1996 Centennial Olympic Games Honored With Historical Marker

Atlanta, Ga., November 1, 2016 – The Georgia Historical Society unveiled a new Georgia historical marker recognizing the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and honoring the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) as honoree of the Georgia Business History Initiative. The historical marker was erected in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.

Speakers for the dedication were Ambassador Andrew Young and William “Billy” Payne, architects of the bid for the Olympic Games; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Vince Dooley, Georgia Historical Society Chairman; Clyde Tuggle, Senior Vice President, Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer, The Coca-Cola Company; Frank Poe, Executive Director, Georgia World Congress Center Authority; and Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of GHS.

Recalling the confidence that the Olympic Games gave to the city, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed noted that the new historical marker in Centennial Park would serve as a reminder that “The city of Atlanta is a place where you can bring and build your dreams.” He went on to reference President John F. Kennedy in his tribute to the main architects of the city’s successful Olympic bid, pointing out that “Things didn’t just happen in Atlanta – Billy Payne, Ambassador Young…they made a decision and then they made them happen.”

“The 1996 Olympic Games were a watershed moment in Georgia history,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “They brought the world to our state and played a fundamental role in shaping Georgia’s political, economic, and cultural landscape in the twenty-first century. The Georgia Historical Society is also pleased to honor the GWCCA through the Business History Initiative. The story of the Centennial Olympics and the GWCCA will be available in exciting new ways to Georgia students and teachers through GHS educational resources and the new historical marker that we dedicate today.”

Each year the Georgia Historical Society selects iconic companies as honorees of the prestigious Georgia Business History Initiative.  Through the Business History Initiative, GHS seeks to teach Georgia students, citizens and tourists alike about the pivotal role of Georgia’s leading businesses in the economic, cultural and social development of Georgia and the United States.

The Historical Marker reads:

1996 Summer Olympics
Games of the XXVI Olympiad

From July 19 through August 4, 1996, Atlanta hosted the Centennial Summer Olympic Games, the largest event in Atlanta’s history. In 1990, the International Olympic Committee chose Atlanta over five other cities. Atlanta attorney Billy Payne and Mayor Andrew Young were the prime architects of the winning bid. Preparations had an estimated economic impact of at least $5.14 billion. Civic leaders built new sports venues, created park space, improved sidewalks and streets, and altered housing patterns. During the Olympics more than 2 million visitors came to Atlanta, and an estimated 3.5 billion people around the world watched on television. For the first time, all nations invited sent athletes, more than 10,000 competitors from 197 nations. The 1996 Olympics promoted Atlanta’s image as an international city, positioning it to play an important role in global commerce.


Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
To learn more visit georgiahistory.com.

Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) now includes Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 3.9 million- square-foot convention center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park. Additionally, GWCCA manages operations of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. These public facilities represent the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. This past year, the GWCCA hosted 555 events and welcomed more than 2.4 million visitors who generated $1.33 billion in economic impact to the State of Georgia.

The Georgia Historical Society has administered Georgia’s historical marker program since 1998, erecting over 250 new historical markers and maintaining over 2,100 older markers across Georgia on a wide variety of subjects. Now, online mapping tools allow you to design statewide driving routes based on historical markers, while mobile apps give information about markers nearby. Visit georgiahistory.com for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.