1996 Summer Olympics torch relay

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Games of the XXVI Olympiad
Host city Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Countries visited Greece, United States of America
Distance 26,875 kilometres (16,699 mi)
Torch bearers 12,467
Start date April 27, 1996
End date July 19, 1996[1]
Torch designer Malcolm Grear

The 1996 Summer Olympics torch relay was run from April 27, 1996, until July 19, 1996, prior to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.[1] The route covered 26,875 kilometres (16,699 mi) across the United States and included a trek on the Pony Express, a ride on the Union Pacific Railroad, and a torch was taken into space for the first time. The relay involved over 12,000 torchbearers, including Muhammad Ali, whose lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony is remembered as one of the most inspiring and emotional moments in Olympic history.

Torch[edit]

Top section of a torch showing the logo of the 1996 Games

The torch was designed by Malcolm Grear and featured 22 aluminum "reeds" intended to represent the number of times that the Games had been held. A gold-plated band towards the base of the torch features the names of all 20 host cities up to and including Atlanta while the logo is etched into another band near the top. The handle, made of Georgia hardwood by Hillerich & Bradsby Co, maker of Louisville Slugger bats, is found near the center of the 76 centimetres (30 in) torch.[2][3] In total it weighed 1,600 grams (56 oz).[3] Torchbearers were allowed to purchase for $275 the torch that they had carried.[4]

Route[edit]

A runner carrying the torch during the relay

The initial journey of the Olympic flame always begins in Olympia. Over 800 people carried the torch a distance of 2,141 kilometres (1,330 mi) across Greece, the most extensive in the history of the Games.[3] The flame then landed at Los Angeles International Airport on April 27, 1996, and was met with a welcome ceremony. The first torchbearer of the American part of the relay, Rafer Johnson, was the final torchbearer at the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles.[5] It went on to visit 42 states and 29 state capitols along a journey of 26,875 kilometres (16,699 mi).[2][3] The torch was carried by 12,467 bearers including 2,000 former Olympians or other people somehow linked to the Olympic movement, 5,500 people who had been nominated locally as "community heroes", and 2,500 people picked out in a draw.[3][4]

The route was designed to take in as many historically and culturally significant locations as possible.[5] The torch was first carried to Santa Monica Pier and was greeted at the first of hundreds of celebratory events. It then proceeded along the coast and up to Kingman, Arizona, at which point it joined the famous Route 66, passing close to the Grand Canyon and reaching Hoover Dam. It was carried across by Martha Watson and the world's largest US flag was unfurled across the wall of the dam.[5]

The route featured a wide variety in the methods of transport used, including bicycles, boats, and trains.[2] From Las Vegas the flame was passed onto a special cauldron car on a Union Pacific train, the first of several train journeys. The National Pony Express Association participated in the journey with riders carrying the torch for over 56 continuous hours. On June 12 the torch was taken on board a replica of a 19th-century packet boat and pulled for 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) along Erie Canal by mule.[5] The torch was also carried into space for the first time, with astronauts taking an unlit torch with them aboard Space Shuttle Columbia as part of STS-78.[6][7][8][9] This was replicated during the 2000 Summer Olympics torch relay and as part of the 2014 Winter Olympics torch relay.[9]

While the relay went without any major mishaps there was need for a 15-mile diversion on the route between Baton Rouge and New Orleans – a 310,000 US gallons (1,200,000 l; 260,000 imp gal) gasoline spillage in Gramercy, Louisiana, necessitated the detour.[4]

Date Map

April 27 (Day 1): Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
April 27 (Day 1): Los Angeles
April 27 (Day 1): Santa Monica
April 27 (Day 1): Manhattan Beach
April 27 (Day 1): Seal Beach
April 27 and 28 (Days 1 and 2): Huntington Beach
April 28 (Day 2): Laguna Beach
April 28 (Day 2): Dana Point
April 28 (Day 2): Oceanside
April 28 (Day 2): Carlsbad
April 28 (Day 2): Del Mar
April 28 (Day 2): La Jolla
April 28 (Day 2): San Diego
April 28 (Day 2): Otay Lakes
April 28 and 29 (Days 2 & 3): Chula Vista
April 29 (Day 3): Jacumba
April 29 (Day 3): Calexico
April 29 (Day 3): Yuma

1996 Summer Olympics torch relay is located in southern California
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April 30 (Day 4): Yuma
April 30 (Day 4): Phoenix
April 30 (Day 4): Sun City
April 30 (Day 4): Kingman

May 1 (Day 5): Kingman
May 1 (Day 5): Hoover Dam
May 1 (Day 5): Boulder City
May 1 (Day 5): Henderson
May 1 (Day 5): Las Vegas

May 2 (Day 6): Las Vegas
May 2 (Day 6): Barstow
May 2 (Day 6): Santa Barbara
May 2 (Day 6): San Luis Obispo
May 2 and 3 (Days 6 and 7): San Jose
May 3 (Day 7): Santa Clara
May 3 (Day 7): Sunnyvale
May 3 (Day 7): San Mateo
May 3 (Day 7): Foster City
May 3 and 4 (Days 7 & 8): San Francisco
May 4 (Day 8): Napa
May 4 (Day 8): Davis
May 4 (Day 8): Sacramento
May 4 (Day 8): Redding
May 5 (Day 9): Torch enters Oregon via a Union Pacific train

May 5 (Day 9): Klamath Falls
May 5 (Day 9): Eugene
May 5 (Day 9): Corvallis
May 5 (Day 9): Salem
May 5 (Day 9): Oregon City
May 5 and 6 (Days 9 and 10): Portland
May 6 (Day 10): St. Helens
May 6 (Day 10): Columbia City
May 6 (Day 10): Rainier

May 6 (Day 10): Longview
May 6 (Day 10): Centralia
May 6 and 7 (Days 10 and 11): Olympia
May 7 (Day 11): Tacoma
May 7 (Day 11): Gig Harbor
May 7 (Day 11): Bremerton
May 7 and 8 (Days 11 and 12): Seattle
May 8 (Day 12): Renton
May 8 and 9 (Days 12 and 13): Yakima

May 9 (Day 13): Pendleton

1996 Summer Olympics torch relay is located in Oregon
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May 9 (Day 13): Boise
May 9 (Day 13): Pocatello

1996 Summer Olympics torch relay is located in Idaho
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May 9 and 10 (Days 13 and 14): Ogden
May 10 (Day 14): North Salt Lake
May 10 and 11 (Days 14 and 15): Salt Lake City
May 11 (Day 15): Echo

May 11 (Day 15): Cheyenne

1996 Summer Olympics torch relay is located in Wyoming
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May 12 (Day 16): Cheyenne
May 12 (Day 16): Greeley
May 12 (Day 16): Denver
May 12 and 13 (Days 16 and 17): Colorado Springs
May 13 (Day 17): Limon
May 13 (Day 17): Brush
May 13 (Day 17): Sterling
May 13 (Day 17): Ovid
May 13 (Day 17): Julesburg
May 14 and 15 (Days 18 and 19): Torch enters Missouri via horseback on the Pony Express route

May 15 and 16 (Days 19 and 20): St. Joseph
May 16 (Day 20): Kansas City

1996 Summer Olympics torch relay is located in Missouri
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May 16 (Day 20): Kansas City
May 16 (Day 20): Lawrence
May 16 and 17 (Days 20 and 21): Topeka
May 17 (Day 21): Emporia
May 17 and 18 (Days 21 and 22): Wichita

May 18 (Day 22): Ponca City
May 18 (Day 22): Yale
May 18 and 19 (Days 22 and 23): Stillwater
May 19 (Day 23): Oklahoma City
May 19 (Day 23): Norman

May 19 and 20 (Days 23 and 24): Fort Worth
May 20 (Day 24): Dallas
May 20 and 21 (Days 24 and 25): Waco
May 21 (Day 25): College Station
May 21 (Day 25): Bryan
May 21 and 22 (Days 25 and 26): Houston
May 22 (Day 26): Beaumont
May 22 (Day 26): Orange

May 22 and 23 (Days 26 and 27): Lake Charles
May 23 (Day 27): Crowley
May 23 (Day 27): Lafayette
May 23 (Day 27): Opelousas
May 23 and 24 (Days 27 and 28): Baton Rouge
May 24 (Day 28): Gonzales
May 24 (Day 28): LaPlace
May 24 (Day 28): Destrehan
May 24 (Day 28): Bridge City
May 24 and 25 (Days 28 and 29): New Orleans
May 25 (Day 29): Slidell
May 25 (Day 29): Bogalusa

May 25 (Day 29): Mendenhall
May 25 (Day 29): Jackson
May 25 and 26 (Days 29 and 30): Vicksburg

May 26 (Day 30): Pine Bluff
May 26 (Day 30): Little Rock
May 26 (Day 30): West Memphis

May 26 and 27 (Days 30 and 31): Memphis

1996 Summer Olympics torch relay is located in Tennessee
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May 27 (Day 31): Cape Girardeau
May 27 (Day 31): Ste. Genevieve
May 27 and 28 (Days 31 and 32): Crystal City
May 28 (Day 32): Festus
May 28 (Day 32): St. Louis
May 29 (Day 33): Torch enters Hannibal via steamboat
May 29 and 30 (Days 33 and 34): Hannibal

May 30 (Day 34): Keokuk
May 30 (Day 34): Mount Pleasant
May 30 (Day 34): Iowa City
May 30 and 31 (Days 34 and 35): Cedar Rapids
May 31 (Day 35): Waterloo
May 31 (Day 35): Cedar Falls

May 31 and June 1 (Days 35 and 36): Austin
June 1 (Day 36): Rochester
June 1 and 2 (Days 36 and 37): Minneapolis
June 2 (Day 37): Saint Paul
June 2 (Day 37): Red Wing

June 2 (Day 37): La Crosse
June 2 (Day 37): Wisconsin Dells
June 2 and 3 (Days 37 and 38): Milwaukee
June 3 (Day 38): Kenosha

June 3 (Day 38): Waukegan
June 3 (Day 38): Chicago
June 3 (Day 38): Gary

June 4 (Day 39): Gary
June 4 (Day 39): Lafayette
June 4 (Day 39): Speedway
June 4 and 5 (Days 39 and 40): Indianapolis
June 5 (Day 40): Scottsburg

June 5 and 6 (Days 40 and 41): Louisville
June 6 (Day 41): Prospect
June 6 (Day 41): Warsaw
June 6 (Day 41): Covington
June 6 (Day 41): Cincinnati

June 7 (Day 42): Cincinnati
June 7 (Day 42): Washington Court House
June 7 and 8 (Days 42 and 43): Columbus
June 8 (Day 43): Dublin
June 8 (Day 43): Marysville
June 8 (Day 43): Findlay
June 8 (Day 43): Bowling Green
June 8 (Day 43): Toledo
June 8 (Day 43): Dearborn

June 9 (Day 44): Dearborn
June 9 (Day 44): Flat Rock
June 9 (Day 44): Detroit

June 9 and 10 (Day 44 and 45): Cleveland

1996 Summer Olympics torch relay is located in Ohio
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June 12 (Day 47): Niagara Falls
June 12 (Day 47): Rochester
June 12 (Day 47): Syracuse
June 14 (Day 49): Albany

June 14 (Day 49): Bennington
June 14 (Day 49): Brattleboro
June 14 (Day 49): Nashua

June 14 (Day 49): Kittery

1996 Summer Olympics torch relay is located in Maine
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Sponsorship[edit]

The relay was sponsored by Coca-Cola with accompanying cars, vans, and trucks emblazoned with the logo. Revenue from the drinks sold from the travelling party were donated to charity.[4] As part of the deal Coca-Cola were allowed to choose a quarter of the relay runners. They gave nomination forms away as part of a promotional deal with 12-packs of their cans with the entries largely being selected at random.[10]

Opening ceremony[edit]

Muhammad Ali, the surprise final torchbearer, pictured in 2004

The end of the relay took place on July 19, 1996, at the opening ceremony in Atlanta. Four-time gold medal-winning discus thrower Al Oerter carried the torch to the stadium, passing it to Evander Holyfield. Holyfield was then joined by Voula Patoulidou and the pair passed the flame to American swimmer Janet Evans, the penultimate torchbearer, who carried it around a lap of the track and up a long ramp leading towards the northern end of the stadium.[11][12]

The identity of the final torchbearer had been kept secret and was only revealed when Muhammad Ali appeared at the top of the ramp. Ali, who had won gold at the 1960 Games in Rome and later developed Parkinson's disease, lit a mechanical torch which then travelled along a wire, lighting the cauldron at the top of a 116-foot (35 m) tower.[11][12] His appearance has been referred to as being one of the most inspiring, poignant, and emotional moments in Olympic history.[11][13][14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Longman, Jere (9 December 1995). "OLYMPICS;Torch Run Takes a Wrong Turn". New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "1996 Olympic Torch Relay At a Glance". Washington Post. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Olympic Games Atlanta 1996". Olympic-Museum.de. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Johnson, Dirk (May 26, 1996). "15,000-Mile Olympic Torch Route Gives Lots of People Reasons to FeelGood". New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "The Official Report of the Centennial Olympic Games Volume II" (PDF). The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. pp. 14–53. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ Pearlman, Robert Z. (April 23, 2013). "Cosmonauts May Carry Olympic Torch and 'Flame' on Spacewalk". Space.com. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ "NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project". NASA. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ "STS-78 crew holds up Olympic torch at SLF". V Like Vintage. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Gayle, Damien (September 26, 2013). "Olympic Torch one step closer to first space walk as the astronauts set to carry it into the void arrive at International Space Station". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ Hong, Peter Y. (January 31, 1996). "Teacher to Carry Olympic Torch : Compton educator, nominated by one of her eighth-grade students, is first in Southland to be chosen for the honor.". LA Times. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c "The Official Report of the Centennial Olympic Games Volume II" (PDF). The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. pp. 68–69, 132. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Weinberg, Rick. "8: Ali lights the flame at the 1996 Olympics". ESPN. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  13. ^ Thornburgh, Tristan (July 19, 2013). "On Today's Date: Muhammad Ali Lights the Torch at the 1996 Olympics". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  14. ^ Luckhurst, Samuel (May 31, 2012). "London 2012 Olympics Countdown: Muhammad Ali Prompts Tears At Atlanta 1996". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 8, 2013.