Ambassador Andrew Young, Billy Payne, Mayor Kasim Reed, and Vince Dooley to Dedicate Georgia Historical Marker to the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games

Atlanta, Ga., October 25, 2016 – The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) invite you to relive the pride and spirit of the 1996 Olympic Games at the dedication of a new Georgia historical marker in Centennial Olympic Park, Tuesday, November 1, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. in Atlanta.

Speakers for the dedication will be Ambassador Andrew Young and William “Billy” Payne, architects of the bid for the Olympic Games; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Vince Dooley, Georgia Historical Society Chairman; Clyde Tuggle, Senior Vice President, Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer, The Coca-Cola Company; Frank Poe, Executive Director, Georgia World Congress Center Authority; and Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of GHS.

The dedication will take place as the Georgia Historical Society inducts the Georgia World Congress Center Authority as the newest honoree in the Georgia Business History Initiative (BHI).  Each year, GHS selects iconic companies in the state to be honored through the Business History Initiative. By showcasing these companies, GHS educates Georgia students, citizens, and tourists alike about the pivotal role that Georgia’s leading businesses play in the economic, cultural, and social development of the state, region, and country. The GWCCA will join other iconic Georgia companies such as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Southern Company, and Waffle House.

“We are delighted to induct the Georgia World Congress Center Authority as a part of the Business History Initiative. The Authority has been a leader in shaping the economic destiny of our state and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta was a seminal event in putting the City of Atlanta and State of Georgia on the map. We are pleased to recognize their history of not only welcoming the world to the city of Atlanta in 1996 but their continued efforts in promoting Atlanta and the state of Georgia as the place for economic development, entertainment, and internationally-recognized sporting events,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society.

As part of its induction, the GWCCA is focusing on the impact the Games had on economic development in Atlanta and the state of Georgia during the last 20 years. Elevating Atlanta to international status and recognition, the 1996 Summer Olympics united the world in friendship and peace while providing avenues for significant growth in the city, with Centennial Olympic Park emerging as the catalyst for surrounding development and the lasting legacy of the Games – and as the site of the historical marker.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Marietta Deck. Click here for more information on parking options.

For more information or to schedule an interview with dedication participants, please contact Patricia Meagher, Director of Communications at the Georgia Historical Society, 404.382.5410, ext. 153,; or Morgan Smith-Williams, Georgia World Congress Center Authority, 404.550.0641,

Marker text:

1996 Summer Olympics
Games of the XXVI Olympiad

From July 19 through August 4, 1996, Atlanta hosted the Centennial Summer Olympic Games, the largest event in Atlanta’s history. In 1990, the International Olympic Committee chose Atlanta over five other cities. Atlanta attorney Billy Payne and Mayor Andrew Young were the prime architects of the winning bid. Preparations had an estimated economic impact of at least $5.14 billion. Civic leaders built new sports venues, created park space, improved sidewalks and streets, and altered housing patterns. During the Olympics more than 2 million visitors came to Atlanta, and an estimated 3.5 billion people around the world watched on television. For the first time, all nations invited sent athletes, more than 10,000 competitors from 197 nations. The 1996 Olympics promoted Atlanta’s image as an international city, positioning it to play an important role in global commerce.


Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
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Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) now includes Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 3.9 million- square-foot convention center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park. Additionally, GWCCA manages operations of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. These public facilities represent the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world. This past year, the GWCCA hosted 555 events and welcomed more than 2.4 million visitors who generated $1.33 billion in economic impact to the State of Georgia.

The Georgia Historical Society has administered Georgia’s historical marker program since 1998, erecting over 250 new historical markers and maintaining over 2,100 older markers across Georgia on a wide variety of subjects. Now, online mapping tools allow you to design statewide driving routes based on historical markers, while mobile apps give information about markers nearby. Visit for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.