Atlanta’s Olympic Resurgence
How the 1996 Games Revived a Struggling City
Michael Dobbins, Leon S. Eplan, Randal Roark
The summer of 1996. In nineteen days, six million visitors jostled about in a southern city grappling with white flight, urban decay and the stifling legacy of Jim Crow. Six years earlier, a bold, audacious partnership of a strong mayor, enlightened business leaders and Atlanta's Black political leadership dared to bid on hosting the 1996 Olympic Games. Unexpectedly, the city won, an achievement that ignited a loose but robust coalition that worked collectively, if sometimes contentiously, to prepare the city and push it forward. This is a story of how once-struggling Atlanta leveraged the benefits of the Centennial Games to become a city of international prominence. This improbable rise from the ashes is told by three urban planning professionals who were at the center of the story.