranch, inviting the athletes to compete in Atlanta in 1996. Then, spirits ascended in the northwest corner of the stadium, each representing one of the colors in the Olympic rings. The spirits called the tribes of the world which, after mixed percussion, formed the Olympic rings while the youth of Atlanta formed the number 100. Famed film score composer John Williams wrote the official overture for the 1996 Olympics, called "Summon the Heroes"; this was his second overture for Olympic games, the first being "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" written for the 1984 Summer Olympics. Céline Dion performed David Foster's official 1996 Olympics song "The Power of the Dream", accompanied by Foster on the piano, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Centennial Choir (comprising Morehouse College Glee Club, Spelman College Glee Club and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus). Gladys Knight sang Georgia's official state song "Georgia on My Mind"

There was a showcase entitled "Welcome To The World", featuring cheerleaders, Chevrolet pick-up trucks, marching bands, and steppers, which highlighted the American youth and a typical Saturday college football game in the South, including the wave commonly produced by spectators in sporting events around the world. There was another showcase entitled "Summertime" which focused on Atlanta and the Old South, emphasizing its beauty, spirit, music, history, culture, and rebirth after the American Civil War. The ceremony also featured a memorable dance tribute to the athletes and to the goddesses of victory of the ancient Greek Olympics, using silhouette imagery. The accompanying music, "The Tradition of the Games", was composed by Basil Poledouris. [26]

Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic cauldron and later received a replacement gold medal for his boxing victory in the 1960 Summer Olympics. For the torch ceremony, more than 10,000 Olympic torches were manufactured by the American Meter Company and electroplated by Erie Plating Company. Each torch weighed about 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) and was made primarily of aluminum, with a Georgia pecan wood handle and gold ornamentation. [27] [28]

Closing ceremony


The 1996 Summer Olympic programme featured 271 events in 26 sports. Softball, beach volleyball and mountain biking debuted on the Olympic program, together with women's football, lightweight rowing, women's fencing, and a team rhythmic gymnastics event.

Gold medal from the 1996 Summer Games Atlanta 96 Gold - Copy.jpg
Gold medal from the 1996 Summer Games

In women's gymnastics, Ukrainian Lilia Podkopayeva became the all-around Olympic champion. Podkopayeva also won a second gold medal in the floor exercise final and a silver on the beam – becoming the only female gymnast since Nadia Comăneci to win an individual event gold after winning the all-around title in the same Olympics. Kerri Strug of the United States women's gymnastics team vaulted with an injured ankle and landed on one foot, winning the first women's team gold medal for the US. Shannon Miller won the gold medal on the balance beam event, the first time an American gymnast had won an individual gold medal in non-boycotted Olympic games. The Spanish team won the first gold medal in the new competition of women's rhythmic group all-around. The team was formed by Estela Giménez, Marta Baldó, Nuria Cabanillas, Lorena Guréndez, Estíbaliz Martínez and Tania Lamarca.

Amy Van Dyken won four gold medals in the Olympic swimming pool, the first American woman to win four titles in a single Olympiad. Penny Heyns, swimmer of South Africa, won the gold medals in both the 100 metres and 200 metres breaststroke events. Michelle Smith of Ireland won three gold medals and a bronze in swimming. She remains her nation's most decorated Olympian. However, her victories were overshadowed by doping allegations even though she did not test positive in 1996. She received a four-year suspension in 1998 for tampering with a urine sample, though her medals and records were allowed to stand.

Women's 100 m hurdles at the Olympic stadium JO Atlanta 1996 - Stade.jpg
Women's 100 m hurdles at the Olympic stadium

In track and field, Donovan Bailey of Canada won the men's 100 m, setting a new world record of 9.84 seconds at that time. He also anchored his team's gold in the 4 × 100 m relay. Michael Johnson won gold in both the 200 m and 400 m, setting a new world record of 19.32 seconds in the 200 m. Marie-José Pérec equaled Johnson's performance, although without a world record, by winning the rare 200 m/400 m double. Carl Lewis won his 4th long jump gold medal at the age of 35.

In tennis, Andre Agassi won the gold medal, which would eventually make him the first man and second singles player overall (after his eventual wife, Steffi Graf) to win the career Golden Slam, which consists of an Olympic gold medal and victories in the singles tournaments held at professional tennis' four major events (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open).

The Olympic flag waves at the 1996 games JO Atlanta 1996 - Drapeau.jpg
The Olympic flag waves at the 1996 games

There were a series of national firsts realized during the Games. Deon Hemmings became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal for Jamaica and the English-speaking West Indies. Lee Lai Shan won a gold medal in sailing, the only Olympic medal that Hong Kong ever won as a British colony (1842–1997). This meant that for the only time, the colonial flag of Hong Kong was raised to the accompaniment of the British national anthem "God Save the Queen", as Hong Kong's sovereignty was later transferred to China in 1997. The US women's soccer team won the gold medal in the first-ever women's football event. For the first time, Olympic medals were won by athletes from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burundi, Ecuador, Georgia, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mozambique, Slovakia, Tonga, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Another first in Atlanta was that this was the first Summer Olympics ever that not a single nation swept all three medals in a single event.


Medal count

These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1996 Games.

  *   Host nation (United States)

1Flag of the United States.svg  United States*443225101
2Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 26211663
3Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 20182765
4Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 16221250
5Flag of France.svg  France 1571537
6Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 13101235
7Flag of Australia.svg  Australia 992341
8Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba 98825
9Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 921223
10Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg  South Korea 715527
Totals (10 nations)168144155467

Participating National Olympic Committees

Participants at Summer olympics 1996
Blue = Participating for the first time. Green = Have previously participated. Yellow square is host city (Atlanta) 1996 Summer Olympic games countries.png
Participants at Summer olympics 1996
Blue = Participating for the first time. Green = Have previously participated. Yellow square is host city (Atlanta)
Number of athletes 1996 Summer olympics team numbers.gif
Number of athletes

A total of 197 nations, all of the then-existing and recognized National Olympic Committees, were represented at the 1996 Games, and the combined total of athletes was about 10,318. [29] Twenty-four countries made their Olympic debut this year, including eleven of the ex-Soviet countries that competed as part of the Unified Team in 1992. Russia participated in the Summer Olympics separately from the other countries of the former Soviet Union for the first time since 1912 (when it was the Russian Empire). Russia had been a member of the Unified Team at the 1992 Summer Olympics together with 11 post-Soviet states. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia competed as Yugoslavia.

The 14 countries making their Olympic debut were: Azerbaijan, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Macedonia, Nauru, Palestinian Authority, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The ten countries making their Summer Olympic debut (after competing at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer) were: Armenia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Slovakia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The Czech Republic and Slovakia attended the games as independent nations for the first time since the breakup of Czechoslovakia, while the rest of the nations that made their Summer Olympic debut were formerly part of the Soviet Union.

Participating National Olympic Committees

Centennial Olympic Park bombing

The marker at the entrance to Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta The marker at the entrance to Olympic Park in Atlanta.jpg
The marker at the entrance to Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta

The 1996 Olympics were marred by the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, which occurred on July 27. Security guard Richard Jewell discovered the pipe bomb and immediately notified law enforcement, helping to evacuate as many people as possible from the area before it exploded. Although Jewell's quick actions are credited for saving many lives, the bombing killed spectator Alice Hawthorne, wounded 111 others, and caused the death of Melih Uzunyol by a heart attack. Jewell was later considered a suspect in the bombing but was never charged, and he was cleared in October 1996.

Fugitive Eric Rudolph was arrested in May 2003 and charged with the Olympic Park bombing as well as the bombings of two abortion clinics and a gay nightclub. [30] At his trial two years later, he confessed to all charges and afterwards released a statement, saying: "the purpose of the attack on July 27th was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand." [31] He received four life sentences without parole, [30] to be served at USP Florence ADMAX near Florence, Colorado.


The 1996 Olympic cauldron, designed by Siah Armajani 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics cauldron 0460.jpg
The 1996 Olympic cauldron, designed by Siah Armajani
The Flair Monument, erected in remembrance of the 1996 Games Flair monument.jpg
The Flair Monument, erected in remembrance of the 1996 Games

Preparations for the Olympics lasted more than six years and had an economic impact of at least US$5.14 billion. Over two million visitors came to Atlanta, and approximately 3.5 billion people around the world watched at least some of the events on television. Although marred by the tragedy of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, the Games were a financial success, due in part to TV rights contracts and sponsorships at record levels. [32]

Beyond international recognition, the Games resulted in many modern infrastructure improvements. The mid-rise dormitories built for the Olympic Village, which became the first residential housing for Georgia State University (Georgia State Village), are now used by the Georgia Institute of Technology (North Avenue Apartments). As designed, Centennial Olympic Stadium was converted into Turner Field, which became the home of the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team from 1997 to 2016. The Braves' former home, Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, was demolished in 1997 and the site became a parking lot for Turner Field; the Omni Coliseum was demolished the same year to make way for State Farm Arena. The city's permanent memorial to the 1996 Olympics is Centennial Olympic Park, which was built as a focal point for the Games. The park initiated a revitalization of the surrounding area and now serves as the hub for Atlanta's tourism district. [32]

In November 2016, a commemorative plaque was unveiled for Centennial Olympic Park to honor the 20th anniversary of the Games. [33] [34]

Following the Braves' departure from Turner Field to Truist Park, Georgia State University acquired the former Olympic Stadium and surrounding parking lots. It reconfigured the stadium for a second time into Center Parc Stadium for its college football team.

The 1996 Olympics are the most recent edition of the Summer Olympics to be held in the United States. Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics, 32 years after the Games were held in Atlanta. [35]


The 1996 Summer Olympics relied heavily on commercial sponsorship. The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company was the exclusive provider of soft drinks at Olympics venues and built an attraction known as Coca-Cola Olympic City for the Games. [36]

The Games were affected by several instances of ambush marketing—in which companies attempt to use the Games as a means to promote their brand, in competition with the exclusive, category-based sponsorship rights issued by the Atlanta organizing committee and the IOC (which grants the rights to use Olympics-related terms and emblems in marketing). The Atlanta organizing committee threatened legal actions against advertisers whose marketing implied an official association with the Games. Several non-sponsors set up marketing activities in areas near venues, such as Samsung (competing with Motorola), which ambushed the Games with its "'96 Expo". [37] [38] The city of Atlanta had also licensed street vendors to sell products from competitors to Olympic sponsors. [39] [40]

The most controversial ambush campaign was undertaken by Nike, Inc., which had begun an advertising campaign with aggressive slogans that mocked the Games' values, such as "Faster, Higher, Stronger, Badder", "If you're not here to win, you're a tourist", and "You don't win silver, you lose gold." The slogans were featured on magazine ads and billboards it purchased in Atlanta. [37] Nike also opened a pop-up store known as the Nike Center near the Athletes' Village, which distributed Nike-branded flags to visitors (presumably to be used at events). [41] IOC marketing director Michael Payne expressed concern for the campaign, believing that athletes could perceive them as being an insult to their accomplishments. [41] Payne and the United States Olympic Committee's marketing director, John Krimsky, met with Howard Slusher, a subordinate of Nike co-founder Phil Knight. The meeting quickly turned aggressive, with Payne warning that the IOC could pull accreditation for Nike employees and ban the display of its logos on equipment; he also threatened to organize a press conference where silver medallists from the Games, as well as prominent Nike-sponsored athlete Michael Johnson (who attracted attention during the Games for wearing custom, gold-colored Nike shoes), would denounce the company. Faced with these threats, Nike agreed to retract most of its negative advertising and PR stunts. [41]

The popular U.S. game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! were also official sponsors, and both aired Olympic-themed episodes during 1996. [42]


A report prepared after the Games by European Olympic officials was critical of Atlanta's performance in several key areas, including the level of crowding in the Olympic Village, the quality of available food, the accessibility and convenience of transportation, and the Games' general atmosphere of commercialism. [43] IOC vice-president Dick Pound responded to criticism of the commercialization of these Games, stating that they still adhered to a historic policy barring the display of advertising within venues, and that "you have to look to the private sector for at least a portion of the funding, and unless you're looking for handouts, you're dealing with people who are investing business assets, and they have to get a return." [39]

The financial struggles faced by many later Games, such as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have led to more positive re-appraisals of the management of the 1996 Games. Former JPMorgan Chase president (and torchbearer) Kabir Sehgal noted that in contrast to many later Games, the 1996 Olympics were financially viable, had a positive economic impact on the city, and most of the facilities constructed for the Games still see use in the present day. Sehgal contrasted the Games' bid—a "grassroots" effort backed almost entirely by private funding, with the only significant public spending coming from infrastructure associated with the Games—to modern "top-down" bids, instigated by local governments and reliant on taxpayer funding, making them unpopular among citizens who may not necessarily be interested. [13]

At the closing ceremony, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said in his closing speech, "Well done, Atlanta" and simply called the Games "most exceptional." This broke precedent for Samaranch, who had traditionally labeled each Games "the best Olympics ever" at each closing ceremony, a practice he resumed at the subsequent Games in Sydney in 2000. [44]

In 1997, Athens, Greece was awarded the 2004 Summer Olympics. Along with addressing the shortcomings of its 1996 bid, it was lauded for its efforts to promote the traditional values of the Olympic Games, which some IOC observers felt had been lost due to the over-commercialization of the 1996 Games. However, the 2004 Games heavily relied on public funding and eventually failed to make a profit, which contributed to the financial crisis in Greece. [45] [46] [47]

See also

Related Research Articles

Olympic Games Major international sport event

The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period.

Summer Olympic Games International multi-sport event

The Summer Olympic Games also known as the Games of the Olympiad, are a major international multi-sport event normally held once every four years. The Games were first held in 1896 in Athens, Greece, and were most recently held in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) organises the Games and oversees the host city's preparations. In each Olympic event, gold medals are awarded for first place, silver medals are awarded for second place, and bronze medals are awarded for third place; this tradition began in 1904. The Winter Olympic Games were created out of the success of the Summer Olympics.

1948 Summer Olympics Games of the XIV Olympiad, held in London in 1948

The 1948 Summer Olympics were an international multi-sport event held from 29 July to 14 August 1948 in London, United Kingdom. Following a twelve-year hiatus caused by the outbreak of World War II, these were the first Summer Olympics held since the 1936 Games in Berlin. The 1940 Olympic Games had been scheduled for Tokyo and then for Helsinki, while the 1944 Olympic Games had been provisionally planned for London. This was the second time London had hosted the Olympic Games, having previously hosted them in 1908, forty years earlier. The Olympics would again return to London 64 years later in 2012, making London the first city to have hosted the games three times, and the only such city until Paris and Los Angeles host their third games in 2024 and 2028, respectively. The 1948 Olympic Games were also the first of two summer Games held under the IOC presidency of Sigfrid Edström.

2000 Summer Olympics

The 2000 Summer Olympics was an international multi-sport event held from 15 September to 1 October 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was the second time the Summer Olympics were held in Australia, and in the Southern Hemisphere, the first being in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1956.

1976 Summer Olympics Games of the XXI Olympiad, held in Montreal in 1976

The 1976 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXI Olympiad and commonly known as Montréal 1976, were an international multi-sport event held from July 17 to August 1, 1976 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games at the 69th IOC Session in Amsterdam on May 12, 1970. Montreal is the second French speaking city to host the Summer Olympics after Paris, over the bids of Moscow and Los Angeles. It was the first and, so far, only Summer Olympic Games to be held in Canada. Toronto hosted the 1976 Summer Paralympics the same year as the Montreal Olympics, which still remains the only Summer Paralympics to be held in Canada. Calgary and Vancouver later hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1988 and 2010, respectively.

2004 Summer Olympics Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, held in Athens in 2004

The 2004 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad and commonly known as Athens 2004, was an international multi-sport event held from 13 to 29 August 2004 in Athens, Greece. The Games saw 10,625 athletes compete, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team officials from 201 countries. There were 301 medal events in 28 different sports. Athens 2004 marked the first time since the 1996 Summer Olympics that all countries with a National Olympic Committee were in attendance, and also saw the return of the Olympic Games to the city where they began. Having previously hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896, Athens became one of only four cities at the time to have hosted the Summer Olympic Games on two occasions.

1984 Summer Olympics Games of the XXIII Olympiad, held in Los Angeles in 1984

The 1984 Summer Olympics was an international multi-sport event held from July 28 to August 12, 1984, mainly in Los Angeles, California, United States. It marked the second time that Los Angeles had hosted the Games, the first being in 1932. California was the home state of the incumbent U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, who officially opened the Games. The emblem of the 1984 Games, known as "Stars in Motion", featured red, white and blue stars arranged horizontally and struck through with alternating streaks. The official mascot was Sam the Olympic Eagle. These were the first Summer Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch.

1964 Summer Olympics Games of the XVIII Olympiad, celebrated in Tokyo in 1964

The 1964 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held from 10 to 24 October 1964 in Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo had been awarded the organization of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but this honor was subsequently passed to Helsinki due to Japan's invasion of China, before ultimately being cancelled due to World War II.

1956 Summer Olympics

The 1956 Summer Olympics were an international multi-sport event held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, from 22 November to 8 December 1956, with the exception of the equestrian events, which were held in Stockholm, Sweden, in June 1956.

1932 Summer Olympics

The 1932 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the X Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was held from July 30 to August 14, 1932, in Los Angeles, California, United States.

1928 Summer Olympics Games of the IX Olympiad, celebrated in Amsterdam in 1928

The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was celebrated from 28 July to 12 August 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The city of Amsterdam had previously bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but was obliged to give way to war-torn Antwerp in Belgium for the 1920 Games and Pierre de Coubertin's Paris for the 1924 Games.

1924 Summer Olympics

The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France.

1920 Summer Olympics Games of the VII Olympiad, celebrated in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920

The 1920 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium.

Olympic medal An award given to successful competitors at one of the Olympic Games

An Olympic medal is awarded to successful competitors at one of the Olympic Games. There are three classes of medal: gold, awarded to the winner; silver, awarded to the runner-up; and bronze, awarded to the third place. The granting of awards is laid out in detail in the Olympic protocols.

The 1996 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad, were a summer multi-sport event held in Atlanta, Georgia, United States from 19 July to 4 August 1996. A total of 10,318 athletes from 197 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), competed in 271 events in 26 sports.

Morocco at the 2004 Summer Olympics Sporting event delegation

Morocco competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004. This was the nation's eleventh appearance at the Olympics, except the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, because of its partial support to the United States boycott.

Bids for the 1996 Summer Olympics

Six cities submitted bids to host the 1996 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Atlanta, on September 18, 1990. The other candidate cities were Athens (Greece), Toronto (Canada), Melbourne (Australia), Manchester and Belgrade (Yugoslavia).

The Closing Ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics took place on August 4, 1996, at the Centennial Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, United States at approximately 8:00 PM EDT (UTC−4). It was produced by Don Mischer. The official motto of the closing ceremony is "An American Day of Inspiration".

Serbia and Montenegro at the Olympics Sporting event delegation

The former State Union of Serbia and Montenegro appeared at the Olympic Games on two occasions from 2004 until 2006, after which the union was dissolved and Montenegro and Serbia each declared full independence.

Olympic Games ceremony Ceremonial events of the ancient and modern Olympic Games

The Olympic Games ceremonies of the Ancient Olympic Games were an integral part of these Games; the modern Olympic games have opening, closing, and medal ceremonies. Some of the elements of the modern ceremonies harken back to the Ancient Games from which the Modern Olympics draw their ancestry. An example of this is the prominence of Greece in both the opening and closing ceremonies. During the 2004 Games, the medal winners received a crown of olive branches, which was a direct reference to the Ancient Games, in which the victor's prize was an olive wreath. The various elements of the ceremonies are mandated by the Olympic Charter, and cannot be changed by the host nation. This requirement of seeking the approval of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) includes the artistic portion of opening and closing ceremonies.


  1. 1 2 "Factsheet - Opening Ceremony of the Games of the Olympiad" (PDF) (Press release). International Olympic Committee. October 9, 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 14, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  2. Glanton, Dahleen. "Atlanta debates how golden it was". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  3. "Live From PyeongChang". TvTechnology. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  4. "Atlanta: 20 years later". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  5. Payne, Michael (2006). Olympic turnaround: how the Olympic Games stepped back from the brink of Extinction to Become the Best Known Brand. Westport, Ct.: Praeger Publishers. ISBN   0-275-99030-3.
  6. 1 2 3 Weisman, Steven R. (September 19, 1990). "Atlanta Selected Over Athens for 1996 Olympics". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  7. 1 2 3 Maloney, Larry (2004). "Atlanta 1996". In Finding, John E.; Pelle, Kimberly D. (eds.). Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 235–6. ISBN   9780313322785 . Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  8. Edwards, Peter (July 24, 2015). "Toronto has made 5 attempts to host the Olympics. Could the sixth be the winner?" via Toronto Star.
  9. Longman, Jere (August 3, 1997). "Athens Pins Olympic Bid to World Meet". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  10. "1996 Olympic Games". Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  11. "IOC Vote History". www.aldaver.com.
  12. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was still in existence at the time of bidding for the 1996 Olympics, although it would cease to exist by the time of the 1996 Summer Olympic games
  13. 1 2 3 "What Rio Should Have Learned From Atlanta's 1996 Summer Olympics". Fortune. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  14. Applebome, Peter (August 4, 1996). "So, You Want to Hold an Olympics". The New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2008.
  15. "The Olympic Legacy in Atlanta – [1999] UNSWLJ 38; (1999) 22(3) University of New South Wales Law Journal 902". Archived from the original on November 30, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  16. "Atlanta Olympics: By The Numbers" . Sports Business Daily. July 18, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  17. Gibson, Owen (October 9, 2013). "Sochi 2014: the costliest Olympics yet but where has all the money gone?". The Guardian. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  18. Burbank, Matthew; et al. (2001). Olympic Dreams: The Impact of Mega Events on Local Politics. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 97.
  19. "Centennial Olympic Games" (PDF). la84foundation.org. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
  20. "Atlanta Redefines Image With 'Come Celebrate Our Dream' Slogan". Seattle Times. February 19, 1995.
  21. "Congratulations Note from Billy Payne".
  22. "Remembering the Centennial Olympic Games in Savannah". City of Savannah. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  23. "Atlanta spinning 'Wheel' for sponsorship fortune". Washington Post. March 16, 1996. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  24. "THAT 'WHEEL OF FORTUNE' JUST KEEPS SPINNING ALONG". Deseret News. October 16, 1995. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  25. "ProReview: Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings". GamePro . IDG (69): 46. April 1995.
  26. "Basil Poledouris Biography". Basil Poledouris website. Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
  27. Erie Times-News, "Erie Company's Olympic Work Shines", June 10, 1996, by Greg Lavine
  28. Plating and Surface Finishing Magazine, August 1996 Issue
  29. "Atlanta 1996, Games of the XXVI Olympiad". Olympic.org. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved May 19, 2007.
  30. 1 2 "Profile: Eric Rudolph". BBC News. April 14, 2005. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  31. Cummings, Denis (July 27, 2011). "On This Day: Bomb Explodes in Atlanta's Olympic Park". findingdulcinea.com. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  32. 1 2 Glanton, Dahleen (September 21, 2009). "Olympics' impact on Atlanta still subject to debate". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  33. Vejnoska, Jill (November 1, 2016). "New historic marker for 1996 Games unveiled in Centennial Olympic Park". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on November 2, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  34. "Historical Marker planted for 1996 Centennial Olympic Games". Atlanta Business Chronicle. November 2, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  35. Wharton, David (September 13, 2017). "L.A. officially awarded 2028 Olympic Games". Los Angeles Times . Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  36. Collins, Glenn (March 28, 1996). "Coke's Hometown Olympics;The Company Tries the Big Blitz on Its Own Turf". New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  37. 1 2 Heath, Thomas (July 17, 1996). "An Olympic-Size Ambush". Washington Post. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  38. "Samsung's Expo Gives It Olympic Exposure / And BellSouth is putting out COWS". SFGate. July 2, 1996. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  39. 1 2 "McGill's master of the rings". McGill Reporter. September 12, 1996. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  40. Leuty, Ron (November 4, 2001). "Olympic bid smacks into $10M hurdle". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  41. 1 2 3 Emmett, James (June 16, 2010). "Rise of the pseudo-sponsors: A history of ambush marketing". SportPro. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  42. Winship, Frederick M. (January 24, 1995). "Game shows join 1996 Olympic games". United Press International. Archived from the original on August 29, 2020.
  43. "Olympic Games: Maligned Atlanta meets targets". The Independent. United Kingdom. November 15, 1996. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  44. "Samaranch calls these Olympics 'best ever'". ESPN.com . October 1, 2000. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
  45. "Did 2004 Olympics Spark Greek Financial Crisis?". CNBC. Associated Press. June 3, 2010.
  46. Longman, Jere (September 6, 1997). "Athens Wins a Vote for Tradition, and the 2004 Olympics". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  47. Anderson, Dave (September 7, 1997). "Athens Can Thank Atlanta for 2004 Games". New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg The Atlanta 1996 Olympic Film on YouTube
Preceded by
Summer Olympic Games

XXVI Olympiad (1996)
Succeeded by