I was perplexed after watching the opening ceremonies of the London Summer Olympics. It was nice. It’s always nice. But something was missing. Oh dear! I think the Brits forgot my city.
In a retrospective of posters from past Olympic Games, most notably absent was the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. This was in fact the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. How do you miss that?
The segment was a quick run through of the past Summer Olympics posters and I was a little horrified thinking that the Atlanta poster would show that ridiculous looking mascot best forgotten. His name was ‘Izzy’. He was a blue blob with lightening bolts on his head. I waited for my town to be represented and I got nothing. No ‘Izzy’. No Atlanta. A quick Google search confirmed what I saw, or didn't see; as several other people have commented about the snub. Los Angeles, the host city in 1984, who arguably had one of the best opening ceremonies of all time was also not present.
Atlanta Centennial Olympic Mascot
Wait, really? Did we really host the Olympics? Umm…Yeah! I remember it like it was yesterday. The billion dollars spent on infrastructure projects. Sky high rents in the downtown area that never went back to normal long after the athletes and the press were gone. Neighborhoods of people uprooted and relocated because poor people don’t make for good TV coverage. Restaurants opening and closing faster than I can get a table!
I lived relatively close to the Olympic Village and there was no way to get parking. Service trucks for local grocery stores and restaurants had trouble getting through security checkpoints. My family, like many others left town. I remember telling someone I would return when the grocery store got milk.
Oh yes! I remember. Greedy Olympic planning committees virtually putting a for rent sign on every inch of the Games making it the most corporately sponsored Olympics in the history of the Games. Oh yes. Atlanta hosted the Olympics. I remember the bombing at the brand spanking new Centennial Park. The press and law enforcement went after an innocent man, Richard Jewell and turned his life and his family’s lives upside down. Sixteen years later the Atlanta Games, in many ways is still the gift that keeps on giving.
Why didn’t London remember?
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