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Atlanta 1996 - Centennial Olympic Games


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2 hours ago, BTHarner said:

Cobb County was slated to host volleyball preliminaries at The Cobb Galleria. The county passed a resolution basically stating that homosexuality was not compatible the the county's values. ACOG then relocated that portion of the volleyball competition to the University of Georgia.

 

Interesting. Come to think of it, I think I remember reading about Cobb County and a law related to homosexuality that led to them losing out on the Olympics. I always found it interesting that Atlanta insisted on two venues for volleyball when most host cities now hold it entirely in one venue. I guess this had to do with sharing events with the surrounding suburbs? So was rhythmic gymnastics always set for Stageman Coliseum at the University of Georgia?

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9 hours ago, BTHarner said:

Cobb County was slated to host volleyball preliminaries at The Cobb Galleria. The county passed a resolution basically stating that homosexuality was not compatible the the county's values. ACOG then relocated that portion of the volleyball competition to the University of Georgia.

Atlanta had its issues (Dick Pound never misses an opportunity to trash it, perhaps his wife being cited for jaywalking might have something to do with it). IBM thought pre-testing the results system was a waste of time. The out-of-town bus drivers lacked to enough training to get familiar with the area (GPS would have helped, but that was a few years off). The unique touch to the parade of nations, having them some down the ramp, was a wonderful idea, but poorly executed. Most notably, the decision to allow people to enter Centennial Park without passing through security is something I still can't wrap my head around. You also had the flea market on steroids outside Centennial Park, which can be pinned on Mayor Campbell and his cronies trying to make a few bucks off the Games, ACOG also contributed to the commercialization gluttony by selling sponsorships for almost every category possible in an attempt to raise the funds necessary to meet their revenue goals, but they did succeed, ending up with a small surplus.

Otherwise, these Games were the greatest competitions up to that time. The venues have or had served the city well. Centennial Park are revitalized an area once run-down. Atlanta's misfortune is perhaps amplified by the fact that is came between Barcelona and Sydney, two Games held in the highest of esteem. It was my only in-person Olympic experience, so there is no way I can be objective about it. It was a wonderful time and I met wonderful people. Thank you Olympan2005 for starting this retrospective thread, it's bringing back some wonderful memories.

 

you are welcome

i only wish i could have experienced the games in my own city but ironically i was only born in 2004, when Athens eventually hosted and made a complete mess of the games.

i hope that by starting this thread that it will bring back some memories for people and also after 25 years give Atlanta the praise and respect that it deserves as an olympic host city.

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53 minutes ago, Olympian2005 said:

you are welcome

i only wish i could have experienced the games in my own city but ironically i was only born in 2004, when Athens eventually hosted and made a complete mess of the games.

i hope that by starting this thread that it will bring back some memories for people and also after 25 years give Atlanta the praise and respect that it deserves as an olympic host city.

What on earth makes you think that Athens made a “complete mess of the Games”?

You were born in 2004.  I flew to Athens and worked as a volunteer at the 2004 Games at several Venues, attend a few events as spectator and witnessed were staged successfuly.  They had preparation problems but they got to line in the end. 

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I love how some proclaim that a certain host city "deserves respect", while at the same time, make a blanket generalization & knock other host cities without merit in the same sentence. Athens (nor Rio, for that matter) did not make a "complete mess" of the Games anymore, or less, than Atlanta 1996 did. Athens 2004 nor Rio 2016, also didn't "bankrupt" their respective countries either, as has been errorneously mentioned. 

Some people around here tend to forget that Athens 2004 was the very first Summer Olympic post 9/11. So security costs alone sky-rocketed between Sydney 2000 & Athens 2004. The Greeks did, however, squander away half of their lead time for the Olympics, which then led to very poor legacy planning of the venues in the end. But by no means were the Olympics the *sole* cause of their financial woes.

Same with Rio 2016. When Brazil was awarded the 2016 Games back in 2009, their economy at the time was booming (& that's why the IOC voted then "it's finally South America's time"). It wasn't 'til the close lead-up that they started having financial dificulties. And it was really all of South America, not just Brazil, that was teetering with economic recession. Then add to that the whole "polluted bay" & Zika virus mess (which pales in comparison now to what Tokyo 2020ne is dealing with), & that made it for a rather lackluster event, thanks to the hyberbolic media at the time. But at the end of the day, both Athens & Rio delivered. I'm sure that Tokyo at this point right now wishes that their Games would end up anywhere near half as good to those previous two mentioned, all things considered.

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20 hours ago, stryker said:

Interesting. Come to think of it, I think I remember reading about Cobb County and a law related to homosexuality that led to them losing out on the Olympics. I always found it interesting that Atlanta insisted on two venues for volleyball when most host cities now hold it entirely in one venue. I guess this had to do with sharing events with the surrounding suburbs? So was rhythmic gymnastics always set for Stageman Coliseum at the University of Georgia?

They added a second volleyball venue because this was when the women's tournament expanded to 12 teams. IIRC Beijing is the only other city to use two volleyball venues.

As for the rhythmic gymnastics, and this is coming from my reading at a newspaper archive website, a venue was yet to be determined when the volleyball was relocated at the end of July 1994. The related articles mention UGA hosting the volleyball as well as the soccer semifinals and finals, but made no mention of the rhythmic gymnastics.

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I agree when it is said that none of the recent Games have been a mess, many have had organizational and operational challenges, but they all pulled it off in the end. Tokyo will be a success in both areas, but I fear that all the circumstances, albeit out of their control, will leave an empty feeling once they have concluded. Perhaps, emptiness is a small price to pay in the larger scheme of things.

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Wow..... i did not expect all the attacks :(

i meant that that they made a mess of their lead up to the games and legacy, mainly venues and contributing to the country's financial issues. I should have been more clear.

 

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2 hours ago, Olympian2005 said:

Wow..... i did not expect all the attacks :(

i meant that that they made a mess of their lead up to the games and legacy, mainly venues and contributing to the country's financial issues. I should have been more clear.

 

These are not a personal attacks on you, so don’t worry and don’t be discouraged from these threads :)

Many a sweeping generalised statements in these threads have attracted strong criticism on many topics. I  think we have all been caught out with making statements that were too general, or that we believed to be true.

We live and learn.

Hang in there. I’ve made the same mistakes myself, more than once.

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Richard Quest hosts this min-series on CNN on the wonders of Atlanta! 

Atlanta: The city that keeps changing America | CNN Travel 

Ya know, I never saw that Cyclorama nor the World of Coke when I lived there.  I might take a quick trip there in the next 2 months to see off my Welsh friend who is returning to the UK for her retirement  -- if I can get away.  

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13 hours ago, baron-pierreIV said:

Richard Quest hosts this min-series on CNN on the wonders of Atlanta! 

Atlanta: The city that keeps changing America | CNN Travel 

Ya know, I never saw that Cyclorama nor the World of Coke when I lived there.  I might take a quick trip there in the next 2 months to see off my Welsh friend who is returning to the UK for her retirement  -- if I can get away.  

If u do visit, you have to go to the revamped Olympic exhibit at the museum

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On 7/11/2021 at 5:09 PM, FYI said:

I love how some proclaim that a certain host city "deserves respect", while at the same time, make a blanket generalization & knock other host cities without merit in the same sentence. Athens (nor Rio, for that matter) did not make a "complete mess" of the Games anymore, or less, than Atlanta 1996 did. Athens 2004 nor Rio 2016, also didn't "bankrupt" their respective countries either, as has been errorneously mentioned. 

Some people around here tend to forget that Athens 2004 was the very first Summer Olympic post 9/11. So security costs alone sky-rocketed between Sydney 2000 & Athens 2004. The Greeks did, however, squander away half of their lead time for the Olympics, which then led to very poor legacy planning of the venues in the end. But by no means were the Olympics the *sole* cause of their financial woes.

Same with Rio 2016. When Brazil was awarded the 2016 Games back in 2009, their economy at the time was booming (& that's why the IOC voted then "it's finally South America's time"). It wasn't 'til the close lead-up that they started having financial dificulties. And it was really all of South America, not just Brazil, that was teetering with economic recession. Then add to that the whole "polluted bay" & Zika virus mess (which pales in comparison now to what Tokyo 2020ne is dealing with), & that made it for a rather lackluster event, thanks to the hyberbolic media at the time. But at the end of the day, both Athens & Rio delivered. I'm sure that Tokyo at this point right now wishes that their Games would end up anywhere near half as good to those previous two mentioned, all things considered.

Athens and Rio both delivered no doubt about it. The mess came afterwards in terms of legacy. While the money spent on the Olympics was not the main factor, it was a contributor to Greece's financial meltdown. The aftermath of Rio has been well documented in terms of a failed legacy and white elephant venues. The legacies of Athens and Rio are part of the reason the IOC is in the mess they are  now with attracting candidate cities. But the Olympics themselves were memorable.

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Sure it was a contributor, but it was not as big of one as you’re trying to make it. Their Olympic price tag was just a fraction of Greece’s overall economic issues. What really was the main factor, was Greece’s mismanagement in general, much like Italy’s. It’s the same type that led to the wasting away of half of their lead time in the first place, & the IOC giving them their stern warning of possible revoking the Games from them, which then led to the Greeks having to mega overspend on trying to get everything done in time by the 2004 Games.

As far as both Athens & Rio, & the IOC. You know how that goes. The Nolympic crowds will grab on to anything negative that they can & then spin it to their whim without delving into the real issues & answers that were really mostly due to poor planning. And while Athens & Rio are contributors to their mess, to use that again here, the real mega culprit of the IOC’s problems is Sochi 2014. The most expensive Olympics in history. Well, that might be overshadowed now by Tokyo 2020, but that would be due by no fault of their own, though. While the IOC has only itself to blame for a lot of negative things, this latest deal is hardly their doing (well, at least at first), but will surely get blamed for it anyway, too.

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4 hours ago, stryker said:

Athens and Rio both delivered no doubt about it. The mess came afterwards in terms of legacy. While the money spent on the Olympics was not the main factor, it was a contributor to Greece's financial meltdown. The aftermath of Rio has been well documented in terms of a failed legacy and white elephant venues. The legacies of Athens and Rio are part of the reason the IOC is in the mess they are  now with attracting candidate cities. But the Olympics themselves were memorable.

Not picking on you specifically.. just a general perception. I won't say that Rio's legacy was a ripping success, but the narrative of Rio as a city ruined by the Olympics is exaggerated, IMO. It's also silly the sheer number of people I see online who think Maracanã is abandoned.

Maracanã hosts Flamengo, Fluminense, and the Brazilian National Team; it has hosted Copa America finals twice after 2016. Match from 2018, for example:

 59417315133aa.jpeg

Olympic Stadium hosts Botafogo, another of the most popular clubs in Brazil. It also has hosted sold-out concerts since 2016. 

joao-havelange1.jpg

These two venues are like NFL stadiums in terms of their use. 

Revitalized waterfront: The waterfront here was completely neglected before the Olympics. It's now a huge public space, with a beautiful view of Guanabara Bay.

Maua-Square-and-Museum-of-Tomorrow-seen-

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After the Olympics, new stuff continues to be added, like the Rio Star: 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

 

 

Line 4 (metro), light rail, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) continued to be used prior to COVID (which affected transit systems everywhere). The lines saw less use post-Olympics, but that's not uncommon in any city after lines are inaugurated. These lines are still useful to the public. The light rail connects downtown to the waterfront, which will be useful as more residents move downtown.

maxresdefault.jpg

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT):

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The Olympic Village was converted to apartments and is at about 33% capacity. Not stellar, but it is showing consistent improvement with time. This isn't unique to Rio, I recall Vancouver had similar problems.

The Athlete's Forest was planted in Deodoro Park: 

 

Whitewater Park was transformed to a public park post-Games: https://www.infobae.com/aroundtherings/ioc/2021/07/12/kayakers-hopeful-but-realistic-about-rio-venue-legacy/

The Olympic Pools are being disassembled and reassembled: https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/rio-olympic-pool-finds-new-home-in-salvador-brazil/

Arena Carioca 1 is being used for training and classes

Olympic Park is closed now, but did host Rock in Rio 2017 and 2019, significant events which show promise that when the remaining facilities causing the closure are dealt with, there is demand for the space to be used in the future.

rockinrio2019_foto-divulga%C3%A7%C3%A3o.

Numerous cities in advanced economies would love to build things like Rio built between 2005-2015, but can't because the political capital isn't there. The Olympics helped bring to Rio public infrastructure it may have been politically unable to build otherwise. Yes, obviously there are failures of cost-overruns, but often the alternative is that these things simply don't get done and the city lags behind its competitors internationally.

Corruption can happen in the most advanced economies, and the difference is merely the sophistication of hiding the graft. Berlin Brandenburg Airport, for example. 

It's also worth looking at scholarship: 

This study from IPEA shows the Olympic Games contributed to a 7.5% GDP boost for Rio, and that the Games "helped "mitigate" the consequences of what would become Brazil's worst recession on record for the Olympic host city and region."

A study from researchers in Brazil, Portugal, and UK indicate that Rio's citizens had a more positive impression of hosting the Olympics after the Games were over, vs. in the build-up prior to the Games. 

There are a few others I will try to dig up..

Rio 2016's legacy is imperfect but it is one being slowly fulfilled. Further, the World Cup/Olympics did build useful bones for the city to stay relevant and competitive internationally after COVID and Latin America's recession are over. Just my two cents.

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And a good two cents at that. It’s easy for many, especially ones that are not familiar with said cities, to use Rio (& some other host cities viewed in a negatively light) as a punching bag of misinformation. But it’s always good to see the perspective from the ones that are actually on the ground to try & balance the negative status quo of such host cities.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Found this: a costume worn by a performer at the Sydney handover during the 1996 closing ceremony. Think it is in a museum in Sydney.

71456.jpg

Also Atlanta predicted the inclusion of new sports during its closing. something especially this year that came true.

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4 minutes ago, Olympian2005 said:

Found this: a costume worn by a performer at the Sydney handover during the 1996 closing ceremony. Think it is in a museum in Sydney.

LOL, the whole Roos on bikes and cockatoos etc was a major cringe for us from that handover. People were outraged at the cliches. The irony was, it seemed to go down really well with overseas audiences.

i attended Atlanta, it was the first games I went to in person. Had a fabulous time, loved it, really appreciated the Southern hospitality.

A question, how are the games perceived and remembered by Atlantans now? Do people think back fondly on them? Are they seen as a high point for the city? Are people still proud? I gather you’re young and have no first hand memories. How do people your age perceive them? Do you get told much about them?

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I was too young to attend the Atlanta Olympics, but having lived in Atlanta for the last two years, I'll give my perspective. I feel like Atlanta is proud to have hosted, but it doesn't come up all the time if that makes sense. I think part of the reason is because a lot of the venues don't exist anymore or have been totally repurposed (Olympic Stadium, Georgia Dome, Aquatic Center, tennis center, Omni, etc.). The most Olympic-esque event lately was the US Marathon Trials last February where they relit the cauldron.

The best legacy is for sure Centennial Olympic Park - it's been really cool to see how most of the city's major attractions now surround the park. Not only places that have been here for a while such as CNN Center and World of Coke, but also newer attractions Georgia Aquarium, College Football Hall of Fame, and National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

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2 hours ago, Sir Rols said:

LOL, the whole Roos on bikes and cockatoos etc was a major cringe for us from that handover. People were outraged at the cliches. The irony was, it seemed to go down really well with overseas audiences.

i attended Atlanta, it was the first games I went to in person. Had a fabulous time, loved it, really appreciated the Southern hospitality.

A question, how are the games perceived and remembered by Atlantans now? Do people think back fondly on them? Are they seen as a high point for the city? Are people still proud? I gather you’re young and have no first hand memories. How do people your age perceive them? Do you get told much about them?

I am happy that you enjoyed your stay here. Despite our still issues with racism, we are good people who love to share our southern hospitality. I hope that my generation is the one to rid georgia of its racism. my best friend is black and i love him to bits haha 

Most Atlantians know about the games, especially when an olympic games is happening. 

Centennial olympic park is for sure the biggest reminder. I think people are proud but it is so long ago now that most people do not remember or factor it into their lives.

For me I got the buzz when i visited the exhibition at the Atlanta history center, it has so many stuff including every olympic torch. it made me want to visit the venues and learn more about the games in my city and made me find this site.

And i must admit standing looking up at the olympic cauldron, even if it isnt the most beautiful, is an experience, even for a young guy like myself.

But i one day hope to be an olympian and bring back more olympic gold to my home city, the only city to have hosted a centennial games, my Atlanta :) 

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On 7/8/2021 at 2:27 AM, stryker said:

Atlanta gets a bad rap when it comes to the Olympics. They weren't perfect but they didn't bankrupt a country like Athens or Rio. Looking back, Atlanta was under scrutiny from the moment it was awarded the Games, with the famed comment about the Olympic flame being lit with Coca Cola. 

Anyone getting the Centenial Games other than Athens was not going to be looked upon favourable, especially a random city in the middle of the US.   I think the bigger problem though was it was only 12 years since the LA Games - that just didn't seem fair for the games to return so soon and it was felt like it more consideration was made to US broadcasters than the Olympic movement.

 

Agree though they probably should get a bit more love than they did, but the commercialisation argument wasn't helped by the cauldron being a giant McDonalds Fries package sat on a load of scaffolding.   The moment was only saved by using Mohammed Ali.

 

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