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Architectural models of Olympic venues. A lacquered flower bouquet like those presented to gold medalists. Licensed Olympic merchandise, from dolls and key chains to motor oil and wine. Oh, and pins—lots and lots of pins.
We recently took a trip to the Izzy archives, where we found memorabilia that in some cases was as strange than the mascot itself.
John Ryan settled on a character that was neither human nor animal. It resembled a blue tear, with hands sprouting three fingers and a thumb, lightning eyebrows, and a big, sheepish grin.
Athletes, musicians, local leaders, and metro Atlanta residents share their memories of the games—taking home the gold, chauffeuring Muhammad Ali, collecting pins, riding MARTA, performing for Bill and Hillary Clinton, and more.
Johnnie B. Hall, the Georgia state trooper assigned to Muhammad Ali during the 1996 Olympics, remembers the moment that defined the Atlanta Games
The retired Georgia state trooper recalled the week he spent with “The Greatest,” who on Friday night died at age 74 after being treated in Phoenix hospital for respiratory complications.
Between three syllables uttered on September 18, 1990, everything changed in Atlanta, and so did our city’s place in the world.
Atlanta poured $1 billion into an Olympic building frenzy—supplemented by cash from TV rights, corporate sponsorships, and ticket sales. This generated a $5 billion economic impact that summer, and decades of population growth and international investment. But how have those construction projects paid off?
In 1990, when Atlanta beat out Athens to host the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, it was an impressive come-from-behind win, even for a former University of Georgia football star. William “Billy” Porter Payne, an All-SEC defensive end for the Dawgs and Dunwoody real estate lawyer, dreamed up Atlanta’s quixotic bid and served as CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
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