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Athens 2004

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Atlanta had won the right to stage the centenary Games ahead of Athens. The Olympic movement was shaken when two people died after a bomb explosion in a city centre park and organisational chaos developed into a recurring nightmare for athletes and spectators alike.

Against a background of raw southern rock 'n' roll and soul music throbbing throughout the hot nights, the Games prospered after a poignant opening ceremony when Muhammad Ali, trembling with the effects of Parkinson's syndrome, lit the Olympic flame.

Michael Johnson completed the 200-400 double, emitting a roar of delight and relief after setting a world record 19.32 seconds in the 200.

Donovan Bailey won the 100 metres in a world record 9.84 seconds then anchored the Canadian 4x100 team to an immensely satisfying victory over the United States.

Lewis, competing in his final Games, won his ninth gold medal with a fourth consecutive long jump title and Russian Alexander Popov retained the 100 metres freestyle title.



** In a surprise move the IOC voted in favour of Atlanta, USA to host the 1996 Games. Athens, Greece was the favourite to hold the Centennial Games. (Athens will now host the 2004 Games)

** The Olympic Flame at Atlanta in 1996 was lit by former heavyweight boxing world champion Mohammad Ali, who had won a gold as Cassius Clay in the 1960 Games.

** American Carl Lewis who won the long jump in 1996 became the only third person in Olympic history to win the same individual event four times - in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996. He also became the fourth athlete to earn nine career gold medals.

** Britain's Steve Redgrave won the coxless pairs in 1996 to become the first rower to earn a gold medals in four different Games.

** Turkey's Naim Suleymanoglu in 1996 became the first weightlifter to win three successive golds.

** Russia's Aleksandr Karelin who won the gold in the Greco-Roman super-heavyweight category in 1996 became the first wrestler to win the same division on three occasions.

** Germany's Birgit Schmidt won her fifth gold medal in kayak canoeing in 1996, sixteen years after her first victory to become the first woman to earn golds so far apart.

** Austria's yachtsman Hubert Raudaschl broke the Olympic record of having competed in nine Games from 1964 to 1996.

** In the freestyle wrestling middleweight division in the 1996 Games the Jabrailov brothers Elmadi and Tucuman representing two different countries - Kazakhstan and Moldova respectively - faced each other in the second round. The former won the high-scoring but unusually friendly encounter 10-8.

** Former men's hockey champions India finished eight at Atlanta in 1996. Its worst ever performance in history.

** Nigeria who won the football gold in 1996 became the first African nation to do so.


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