Monday, July 23, 2012

1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony (entire ceremony)

The Games of the XXVI Olympiad
Atlanta, Georgia
Opening Ceremony from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta
Olympic Ceremony Records
italics indicate records at the time
  • First Olympic Cauldron Lit by Wire and Pully
  • First Opera Written and Performed for the Opening Ceremony
  • First Artistic Use of Cars
  • First Use of Silhouette Imagery
  • First Flame Brought into the Stadium from Underground
  • First Use of Puppets in Dove Release
  • First Tribute to an Individual Not Associated with the Olympics (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
  • First Entrance of the Athletes from a Ramp Above the Stadium
  • Most Nations Participating (197) - previous Barcelona 1992 (170)
  • Most Athletes Participating (10,320) - previous Barcelona 1992 (9,356)
Olympic Torch Relay Records
italics indicate records at the time
  • First Olympic Cauldron Lit by Wire and Pully
  • First Flame Transported by Train
  • Most Torchbearers - 13,267 (previous Barcelona 1992 - 9,484)
  • Longest Torch Relay - 34,011km (previous Tokyo 1964 - 27,065km)

Opening Ceremony
Centennial Olympic Stadium (85,600)
July 19, 1996

Complete Video - may take some time to load depending on connection
(As with the 1976 games, I am providing the world's only digital/online video of the complete ceremony from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.)
If video doesn't load - click here
Spanish language version
Following the Opening Ceremony of Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta was faced with a monstrous task of creating a ceremony that could compete.  Atlanta didn't have the flare that Barcelona used in lighting the cauldron, but Atlanta did produce one of the largest artistic displays in world history.  Spending $15 million on the ceremony alone, Atlanta gave performances by the worlds greatest pop and classical musicians including a spectacular opera written especially for the Opening Ceremony, an obvious first in Olympic history.  Atlanta choreographed the artistic segments to flow continuously, containing an overriding dramatic plot - a tactic used in every ceremony since.
  • Spirits and Tribes of the Olympic Rings emerge; drum sequence; form Olympic Rings
  • "Summon the Heroes" by John Williams performed
  • Welcoming of President Clinton and other dignitaries
  • National Anthem w/ jet flyover
  • "Atlanta" artistic segment of hip hop dance, marching bands, cheer leaders, chrome pickups
  • Gladys Knight performs "Georgia On My Mind"
  • "American South" pageant opera
    • "Southern Summer Night" - butterflies and fireflies; moon greets the morning sun
    • "The River" - Old Man River flows through the south led by four catfish; floating down the river are giant puppet jazz dancers, jazz bands, belles, gents
    • "The Storm" - giant Native American Thunderbird covers the land, symbolically representing the destruction of the American Civil War
    • "Rebirth and Celebration" - Southern Spirits rise again
  • Tribute to the Centennial of the Olympics - Temple of Zeus artistic segment using silhouette imagery; following is the rebirth of the modern games with a quote by de Coubertin, flags with the names of all the Olympic Hosts emerge and run around the track, Atlanta's runs up a large ramp signalling the beginning of the Parade of Nations
  • Parade of Nations
  • President of the United States declares the games open
  • Olympic Flag enters the stadium to "Simple Gifts"; raised during the Olympic Hymn
  • 300 puppet doves carried among the athletes and around the track
  • "I have a Dream" artistic segment dedicated to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Commemoration of the greatest living Olympians of the past century
  • Olympic Flame enters the stadium through underground tunnel; cauldron is lit by Muhammad Ali (1960 Gold Medalist in Boxing)
  • Athlete's and Judge's Oaths
  • Celine Dion perform "The Power of the Dream"
  • Opera great Jessye Norman perform "Faster, Higher, Stronger" with Fireworks display
Gold Medal from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta

Olympic Torch from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta

Official Poster of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta

Olympic Cauldron from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta
Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta
Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta

Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta
Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta
Centennial Olympic Stadium - partially torn down following the games, the stadium is now Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves baseball team


  1. The video doesn't work. Could you post it to youtube please?

  2. Do you have the closing ceremonies also?


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