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|The site below was placed online in July & August, 1996, and has largely been left in its original form|
Even though the ceremony was running late (like anything associated with the Olympics), I knew that the lighting of the cauldron was scheduled for ten minutes after the last audience participation stunt. So I moved to the very top of the stadium, and looked over the back just in time to see former Olympian Al Oerter carrying the torch on it's last leg outside the stadium.
I saw him hand it off on the video screen, and instantly recognized fellow Atlantan, Evander Holyfield, who headed into the tunnel to come up in the center of the field. Thinking that A.C.O.G. had made a wise, safe, and obvious choice, I was yanked back to reality when Evander handed off to Janet Evans.
No longer sure of anything, I shot her as she came up the ramp, and disappeared from my line of sight. On the video screen, I saw her light the torch of Muhammad Ali, and I choked up. I'm glad I didn't have a shot at that, because it gave me the chance to stand there and savor that moment, and cheer through the tears.
Some may say the Opening Ceremonies are just a glorified Hollywood production. If so, they managed to push all my buttons, tug at my heart, and make me proud to be an Atlantan. And if they're that good at what they do, they'd be touring the country giving cities a *feel-good* shot. But it wouldn't work. It wouldn't be the Centennial Olympics. And it wouldn't be Atlanta....
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