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15 years ago, the world came to Atlanta

11:59 PM, Jul 18, 2011   |    comments
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The Olympic Cauldron was inspected by workers after it was installed in 1996. (AP file)

ATLANTA -- Fifteen years ago Tuesday night, Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic Cauldron to open the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Many of the venues that were part of the Olympic Games have become a part of the fabric of Atlanta, with the most visible and obvious legacy being Centennial Olympic Park, which has become Atlanta's front yard of sorts, hosting concerts and providing an anchor to Downtown attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and the CNN Center.

Centennial Olympic Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies along with the track and field events was reconstructed after the Games, and is now Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves.

The Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, home of the Olympic diving events is now part of the university's Campus Recreation Center complex. The 14,600 seat open-air facility was reconstructed and enclosed, bringing its seating capacity down to 1,950.

The Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers was home to the equestrian and mountain biking events. Since the Games, the park has played host to a number of activities, including equestrian events, concerts and other events.

The Stone Mountain Tennis Center was a 12,000 seat facility that hosted tennis events for the Games. The stadium area included 15 outer courts in addition to the stadium's central court.  After falling into disrepair in recent years, the facility is slated to find a second life as an outdoor tennis venue and park.

Rowing, canoeing and kayaking events were held on Lake Lanier, northeast of Atlanta. The Olympic facilities are now maintained by the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club. The venue has hosted other events, including the Canoe Sprint World Championships in 2003.

The Wolf Creek Shooting Complex -- home of the shooting events during the Games -- is now the Tom Lowe Shooting Grounds, a firing range owned by the Parks and Recreation Department of Fulton County.

The Stone Mountain Park Archery Center and Velodrome were temporary facilities on the south side of Stone Mountain, which are now home to the park's songbird and habitat trail.

The Olympic Village, where the athletes lived during the games, was on Georgia Tech's campus and included a set of dormitories that initially became Georgia State's first residential housing. It has since become housing facilities for Georgia Tech.

The YouTube video below shows the opening to 11Alive's newscast right after the Opening Ceremonies on July 19, 1996.

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