Centennial Olympic Stadium

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Centennial Olympic Stadium
Centennial Olympic Stadium.
Location Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Broke ground July 10, 1993
Opened May 18, 1996
Renovated 1996-97 (reconfigured as Turner Field)
Operator Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games
Surface Grass
Construction cost $ 207 million
Architect Heery International
Rosser International
Williams-Russell and Johnson
Ellerbe Becket
Capacity 85,000
Tenants
1996 Summer Olympics
1996 Summer Paralympics

Centennial Olympic Stadium was the 85,000-seat main stadium of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Construction of the stadium began in 1993, and it was complete and ready for the Opening Ceremony in July 1996, where it hosted track and field events and the closing ceremony.[1][2] After the Olympics and Paralympics, it was reconstructed into the baseball-specific Turner Field.

During the week-long athletics program, the stadium bore witness to Donovan Bailey of Canada winning the 100 m in a world record time of 9.84 s; Michael Johnson winning both the 200 and 400 metres titles, breaking the 200 m world record in the process; and France's Marie-José Pérec also winning the 200/400 double. Meanwhile, Carl Lewis won his fourth consecutive Olympic title in the long jump, becoming only the second person, after Al Oerter, to win the same athletics event at four consecutive Games.

After the closing ceremony of the 1996 Paralympics, the stadium was officially leased by the Atlanta Braves. Private entities, including NBC and other Olympic sponsors, agreed to pay a large sum of the cost to build Centennial Olympic Stadium (approximately $170 million of the $209 million bill). The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) sought to build the stadium in a way that it could be converted to a new baseball stadium, and ACOG paid for the conversion.[3] This was considered a good agreement for both the Olympic Committee and the Braves, because there would be no use for a permanent 85,000 seat track and field stadium in Downtown Atlanta, as the 71,000 seat Georgia Dome had been completed 4 years earlier by the state of Georgia. Furthermore, the Braves had already been exploring opportunities for a new venue to replace Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. The Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority owns Turner Field and the Atlanta Braves have leased the field through 2016.[4]

The southwest corner of the Olympic Stadium was built to accommodate the future baseball infield and seating. This is easily seen in aerial views and diagrams of the stadium in its Olympic configuration, where the seats are not placed next to the oval running track. The southwest part of the stadium also had four tiers of seats, luxury boxes, a facade facing the street, and a roof, whereas the north half of the stadium used a simpler two-tiered seating configuration. During reconstruction, the athletics track was removed and relocated to the field hockey stadium located at Clark Atlanta University, which uses it for athletics and gridiron, and the north half of the stadium was demolished, reducing the capacity to 49,000. Because of the need to fit a track within the stadium in its earlier incarnation, the field of play, particularly foul territory, while not large by historical standards, is still larger than most new MLB stadiums.

Reconstruction was complete in 1997, and the facility was renamed Turner Field. Afterward, the 1960s-era Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, the Braves' previous home and the venue for the Olympics baseball events, was imploded.

The Atlanta Track Club's annual Father's Day four-mile (6.4km) road race ends inside the stadium near the warning track where the finish line was located for the Olympics.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1996 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. p. 542.
  2. ^ 1996 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 3. p. 449.
  3. ^ Sandomir, Richard (1996-07-30). "At Close of Games, Braves Will Move Into Olympic Stadium". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Archived from the original on 2008-06-28. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  4. ^ Kendrick, Scott. "Turner Field". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc
Barcelona
Summer Olympics
Opening and Closing Ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)

1996
Succeeded by
Stadium Australia
Sydney
Preceded by
Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc
Barcelona
Olympic Athletics competitions
Main Venue

1996
Succeeded by
Stadium Australia
Sydney

Coordinates: 33°44′08″N 84°23′22″W / 33.73556°N 84.38944°W / 33.73556; -84.38944