Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Come Celebrate Atlanta's Olympic 20th Anniversary

On the eve of Rio's Olympic adventure, Atlanta will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its 1996 Games at an evening party in Centennial Olympic Park.

The downtown gathering is free and open to the public on July 16 starting at 6 p.m.

According to a press release from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), the entity charged with managing the park, the "Relive The Dream" event will be "star-studded" and feature food trucks, live entertainment and fireworks.

"The festivities will celebrate the glories of the Games, reuniting the athletic heroes, the organizing team and fans at the greatest lasting [1996 Olympic] legacy -- 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park," according to the release.

The event is also an "Olympic volunteer reunion," and according to Atlanta-based members of the pin collecting group Olympin, there will be tables available for trading and sharing favorite pin or Games-time stories. A spokeswoman for GWCCA said their "might" be a "Relive The Dream" pin created for the event.

Anticipated star athletes for the party include 10-time Olympic medalist and Sports Illustrated "Olympian of the Century" track and field legend Carl Lewis, Olympic swimming gold medalists Janet Evans and Amy Van Dyken, Olympic basketball gold medalist Teresa Edwards, and a reunion of the gold-medal winning "Magnificent Seven" U.S. women's gymnastics team including Kerri Strug, Shannon Miller, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Jaycie Phelps, Amanda Borden and Dominique Moceanu. 

Earlier on July 16, Evans -- a vice chair and director of athlete relations for the Los Angeles 2024 bid committee -- will host a private "Town Hall" meeting at which many more Atlanta-based Olympians are expected. In a conversation following the Muhammad Ali Memorial Service in Louisville last month, Evans told me the town hall format was a hit with participants in Miami and Chicago during spring 2016. Since the Ali event in June, a third town hall took place during the USA Swimming Olympic Trials in Omaha last week.

Dignitaries scheduled to appear at Centennial Olympic Park include Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Ambassador Andrew Young, who with Billy Payne led the Atlanta Olympic bid and Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG). 

Payne first announced the July 16 party at last September's private "Dreamers & Believers" gathering of Atlanta Olympic bid team members. 

Scheduled entertainment includes country music artist Colby Dee, the folk and Americana duo Banks & Shane, and the gospel-influenced SEEiT Choir.

Since the 1996 Games, Centennial Olympic Park attracted $2.2 billion of new downtown development, including nine hotels, residential towers and attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and Center for Civil and Human Rights.

The park recently launched a new "adopt-a-brick" program inspired by the 1996 brick campaign that created the footprints and park space enjoyed by tens of millions of visitors during the last 20 years.

See you July 16!

Logo and park image via GWCCA; Payne photo by Nicholas Wolaver


Mel Ahlborn said...

This year also marks the 20th Anniversary of the Flair Across America, the 26-foot high gymnast in GWCC Georgia International Plaza. The monumental Flair Across America was born out of a relationship between Billy Paine, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) Chairman and CEO, and Richard MacDonald, a master of figurative sculpture. Celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of the Flair Across America include afternoon receptions with internationally-renowned artist Richard MacDonald, historic exhibitions and the 20th Anniversary Flair Across America Platinum Commemorative Collection. Learn more at flairacrossamerica.com. ~ Mel Ahlborn

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