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19 Jul 2006
IOC News

Atlanta 1996 – Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago the spotlight and cameras turned to Atlanta to cover the Games of the XXVI Olympiad. After long years of preparations, dreams came true for hundreds of athletes who entered the Olympic stadium for the Opening Ceremony, where the last torchbearer, Muhammad Ali, lit the Olympic cauldron and President Clinton opened the Games.
Lewis, Johnson, Suleymanoglu
The Atlanta Games remain in the Olympic memory for the performance of the athletes. A record-breaking 79 nations won medals, and 53 won gold. Carl Lewis became the third person to win the same individual event for the fourth time, and the fourth person to earn a ninth gold medal.  Naim Suleymanoglu became the first weightlifter to win a third gold medal. Michael Johnson smashed the 200m world record to complete a 200m and 400m double. Beach volleyball, mountain biking, lightweight rowing and women's football made their first appearance.
Bomb blast to be remembered
Sadly, Atlanta also has to be remembered for the bomb blast in Centennial Park, which killed one person and injured 110.
Impressive legacy
 The Atlanta Games left an impressive legacy, which is one of the key aspects for any Games. They physically transformed downtown Atlanta with the gorgeous Olympic Centennial Park and several venues constructed for the Games. 
Direct economic impact
The Games of the XXVI Olympiad had a direct economic impact - estimated at five billion US dollars. But above and beyond this direct impact, the Games became the catalyst for the further economic development of Atlanta witnessed over the last ten years.

 Thanks to the Olympic Games, Atlanta has forged its reputation as a hub for commerce and a capital for sports where events such as the Super Bowl NCAA finals and the PGA Championships have been staged.

 Atlanta 1996

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