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Stu

Atlanta 1996

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Hey all.

So I'm new. I've been reading this and that. I get the general impression that Atlanta was a mistake and it shoudln't have happened. At the same time, I'm reading that most of the venues are still in use and that the games overall turned a profit for the city.

Bombing aside, though I don't mean to push it aside as if it didn't matter, I'd like to know why Atlanta is usually quickly discarded among great Olympic cities. (The bombing was bad, but is that the main reason?)

Okay, the games overall were boring, but that tends to happen in American cities. I'm American, but I accept that there certainly is a lack of culture here compared to other countries. One thing that I feel Salt Lake did well was pay homage to the culture of Ute Nation. I also feel that Vancouver's involvement with their native nations is also good.

Oh and I'd like to know why you feel the way you do about Atlanta. I'm not a fanboy of the city or anything, just curious.

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OK, barrack, since you're new, let me paraphrase altho we've been thru it a number of times -- but it'll probaly be hard to find.

Some sour grapes Europeans I think are/were the cause about all the gripes and bad publicity on Atlanta.  Sure, there were a few glitches but overall, the naysayers were still smarting over the fact that the very important Centennial Games which should've gone to Athens which wasn't really ready, instead went to a smallish, Southern upstart American city.  

Actually, there are 2 other regulars on the board (Puppy and roltel) who attended the Games in a more official capacity than me and gave other perspectives.  Also, it's late on the West Coast, past 12 midnight, and I'm going to bed.  May continue tomorrow if the other 2 don't.

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As an Atlanta attendee, I find the criticism to be very unjustified. I find it laughable that some of the harsh comments came from Dick Pound, yet I read somewhere where he and his wife had come kind of issue with the Atlanta police. Gee, might that have influenced his judgement (in addition to Toronto losing the 1996 bid).

The only complaint I have is that it did resemble a country fair on the streets surrounding Centennial Park. Other than that, the memories of Atlanta and its people are still warm and vivid nearly a decade later.

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The only complaint I have is that it did resemble a country fair on the streets surrounding Centennial Park. Other than that, the memories of Atlanta and its people are still warm and vivid nearly a decade later.

I couldn't have put it better myself. They were a great games, hosted by some of the most graciously hospitable people it's been my pleasure to meet. I tend to agree with Baron's assessment as to the motives for much of the anti-Atlanta commentary over the years.

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As an Atlanta attendee, I find the criticism to be very unjustified. I find it laughable that some of the harsh comments came from Dick Pound, yet I read somewhere where he and his wife had come kind of issue with the Atlanta police. Gee, might that have influenced his judgement (in addition to Toronto losing the 1996 bid).

The only complaint I have is that it did resemble a country fair on the streets surrounding Centennial Park. Other than that, the memories of Atlanta and its people are still warm and vivid nearly a decade later.

Yes - his wife was arrested and fined $2000 for not complying with a police order during the Olympics.  Which is why I largely ignore him when he goes on one of his Atlanta tirades (that and the fact that Toronto also lost out to Atlanta):

Dicky Pounds Wife Fined

Baron's assessment is pretty much spot on.  I think history will be kind to Atlanta, much as Munich and Montreal are looked upon in a much more favorable light now than they were.

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Some sour grapes Europeans I think are/were the cause about all the gripes and bad publicity on Atlanta.  Sure, there were a few glitches but overall, the naysayers were still smarting over the fact that the very important Centennial Games which should've gone to Athens which wasn't really ready, instead went to a smallish, Southern upstart American city.

I don't agree with you on the "sour grapes Europeans" and the "biassed because of Athens" thing. I remember very well that Atlanta had quite a bad publicity here in Germany back then -- and the German journalists weren't very biassed in terms of whether Athens should have won instead or not. As I observed it, beforehand they rather had arranged very well with the fact that the Olympics would be hosted by an American city -- because everyone knew that the Americans are good organisers and because Germany always had strong ties with the USA.

But in the course of the Games, especially their high degree of commercialisation (all those ads and sponsor booths in the vicinity of the venues etc.) raised a lot of criticism in Germany and also in other countries because many perceived it as destroying the traditional lofty Olympic atmosphere.

And let's face it: Atlanta wasn't Barcelona and it also wasn't Sydney. If you compare those three Olympics, you'll see which city really did an outstanding job and which one not. Juan Antonio Samaranch's speech during Atlanta's closing ceremony said it all -- "Well done, Atlanta" was not quite the same as "These were the best Olympic Games ever." Atlanta was no catastrophe, but (just like Athens) it had some flaws in terms of the atmosphere.

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Some sour grapes Europeans I think are/were the cause about all the gripes and bad publicity on Atlanta.  Sure, there were a few glitches but overall, the naysayers were still smarting over the fact that the very important Centennial Games which should've gone to Athens which wasn't really ready, instead went to a smallish, Southern upstart American city.

I don't agree with you on the "sour grapes Europeans" and the "biassed because of Athens" thing. I remember very well that Atlanta had quite a bad publicity here in Germany back then -- and the German journalists weren't very biassed in terms of whether Athens should have won instead or not. As I observed it, beforehand they rather had arranged very well with the fact that the Olympics would be hosted by an American city -- because everyone knew that the Americans are good organisers and because Germany always had strong ties with the USA.

But in the course of the Games, especially their high degree of commercialisation (all those ads and sponsor booths in the vicinity of the venues etc.) raised a lot of criticism in Germany and also in other countries because many perceived it as destroying the traditional lofty Olympic atmosphere.

And let's face it: Atlanta wasn't Barcelona and it also wasn't Sydney. If you compare those three Olympics, you'll see which city really did an outstanding job and which one not. Juan Antonio Samaranch's speech during Atlanta's closing ceremony said it all -- "Well done, Atlanta" was not quite the same as "These were the best Olympic Games ever." Atlanta was no catastrophe, but (just like Athens) it had some flaws in terms of the atmosphere.

See, that's it -- you rehash the same old tripe -- like a broken record.  It's done; finito.  Not perfect; but at least it made $10 million dollars, considering all the mud slung at it.  And more importantly, it left the city with a lot of working venues for the Southern youth.  

Let's face it; you're European.  You guys just didn't like getting trumped by a smallish, aggressive Southern city, no less.  To think that what would've been a Euro showcase was taken away from the Continent by a coalition of all the non-Euro votes + the Euro votes who wanted to land the next Games back in Europe.  THat's not Atlanta's fault.  Probably was Melina Mercouri's.  She did what Chirac did to his Paris 2012 bid -- except she had her leg in some photographer's backside.

Yeah, it was crowded -- which only meant that a lot of people from all over wanted to come and experience an Olympic city -- yes, fill the seats (unlike recent hosts which shall go unnamed), and yes, buy trinkets and tscotckes -- so that future Montre...err, Georgians would not be left paying somebody else's bill.  Gee, if that's a minus; then I don't know what to call billion-dollar debts incurred by other host cities?   Magic accounting?  :rolleyes:

Samaranch - old fool.  I don't know why people buy what B.S. comes from that old Falangist's mouth.  Who cares about the pronouncement he made?  :P  They're just words.  Atlanta put on a good show -- yes, not perfect -- but was enjoyed by the local populace; had EXCELLENT TV ratings, great athletic competition,  and multitudes of visitors including a few first-hand accounts here too.

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And more importantly, it left the city with a lot of working venues for the Southern youth.  

One of the criticisms I heard about the Atlanta Games was that it didn't benefit the local community as much as had been promised.  

So many of the services accompanying the Games were tendered out to the cheapest alternative - very few of the employees were from Atlanta at all and very few of them were from the poorer districts that were near to many of the venues.  The areas of extreme poverty in Atlanta are said to have changed little from what they were before 1996 - the reality of how US Olympics are funded would have meant that none of the 10 million dollar profit would have filtered down to them as tax cuts or additional social care.

Perhaps these communities have benefited from being able to visit their new baseball stadium - although when I've watched baseball the crowds have usually been overwhelmingly white.  

On the otherhand, it would be impossible to measure the pride that many of these people experienced having the worlds greatest sporting event in their home city - perhaps it's the memories of these people that will be the 1996 Games greatest legacy to Atlanta.

But of course I'm unable to have a unbiased view due to the fact I'm European.

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Well I think the question, if you "liked" Olympic Games, is always subjective - there is no general taste...

In my point of view the Games of Barcelona were wonderful and I expected something "more" wonderful for the Games of Atlanta, but they didn't fulfil my expectations.

Then I loved really the Games of Sydney and I thought - wow was Atlanta bad - then I loved the Games of Salt Lake City and I thought - wow it was really Atlantas "fault" - but after the Games of Athens and the Games of Torino I had to recognised that Barcelona and Sydney really "over fulfilled" my expectations and that it will be very difficult for every host in the future to fulfill my expectations, because Barcelona, Sydney, Lillehammer and Salt Lake City raised the bar...

Therefore my "evaluation" of Atlanta has changed... There were not so bad how I thought...

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And more importantly, it left the city with a lot of working venues for the Southern youth.  

One of the criticisms I heard about the Atlanta Games was that it didn't benefit the local community as much as had been promised.  

So many of the services accompanying the Games were tendered out to the cheapest alternative - very few of the employees were from Atlanta at all and very few of them were from the poorer districts that were near to many of the venues.  The areas of extreme poverty in Atlanta are said to have changed little from what they were before 1996 - the reality of how US Olympics are funded would have meant that none of the 10 million dollar profit would have filtered down to them as tax cuts or additional social care.

Perhaps these communities have benefited from being able to visit their new baseball stadium - although when I've watched baseball the crowds have usually been overwhelmingly white.  

On the otherhand, it would be impossible to measure the pride that many of these people experienced having the worlds greatest sporting event in their home city - perhaps it's the memories of these people that will be the 1996 Games greatest legacy to Atlanta.

But of course I'm unable to have a unbiased view due to the fact I'm European.

It really wasn't ACOG's job to fix the socio-economic picture of Atlanta and Georgia.  The Summerhill area around the Olympic Stadium-Turner Field was upgraded from a derelict blight.  THe area where Centennial Park arose was nothing but another blighted neighborhood of ramshackle warehouses, etc., much like what was Barcelona's waterfront and where London's Olympic Park will arise.  Gee, what else?  The boom instigated by the Olympics brought many new housing developments around Atlanta so much so that it then became one of the most congested metropolitan areas in the US, even rivalling LA's freeway gridlock -- BUT after the Games.  Georgia Tech and GSU gained a new dorm for over 3,000 students (that was the main building of the O.V.)

Those Games gave GREAT Athletic competition!  And as someone here said, w/o Atlanta's blemishes, then Sydney would not have looked so outstanding.  Plus, Sydney is a lot more photogenic than down-home Atlanta anway; everyone concedes that.   I doubt that Athens could've put on a better Games in 1996.

:P

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Well I think the question, if you "liked" Olympic Games, is always subjective - there is no general taste...

In my point of view the Games of Barcelona were wonderful and I expected something "more" wonderful for the Games of Atlanta, but they didn't fulfil my expectations.

Then I loved really the Games of Sydney and I thought - wow was Atlanta bad - then I loved the Games of Salt Lake City and I thought - wow it was really Atlantas "fault" - but after the Games of Athens and the Games of Torino I had to recognised that Barcelona and Sydney really "over fulfilled" my expectations and that it will be very difficult for every host in the future to fulfill my expectations, because Barcelona, Sydney, Lillehammer and Salt Lake City raised the bar...

Therefore my "evaluation" of Atlanta has changed... There were not so bad how I thought...

i tend to agree with you - i think that barcelona really raised the bar and atlanta's overall offering (sport aside) seemed rather commercial - uninspired and dare i say it - vulgar!

add to this the fact that atlanta was sandwiched between 2 of the best olympics barcelona and sydney - which also happen to be more aesthetically pleasing than Atlanta (maybe to a european anyways)!

added to this is the fact that atlanta won the games by bribing the IOC with cash gifts and the like. now come one you can't say that this didn't leave a bitter taste to the whole event?

also i will never forget the closing ceremony when the flag was taken out of the stadium not by athletes or anyone of worth but by the top knobs of the organising committe! talk about self congratulations! just seemed to sum the whole thing up !

add to this that there were great bids from toronto and also melbourne (and most of us have just witnessed what melbourne can do)!

the sport was outstanding - but the whole event didn't translate that well on TV - sorry! but again as i am a european i can't be objective about it!

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added to this is the fact that atlanta won the games by bribing the IOC with cash gifts and the like. now come one you can't say that this didn't leave a bitter taste to the whole event?

also i will never forget the closing ceremony when the flag was taken out of the stadium not by athletes or anyone of worth but by the top knobs of the organising committe! talk about self congratulations! just seemed to sum the whole thing up !

Bribes?  I've never heard of those.  Seoul, yes, but I never that connected to Atlanta.  Atlanta's effort was entirely a home-spun, grass-roots effort.  Yes, Coca-Cola did provide a little money but Billy Payne mortgaged his own house to fund the effort :rolleyes: -- and they would've found funds to bribe the IOC?  Unfounded assertion.

I agree on the ACOG nabobs escorting the Olympic flag out.  But ya know, the Atlanta 9 worked their butts off to secure the Games vs. state-funded rival bids, so I wouldn't entirely deny them the honor.  Atheltes?  They're already waaaaaaaaaaaaaay tooooooooo spoiled with everything.

but again as i am a european i can't be objective about it!
 So true.

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but again as i am a european i can't be objective about it!
 So true.

nobody can be objective - therefore "the US-citizens" can't be objective about it either...

I can.  The Australians here who went (puppy and roltel), enjoyed it.  But those who didn't go, are the biggest negative ones -- so what do they know?   :P

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but again as i am a european i can't be objective about it!
 So true.

nobody can be objective - therefore "the US-citizens" can't be objective about it either...

I can.  The Australians here who went (puppy and roltel), enjoyed it.  

... even Australians can't be objective either - if e.g. roltel had been lovesick during the Atlanta Games and puppy had have a bad accomodation in Atlanta then they might have hated the Atlanta Games...

But those who didn't go, are the biggest negative ones -- so what do they know?   :P

This is valid for all Olympic Games - not just for Atlanta...

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but again as i am a european i can't be objective about it!
 So true.

nobody can be objective - therefore "the US-citizens" can't be objective about it either...

I can.  The Australians here who went (puppy and roltel), enjoyed it.  

... even Australians can't be objective either - if e.g. roltel had been lovesick during the Atlanta Games and puppy had have a bad accomodation in Atlanta then they might have hated the Atlanta Games...

But those who didn't go, are the biggest negative ones -- so what do they know?   :P

This is valid for all Olympic Games - not just for Atlanta...

well, the point is they didn't.  And they liked it.  

So what's your point, CAF?  Everybody's supposed to hate it?   :rolleyes:

I think I hated Munich; I'll hate 2006 and I'll probably hate London.  So there, we're even.

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So what's your point, CAF?  Everybody's supposed to hate it?   :rolleyes:

no, it is not my point that everybody is supposed to hate it

It doesn't matter if somebody hated or loved e.g. Munich 1972 - it is subjective - the same is valid for any other Olympic Games...

My point is that taste is always subjective - nobody is objective toward taste...

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Of course, I don't disagree.  But for people who weren't actually there to experience any event in the flesh, then I find their judgment less valid than those who were actually there.

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Of course, I don't disagree.  But for people who weren't actually there to experience any event in the flesh, then I find their judgment less valid than those who were actually there.

I agree

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added to this is the fact that atlanta won the games by bribing the IOC with cash gifts and the like. now come one you can't say that this didn't leave a bitter taste to the whole event?

also i will never forget the closing ceremony when the flag was taken out of the stadium not by athletes or anyone of worth but by the top knobs of the organising committe! talk about self congratulations! just seemed to sum the whole thing up !

Bribes?  I've never heard of those.  Seoul, yes, but I never that connected to Atlanta.  Atlanta's effort was entirely a home-spun, grass-roots effort.  Yes, Coca-Cola did provide a little money but Billy Payne mortgaged his own house to fund the effort :rolleyes: -- and they would've found funds to bribe the IOC?  Unfounded assertion.

I agree on the ACOG nabobs escorting the Olympic flag out.  But ya know, the Atlanta 9 worked their butts off to secure the Games vs. state-funded rival bids, so I wouldn't entirely deny them the honor.  Atheltes?  They're already waaaaaaaaaaaaaay tooooooooo spoiled with everything.

but again as i am a european i can't be objective about it!
 So true.

you need to read around the subject dear boy - then maybe you could be a little more objective and a little less boring! - see below:

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Atlanta's Olympic organizers conceded Thursday that "excess was inherent" in their efforts to get the 1996 Olympics Games -- and that votes of some International Olympic Committee members lavished with gifts and favors "were not necessarily cast on the merits."

link: www.cnn.com/US/9909/16/atlanta.olympics/

at the end of the day there were some great athletic exploits in atlanta but the whole presentation on TV did not come across and unfortunately most of the planet  (not just europeans) watch the the games on the telly!

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Of course, I don't disagree.  But for people who weren't actually there to experience any event in the flesh, then I find their judgment less valid than those who were actually there.

Once again, I don't agree with you. You've always got to keep in mind that the judgement of the millions and billions of television viewers is a very important part of the overall judgement about any Olympics. It might be that the visitors to the Games get other (and maybe better) impressions -- but you shouldn't forget that, on the other hand, they don't see many things which the TV viewers can see. It already starts with the opening ceremony which works partly better with the stadium's audience and then again partly better with the TV audience. As TV viewer, you have the chance to witness much more events and get more background information than the visitor does. Maybe you won't be able to catch every bit of the atmosphere but nevertheless I think that, as a TV viewer, you'll always get a more complete impression of how well-organised those Games are.

And once more: I didn't say that Atlanta was a whole catastrophe. But it had some flaws (just like Athens) which troubled my (and others') personal "Olympic feeling".

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Screw u, adriane!  Maybe i'd be a little more receptive to your points if u weren't quite so condescending. 

Gift-giving was part of the norm up to that time.  Duh. Where have u been, flaccid ol' gal?

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ATLANTA (CNN) -- Atlanta's Olympic organizers conceded Thursday that "excess was inherent" in their efforts to get the 1996 Olympics Games -- and that votes of some International Olympic Committee members lavished with gifts and favors "were not necessarily cast on the merits."

I don't think that IOC members being "lavished" with gifts was particularly out of the ordinary in the host city campaigns of the late-'80's/early-'90's to be fair - I seem to remember Princess Anne overtly rejecting an expensive gold necklace from the Athens team in that particular campaign.  I also don't think that an obviously crooked campaign necessarily obscures a view of a Games - Salt Lake City is the most evident example of corruption and yet is also heralded as one of the best ever Winter Olympics.

Though I do agree, as the overwhelming majority of people watch the Olympics on television, their opinions can't be irrelevant.  It was the same people that watched both Barcelona and Sydney and enjoyed them.  Though as Baron said; downtown Barcelona and downtown Sydney are more photogenic than downtown Atlanta - perhaps we all judge Atlanta so harshly because she's ugly!  Aren't we fickle!

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(...)

Though as Baron said; downtown Barcelona and downtown Sydney are more photogenic than downtown Atlanta - perhaps we all judge Atlanta so harshly because she's ugly!  Aren't we fickle!

If you ask me: For me, the look of Atlanta wasn't really a problem. I've been there in person three years before the Games and was deeply impressed by its skyscrapers -- having never seen a big American city in flesh before. I admit that I hadn't the time to explore the whole city and see the uglier parts but my personal memories of the city of Atlanta have remained very positive until today.

But in terms of the Games of Atlanta, my memories as a TV viewer are -- as I mentioned before -- not exactly that positive. But, as I said: It was not the city itself which gave me a bad impression. It was the organisation and parts of the atmosphere. Those Games were too commercialised and looked very cheap in parts.

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I admit that I hadn't the time to explore the whole city and see the uglier parts

I visited in 1992 on a family holiday with my parents - we got hopelessly lost in a hire car and I think we about covered all the uglier parts you missed.

:P

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