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This Day in Georgia History

September 18, 1990

Atlanta Announced as Host of 1996 Summer Olympic Games

After years of hard work by Atlanta and other cities around the world competing to host the 1996 Summer Olympics, it was finally time for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to announce its decision as to host city. The IOC was meeting in Tokyo, where representatives from each competing city were present to hear the decision. Atlanta’s delegation included Gov. Joe Frank Harris, mayor Maynard Jackson, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and Atlanta Organizing Committee president Billy Payne. Back in Georgia, a large crowd gathered at Underground Atlanta, joined by Georgians across the state, to watch the early morning live television announcement from Tokyo. Finally, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch took the podium. As Georgians held their breath, he gave the never-to-be-forgotten pronouncement, “The International Olympic Committee has awarded the 1996 Olympic Games to the city of … Atlanta.” As everyone from the Atlanta delegation jumped to their feet and hugged each other, the jubilant crowd in Atlanta went wild. In fact, what followed was an unplanned celebration at Underground Atlanta that continued all day and into the night.