Olympic Marathon organizer talks about Centennial Park bombing

by: Erica Byfield Updated:

ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News talked to the woman who was in charge of organizing the Olympic Marathon the day after a bomb rocked Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park in 1996.

Julia Emmons told Channel 2's Erica Byfield a few hours after the blast she called a meeting with the race captains.

"I was in charge of the marathon. I had 1,200 volunteers," she said. "I said we are going to put on the very best marathon we can. We had 26 miles, each mile had its own crew, there was a medical crew, there was a finish line crew, and start line crew."

She said she was determined not to let fear ruin the race.

"In a democracy you face this terrible thing in the face and you say, 'You're not going to take me down,'" Emmons said.

A little more than 24 hours after the bombing, 83 Olympians raced 26 miles without any major issues.

Emmons also was the executive director of the Peachtree Road Race for 22 years. She told Byfield it's important other race organizers adopt the same fearless mindset and continue to host events.

"Just face it down. You live in a free society. Just enjoy the freedoms we have and treasure them because if you every get a afraid and start closing down, that is when they won, whoever they are," she said.