85,600 people packed Centennial Olympic Stadium.
Another 3.5 billion watched around the world.
Atlanta welcomed the world’s best athletes to the Peach State on July 19, 1996 for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.
President Bill Clinton officially opened the 1996 Summer Olympics. He wasn’t the only President in attendance. Former President Jimmy Carter was there. Future President Donald Trump was, too.
Evander Holyfield carried the Olympic flame into the stadium. After entering, he was joined by Greece’s Voula Patoulidou. The pairing represented a bridge between the first Olympic Games in Greece and the Summer Games in Atlanta. The duo passed the torch to swimmer Janet Evans.
Evans took a lap around the track before passing the flame to boxing great and former Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Ali who lit the Olympic cauldron.
Ali was the 10,000th and final person to carry the Olympic torch on its journey from Los Angeles to Atlanta.
Singers Celine Dion and Gladys Knight were among those singing at the opening ceremony. Knight sang “Georgia On My Mind.”
The United States delegation included 700 athletes and was the final country to enter the stadium. Wrestler Bruce Baumgartner, a four-time Olympic champion, served as flagbearer.
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