Centennial Olympic Stadium

Centennial Olympic Stadium

Infobox _Stadium
stadium_name = Centennial Olympic Stadium

location = 755 Hank Aaron Drive SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30315
broke_ground = July 10, 1993
opened = July 19, 1996
closed = August 27, 1996
demolished =August 27, 1996 (Reconfigured as Turner Field)
owner = Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games
operator =
surface = Grass
construction_cost = $207 million
architect = Heery International; Rosser International; Williams-Russell and Johnson; Ellerbe Becket
tenants = 1996 Summer Olympics
seating_capacity = 85,000

Centennial Olympic Stadium was the 85,000-seat main stadium of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Construction of the stadium began in 1993, and it was complete and ready for the Opening Ceremony in July 1996, where it hosted track and field events. After the Olympics and Paralympics, it was reconstructed into the baseball-specific Turner Field.

During the week-long athletics program, the stadium bore witness to Donovan Bailey of Canada winning the 100 m in a world record time of 9.84 s; Michael Johnson winning both the 200 and 400 metres titles, breaking the 200 m world record in the process; and France's Marie-José Perec also winning the 200/400 double. Meanwhile, Carl Lewis won his fourth consecutive Olympic title in the long jump, becoming only the second person, after Al Oerter, to win the same athletics event at four consecutive Games.

After the closing ceremony of the 1996 Paralympics, the stadium was officially given as a gift to the Atlanta National League Baseball Club, Inc. (the Atlanta Braves). Ted Turner, then owner of the Braves, agreed to pay a large sum of the cost to build Centennial Olympic Stadium (approximately $170 million of the $209 million bill), if in turn, the stadium was built in a way that it could be converted to a new baseball stadium and that the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) paid for the reconstruction. This was considered a good agreement for both the Olympic Committee and the Braves, because there would be no use for a permanent 85,000 seat track and field stadium in Downtown Atlanta (as the 71,000 seat Georgia Dome was completed 4 years earlier by the state of Georgia) and the Braves had already been exploring opportunities for a new stadium. [cite web |title=Turner Field |first=Scott |last=Kendrick |work=About.com |publisher=The New York Times Company |url=http://baseball.about.com/od/photogalleries/ig/MLB-Stadiums-Gallery/Turner-Field.htm |accessdate=2008-07-24]

The southwest corner of the stadium was rebuilt and configured to accommodate the baseball infield and seating, and this is easily seen in aerial views and diagrams of the stadium in its Olympic configuration. The athletics track was removed, and the north half of the stadium demolished, reducing the capacity to 49,000. Because of the need to fit a track within the stadium in its earlier incarnation, the field of play, particularly foul territory, while not large by historical standards, is still larger than most new MLB stadiums.

After reconstruction was complete in 1997, the 1960s-era Atlanta Fulton County Stadium was imploded.

ee also

*Turner Field

External links

* [http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/TurnerField.html Interactive diagram at Clem's Baseball site showing both Olympic and Braves configurations]
* [http://lh4.ggpht.com/_pHvSyzdVLH8/SADudDdjZpI/AAAAAAAAAog/HDxWZjrMo34/Atlanta+GA+012.jpgStadium during Games]
* [http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44222000/jpg/_44222953_atlanta416.jpgAerial View of Olympic Stadium]
* [http://richardweisser.com/photoman80.htm Reconstruction into Baseball Stadium]
* [http://olympics.ballparks.com/1996Atlanta/index.htm 1996 Summer Games]

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