Centennial Olympic Stadium

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Centennial Olympic Stadium
Location Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Owner Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority
Operator Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games
Capacity 85,000
Surface Grass
Broke ground July 10, 1993
Opened May 18, 1996
Renovated 1996-97 (reconfigured as Turner Field)
Construction cost $209 million[1]
($316 million in 2016 dollars[2])
Architect Atlanta Stadium Design Team (a joint venture of Heery International, Inc., Rosser International, Inc., Williams-Russell and Johnson, Inc. and Ellerbe Becket, Inc.)[3]
1996 Summer Olympics
1996 Summer Paralympics

Centennial Olympic Stadium was the 85,000-seat main stadium of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and the 1996 Summer Paralympic 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.[4][5] After the Olympics and Paralympics, it was reconstructed into the baseball-specific Turner Field, used by the Atlanta Braves for 20 seasons (1997–2016). After the Braves departed for SunTrust Park, the facility was purchased by Georgia State University, which is reconstructing the stadium a second time as Georgia State Stadium, designed for American football.


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.[6] 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 since the 71,000 seat Georgia Dome had been completed 4 years earlier by the state of Georgia and became the home of the Atlanta Falcons. 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 occupied the revised stadium from 1997 until 2016.[7] The Braves vacated the facility at the end of their lease in 2016 and are moving to SunTrust Park; Turner Field and the adjacent site of the former Fulton County Stadium are now set to be be redeveloped into athletics facilities (most notably a football stadium) for Georgia State University.

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 football, 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 (6.4 km) road race ends inside the stadium near the warning track where the finish line was located for the Olympics.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Sandomir, Richard (July 30, 1996). "At Close of Games, Braves Will Move Into Olympic Stadium". The New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2008. 
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ Turner Field architect: Ellerbe Becket official site
  4. ^ 1996 Summer Olympics official report.[permanent dead link] Volume 1. p. 542.
  5. ^ 1996 Summer Olympics official report.[permanent dead link] Volume 3. p. 449.
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Kendrick, Scott. "Turner Field". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 

External links[edit]

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

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

Succeeded by
Stadium Australia

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