Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
1996 Summer Olympics
Games of the XXVI Olympiad
|Athletes participating||10,320 (6,797 men, 3,523 women)|
|Events||271 in 26 sports|
|Opening ceremonies||July 19, 1996|
|Closing ceremonies||August 4, 1996|
|Officially opened by||President Bill Clinton|
|Athlete's Oath||Teresa Edwards|
|Judge's Oath:||Hobie Billingsley|
|Olympic Torch||Muhammad Ali|
The 1996 Summer Olympics, formally known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and informally known as the Centennial Olympics, were held in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Atlanta was selected in 1990 above Athens, Belgrade, Manchester, Melbourne and Toronto. Athens had hoped to organise the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games. The IOC's vote for Atlanta was therefore slightly surprising, however the reasoning was that Athens' infrastructure could not be improved enough in time to successfully host the Games. It was later claimed (but never substantiated) that several of the IOC's key voters were bribed by pro-Atlanta executives with considerable amounts of money, expensive luxury cars, and even prostitutes in order to quash the other candidates' chances for the hosting bid.
The 1996 Summer Olympics are regarded as one of the least successful of the modern games. The problem of traffic congestion sometimes made travel between venues difficult. The major presence of advertisements, especially Atlanta-based Coca-Cola marketed on every available surface, made these games "overcommercialized". Also during the games, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing took place on July 27, 1996 killing Alice Hawthorne and wounding 111 others, and eliciting the death of Melih Uzunyol by heart attack. In his closing speech, Juan Antonio Samaranch, head of the IOC, for the first time did not describe the games as being the "best ever."
The Olympiad's official theme, "Summon the Heroes", was written by John Williams, making it the third Olympiad for which he has composed. The official song was "Reach", written (with Diane Warren) and performed by Gloria Estefan.
(to be expanded to a day-by-day article)
- Slovene gymnast Leon Štukelj arises at the open ceremony as one of the oldest living sportsmen in the world.
- Naim Süleymanoğlu becomes the first weightlifter to win three gold medals.
- Michael Johnson wins gold in both the 200 m and 400 m, setting an amazing new World Record of 19.32 seconds in the 200 m.
- Donovan Bailey of Canada wins the men's 100 m, setting a new World Record of 9.84 seconds at that time.
- Marie-José Perec equals Johnson's performance, also winning the rare 200 m/400 m double.
- Softball, beach volleyball and mountainbiking debut on the Olympic programme, together with women's football (soccer) and lightweight rowing.
- Cycling professionals were admitted to the Olympics, with five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Induráin winning the inaugural individual time trial event.
- Michelle Smith of Ireland wins three gold medals and a bronze, but her victories are overshadowed by doping allegations, which are later reinforced as she is banned after failing a test in 1999.
- Amy Van Dyken wins four gold medals in the Olympic swimming pool, the first American woman to win four titles in a single Olympics.
- A record 197 nations, all current IOC member nations, take part, with a record 79 of them winning at least one medal.
- Five athletes were disqualified for using banned drugs. A few more were reinstated since the drug they took had been declared illegal only a week before the Olympics.
- Kerri Strug becomes an American heroine after bringing victory to the American female gymnastics team in spite of having to perform with an injury in the final event. Her gymnastics team also includes Dominique Dawes and Dominique Moceanu.
See the medal winners, ordered by sport:
Top medal-collecting nations at the 1996 Summer Olympics:
(for the full table, see 1996 Summer Olympics medal count)
|1996 Summer Olympics medal count|
- 1996 Summer Olympics medal productivity
- For a list of medals per capita and similar statistics, see http://simon.forsyth.net/olympics1996.html .
- 1996 Summer Paralympics
- International Olympic Committee
- WikiProject Sports Olympics
- IOC country codes
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