After the Games ended, Atlanta History Center was designated as the repository for the collections of the Georgia Amateur Athletic Foundation, the non-profit behind the organizing committee of the 1996 Olympic bid and Games. The collections include professional records, videos, photographs, and objects that document the experience of a host city, from initial plans for the bid through the production of the Games.

In the years since, donations from individuals have expanded Atlanta History Center’s Olympic and Paralympic-related collections to capture personal experiences of the Games, projects happening outside of the purview of the organizing committee, and objects from Olympic history.

During the development of Atlanta ’96, Atlanta History Center turned increased attention to the city’s Paralympic history, adding new items to the collections and building a network of contacts to help tell a fuller story of the 1996 Paralympic Games and related disability history.

Three bronze medals with green and gold lanyards

Olympic Torch and Medal Collection

Atlanta History Center’s collections include medals and torches from Olympic Games since 1896. This collection illustrates the growth of the modern summer Olympic Games and tells the history of other Olympic cities.

Participation medals are given to every Olympic athlete, and are often given to others involved in the production of the Games. These medals are a different design than victory medals. Their imagery includes Olympic history and the host city’s traditions. Atlanta History Center’s collection includes a commemorative medal from every modern summer Olympic Games.

Olympic torches have been created since the 1936 Games in Berlin, when the Nazi regime hosted the first Olympic Torch Relay as a propaganda tool for their racial supremacy priorities. The event continues today as a ceremonial way to transport the Olympic flame from Greece to the host city and mark the start of the Games. Atlanta History Center’s collection includes torches from all summer Olympic Games except 1952 in Helsinki.

Two bronze coins with a character on side and wreath and writing on the opposite

Athens, Greece, 1896 Olympic Participation Medal

Bronze
Lytras, designer
Pittner, Austria, 1896

Purchase with funds in support of Centennial Olympic Games Museum at Atlanta History Center, 2004

Bronze medals with one side with people talking and the other with a person on a chariot with a horse

Antwerp, Belgium, 1920 Olympic Participation Medal

Bronze
Pierre Theunis, designer
Coussemans, Antwerp, 1920

Purchase with funds in support of Centennial Olympic Games Museum at Atlanta History Center, 2004

Silver torch on blue background

Berlin, Germany, 1936 Olympic Torch

Walter E. Lemcke and Peter Wolf, designers
Friedrich Krupp AG, Essen, Germany, 1936

Gift of Bob Cohn, 2004

Gold medals with one side that has two faces and says Helskinki 1952 and the opposite two men holding torches, Olympic rings and XV Olympia

Helsinki, Finland, 1952 Olympic Participation Medal

Bronze
Rasanen, designer
Veljekset Sundqvist Oy, Helsinki, 1952

Purchase with funds in support of Centennial Olympic Games Museum at Atlanta History Center, 2004

Silver torch with cup-like top on blue background

Melbourne, Australia, 1956 Olympic Torch

Aluminum alloy
Ralph Lavers, designer
Unidentified manufacturer, 1956

Gift of Bob Cohn, 2004

Bronze and orange torch with red flame on blue background

Rome, Italy, 1960 Olympic Torch

Bronzed aluminum
Pier Luigi Nervi and Amedeo Maiuri, designers
Curtisa, Bologna, 1960

Gift of Bob Cohn, 2004

Silver metal torch with charcoal base on blue background

Tokyo, Japan, 1964 Olympic Torch

Blackened aluminum and stainless steel
Sori Yanagi, designer
Showa Kaseihin, Tokyo, 1964

Gift of Bob Cohn, 2004

Charcoal torch with ridged edges on blue background

Mexico City, Mexico, 1968 Olympic Torch

Aluminum
Villazon, designer
Producios Victor S.A., Mexico City, 1968

Gift of Bob Cohn, 2004

White, orange, and gold accented torch on blue background

Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A, 1996 Olympic Torch

Aluminum and pecan wood
Sam V. Shelton, Georgia Tech, engineer
Malcolm Grear Designers, designer
Hillerich & Bradsby Company (Louisville) and Erie Plating Company (Erie), 1996

Gift of Georgia Amateur Athletic Foundation, 2002

Silver and cherry wood torch on blue background

Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A, 1996 Paralympic Torch

Aluminum and pecan wood
Atlanta Paralympic Organizing Committee, Atlanta, 1996

Gift of Dr. David Apple, 2019

Vintage Videos

Georgia Amateur Athletic Foundation collection includes a large archive of videos. Atlanta History Center has digitized a small portion of this collection, which still exists in legacy magnetic tape formats such as Betamax and VHS.

Commemoration of Atlanta’s Selection as 1996 Olympic Host City

Atlanta: WXIA-TV, circa September 1990

Georgia Amateur Athletic Foundation Collection

Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and several Atlanta-area media outlets created videos to document and celebrate the city’s winning bid. These videos feature footage from the International Olympic Committee selection meeting in Tokyo and events from throughout the bid preparation.

World’s Longest Hot Dog Unveiling

Memphis: Sara Lee Meats, circa 1996

Georgia Amateur Athletic Foundation Collection

In partnership with 1996 Olympic sponsor Sara Lee Meats, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games staff members organized an event at the Georgia Dome to ceremoniously break the world record for the longest hot dog. They unveiled a 1,996 foot long sausage. Since the team used individual buns for the creation, rather than an equally long, continuous bun, the feat did not make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Izzy’s Quest for Olympic Gold

Burbank: Film Roman, circa 1995

Georgia Amateur Athletic Foundation Collection

This animated special ran on network television in advance of the Games. The story gave Izzy, the 1996 Olympic mascot, a network of friends and relatives and provided some backstory to the character. Izzy was a computer-generated character, rather than an animal or human. He received criticism in the press but was popular among children.