Memorable Moments in the 1996 Olympic Games
Centennial Olympic Park Bombing
On July 27, 1996 at around 1:20AM, 3 pipebombs were set off in the Centennial Olympic Park. 111 people were injured by the blast and Alice Hawthorne was killed by shrapnel. Eric Robert Rudolph was the man who planted the bomb in the crowded section of Atlanta. The bombing was first scene live on TV when an interview was interupted with U.S. swimmer Janet Evans in a nearby building by the blast. Later that day the events continued and President Bill Clinton addressed the nation on the issue. Rudolph is currently serving three life sentences for the bombing in Atlanta in the nations highest security prison. Today at the Centennial Olympic Park there is a memorial for the bombing with a piece of the shrapnel still in artwork.
Muhammad Ali Lights the Cauldron
The 1996 Olympics started off with one of the most memorable events of the Games. 1960 Boxing champion Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic Cauldron to conclude the Opening Ceremonies. He was suffering from Parkinson's Disease, which made the moment even more inspirational. The secret for who was going to be the final torch bearer was kept extremely tight, until Janet Evans ran up from the Olympic Stadium field to pass it along to The Greatest.
Carl Lewis' Final Olympics
One of the greatest Olympians of all time, Carl Lewis, concluded his extraordinary career in the Atlanta Olympic Stadium. He only qualified for one event, the long jump, making him the only athlete to qualify for the same event in 5 Olympiads. On the third jump, Lewis got a length of 8.5m to secure him his gold medal. After the win, there was talk about him joining the Men's 4x100m relay, but after talk and controversy he was not selected and retired after the games, ending one of the most memorable Olympic careers.
Michael Johnson's World Record 200m
On August 1st, in his golden Nike shoes, Michael Johnson flew into history with his 19.32 sprint in the 200m. His world record run gave him his second individual gold of the Centennial Games. His emotional victory became one of the trademark races of the 1996 Olympics. Currently, his record seems to be untouchable. The closest time is 3 tenths slower.
USA Gymnastic's Team Gold Medal Win
The "Magnificent Seven", which was made up of Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden, and Jaycie Phelps, stole America's heart during the 1996 Olympics. Since the 1950s no team compared to the Soviet's gymnastics team, but in 1996 on home turf, the team surprised the world. The most memorable and inspirational moment came down to the final event. During the vault Strug injured her ankle on her first try. With a severely sprained ankle, she needed a perfect landing to win. Just as she nailed the landing and lifted her leg in pain, the team knew they won.