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Old 07-01-2012, 11:45 PM
Location: Atlanta
284 posts, read 456,313 times
Reputation: 255


I was part of the "Dream Team" -NOT the basketball team,but "ambassador" students who were part of the team assembled to bring the Olympics to Atlanta. The actual announcement was surreal. I remember watching the olympic torch being ran down Broad St. in Rome while perched from the edge of the cemetery overlooking the town. I also attended the opening ceremonies, the archery events, some of the horse events in Conyers, and some swimming at Tech. At the time I also worked as a courier in atlanta...that was most interesting: despite most people fearing gridlock downtown, most streets were empty and it was very easy to get around/find parking/park on a street and just walk wherever.

I did buy a brick, and oddly, despite living in midtown, didn't "visit" it until just a few years ago!

The best part was hanging out near the olympic village-- my gay male friends had a MUCH better time than I did is all I have to say :> but it was awesome being in atlanta and having so many international visitors, 24/7 alcohol, and a very different party vibe than what we were used to seeing. however we also happened to be in centennial park the night of the bombing...we had just walked into it proper, and everyone was running out screaming and yelling. i have never seen so many emergency vehicles in my life. the whole 911 call thing was a huge embarrassment. i wonder if you can still see the nail "scar" left over from the bombing?

Izzy/WhatizIt were just tragic messes of mascotdom. However I thought the leaf/100/greek column logo was very well done. I don't feel so bad about Izzy/Whatizit after seeing the London mascots though! I remember the last-minute panic to throw up some "public art" around town, and how the Phoenix statue was moved from in front of the AJC to a more prominent place at Woodruff. Some of the art(like the actual flame tower at the Ted) is rather cheap-looking/90s looking and in my mind will not age well. But seeing Mohammed Ali light the torch was an amazing moment.

We do have several amenities left over from the Olympics which are a nice legacy. Its hard to imagine the Tech area without the athlete dorms overlooking the connector, or Centennial Park now serving as the anchor for our tourist attractions. Looking back it seems a bit crazy that we were able to pull it off at all when you think about how much more Atlanta has developed since the 90s.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:32 AM
Location: Atlanta
6,458 posts, read 7,262,868 times
Reputation: 4205
Originally Posted by rcsteiner View Post
Objective information about the transportation tax appears to be quite hard to come by unless you go out of your way to hunt it down online.

I know what is involved based on my own research and interest in the subject, but most voters will be voting on little more than general gut reactions.
I hear you on that one!

I went to the Gwinnett meeting in Lawrenceville, because I happened to have Jury Duty on that day!

The one thing I couldn't get over was the Gwinnett tea party group there (there were only maybe a dozen of them, but they were just loud and combative).

Well the lady who was the spokesperson (and the one that was continuously getting her name in the paper and writing editorials on behalf of the tea party) took her couple of minutes to talk about how it was all a transit tax to build MARTA into Gwinnett and everything else was a lie.

I wanted to to hit my head on the wall! Unlike Cobb, the vast majority of our share is actually going to road projects... most of which area actually pretty popular if you ask people individually about them (and not mention TSPLOST)

Local opinions on the street seem to be better, but most don't know specifics.

Anyways back to the original subject....

We had the Olympics! Yay!

Izzy! Boo!

Bombing... bad!

Drinks... good!

Pins for everyone!
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:47 AM
Location: atlanta
3,966 posts, read 4,560,126 times
Reputation: 3211
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post
You know... one more thing to add to the mix...

Compared to today.. there was more of a sense of unity around Atlanta. From people I meet and comments I read on these boards soo many more people today don't seem to have much of an affiliation with Atlanta.

They recently moved here... live in Forsyth or what not and never venture into town.

During that era we still had a city-centric mentality. Yes, people moved all the way out to Cobb and Gwinnett, but they were definitely Atlanta centric suburbs at the time.
i have to disagree— we certainly have a TON of folks who live out in the suburbs and have nothing to do with atlanta, but intown atlanta certainly has a sense of unity— you see folks you know all the time, see john lewis shopping at the kroger, the same unique characters in piedmont park. if you're in town there is really a sense of community.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:37 AM
744 posts, read 2,051,908 times
Reputation: 542
What I remember was how beautiful the state and city looked. Wild flowers planted along highways and blooming everywhere along the highways.Landscaped areas in downtown where trashy areas had been before. The Tech Aquadic Center beautifully lit at night.How exciting it was to be hosting this thing and so many other things
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:21 AM
Location: Savannah GA
13,126 posts, read 15,928,232 times
Reputation: 9150
One thing many people do not know about the 1996 Atlanta Olympics: it was the first event in history that "attempted" to be reported to the world via some new-fangled medium called the World Wide Web. I was working in the Olympic Press Cemter at the Apparel Mart, where Olympic sponsor IBM had set up this elaborate computer system that was *supposed* to deliver results immediately to registered news agencies and then around the globe. It was a complete and total failure, almost. The thing only worked it fits and spurts and most media outlets resorted to receiving and sending information out over the wires. Inside the press center, you could pick up and read HUNDREDS of newspapers from around the world, everyday! How they manages to fly them all in I'll never know. But that was the only way reporters could see what the end product looked like -- there was no Internet and email was a luxury! The AJC published 24/7 around the clock -- AJC.com was not launched until the following year! And they were one of the first major metro papers to do so. The technology that waa created for the Atlanta games was directly responsible for the rapid development of news web sites in the late 1990s! PUT YOUR HEAD AROUND THAT!
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:19 AM
1,347 posts, read 1,005,296 times
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I didn't live in Atlanta but in Murray County in north GA at the time and the torch went by not 50 ft from my front door. The company I worked for at the time was a big sponser of the games so all the employees were given bags,cups,hats,towels etc. all with the olympic rings on them. The company gave away at least a couple hundred tickets to different events and ceremonies. T.V.'s were brought in and we watched the games at work every day. Lots of good memories!!!
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Old 07-02-2012, 12:03 PM
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For anyone who wants to relive the Atlanta Olympic experience, the Atlanta History Center has a permanent exhibit on the Centennial Olympic Games. You can see old footage, hear the music, look at memorabilia and take an interactive quiz. It really is well done.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:46 PM
88 posts, read 103,483 times
Reputation: 85
I remember the Olympics quite vividly, it was amazing and one of the best summer's ever. Wish we could have had it every year, at least that's what I thought as a 14 year old who didn't have to drive in the traffic, though yeah the traffic wasn't nearly as dire as predicted. Anyway, it was a great time, we had my family from Michigan down that stayed at our house and we went into town every day that first week of the Games. I actually did get to go to a sporting event, I saw the Dream Team play Lithuania at the Dome. Was cool to have basketball played there though the sight lines weren't great, we were in the upper deck on the end.

Great memories though being down at the park, walking through the streets. Sure it was a carnival atmosphere, I didn't find it as tacky as many, it was an event, it was cool to be around people from around the world. Of course riding MARTA being close to all of those people after a warm afternoon wasn't very comfy. That was kind of crazy, didn't experience that many on the subway until Obama's inauguration in D.C. Anyway, it was an epic 16 days. Hated the bombing though, I remember how somber the mood was that next day. My family left that morning and I was up all night watching the coverage. I have 3 hours of the coverage taped on VHS.

Oh and each Olympics there is a sport that I pay a lot of attention to and watch more and in 96 it was tennis. I grew to love it and eventually played it in school, hosted tournaments in my neighborhood years later. They used to have an "Olympic extra" coverage just for Atlanta during the afternoons between the national coverage on NBC and they'd always show tennis. I tried to watch every bit of the Olympics since it was in my hometown.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:56 PM
Location: Savannah GA
13,126 posts, read 15,928,232 times
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Anybody remember the "Countdown to the Olympics" digital clock that hung on each side of the Civic Center MARTA station over the Downtown Connector? It began counting backward from Day 1,000 I think and we didn't think the games would EVER get here. To this day, every time I drive under there I look up expecting to see it. So sad.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:42 AM
3,408 posts, read 8,485,552 times
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For some reason, I've been more nostalgic about the '96 Olympics now than any other olympics year. Maybe because this year has a similar feel culturally and politically. I was just watching Muhammad Ali lighting the torch last night on YouTube. One thing I remember about the Olympics is the weather, which gave people all over the world that it rains a lot in Atlanta (and its hot and humid). I was working at a Wendy's and met a lot of people who were there for the games, and I remember a group of four girls who were friends of a U.S. diver (she might have won a medal, but I'm not sure, but I did see her name on TV later on).

Aside from the Olympics, the summer of '96 had a lot of good memories overall. I remember the Macarena and "Independence Day", but the best memory about that summer is the trip to Colorado.
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