The 1996 games were special because they marked the 100th anniversary of the Olympic Games. Atlanta became the world centre of sports between 19 July and 4 August 1996. Slovenians will remember the games by two Olympic medals and the presence of Leon Štukelj at the Opening Ceremony as the oldest living Olympian.
Time and Place: Athens (USA); 19 July – 4 August 1996
Other candidates: Athens, Toronto, Melbourne, Manchester, Belgrade
Participation: 197 countries, 10,318 athletes
Number of sports: 26 sports, 271 events
Fire lit by: Muhammad Ali (boxing)
Games opened by: Bill Clinton (President of the USA)
Olympic oath: Teresa Edwards (basketball)
Motto: The celebration of the century
Trivia from the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympic Games
The opening of the Atlanta games was a dramatic and emotional event. The fire was lit by legendary boxer Muhammad Ali who also received a replacement medal for the gold he won at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. The former athlete who later began suffering from Parkinson's disease, lit the Olympic fire with a shaking hand and created unbelievable excitement. The very beginning of the Games foretold a spectacle of grand proportions. The great event, marked by exceptional athletes in all sports, was marked by a dark shadow of a bomb explosion on 27th July in Century Park, killing one person.
Leon Štukelj was invited to the opening ceremony as the oldest living Olympian in the world and he astounded everybody with his vitality at age 98.
The Games crowned many heroes. American fans who among others celebrated a new gold medal won by Carl Lewis, were brought to delirium by Michael Johnson, Olympic champion runner at 200 and 400 meter distances. The American chamption crossed the finish line in his 200 meter race and the clocks stopped at 19.32, setting a new milestone. The Games were marked also by the achievements of Alexei Nemov, Garry Hall, Donovan Bayley, Alexander Popov ... At the national level, Americans ruled the field to the joy of the local fans, winning 101 medals, 44 of them gold.