Six Olympic Venues in Georgia You Can Still Visit Today
More than 20 years ago, the Olympic Games were held in Atlanta! Did you know that Georgia has a variety of world-class Olympic venues that are still open today?
Here Are Six Gold Medal-Worthy Venues You Need to See
Clayton County International Park
Clayton County International Park – Jonesboro
Clayton County International Park is located in Jonesboro, south of Atlanta. Built for the beach volleyball competition for the 1996 Summer Olympics, the main venue is part of the Lakeview View Complex, which is used for concerts. The area surrounding the complex includes water parks, softball and soccer fields, a lake for fishing and bike trails.
Photo Credit: Dick Lane Velodrome
Dick Lane Velodrome – East Point
The Dick Lane Velodrome was inspired by a group of East Point residents and city officials who visited the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. It was one of only two in the U.S. when it was constructed in 1974. It served as a training facility for the 1996 Olympic Games. It is currently the second steepest concrete track in the country and one of the most unique in the world.
Photo Credit: GHIP
Georgia International Horse Park – Conyers
From its beginning, the Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) has been groomed for greatness. Since opening its gates in September 1995 in Conyers, the GIHP has already served as the equestrian venue for the largest sporting event in the world: The 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The park was the setting for the equestrian events, first-ever mountain bike competition, and the final two events of the modern pentathlon.
Today, the tradition continues as the GIHP plays host to a remarkable variety of special events, including horse shows, mountain bike races, weddings, banquets, festivals, concerts, rodeos, outdoor sporting events and much more. The park also includes the Big Haynes Creek Nature Center, horse trails, mountain bike trails and Rockdale County Master Gardener Arboretum.
Lake Lanier Olympic Park – Lake Lanier
Gainesville’s Lake Lanier hosted the 1996 Rowing and Sprint Canoe/Kayak Olympic events and is considered one of the best courses in the world. Now, the Lake Lanier Olympic Park hosts not only world-class rowing and sprint canoe/kayak events, but SUP and dragon boat events.
The facility is also used for non-sporting events, including corporate outings, dinner theatre, concerts and weddings. The boathouse is home to both a rowing and a sprint canoe/kayak club, which both continue the Olympic legacy of introducing youth to the these and other water sports while developing athletes who compete in local, regional, national and international events (including the Olympics). Many programs are offered at the venue through two clubs, the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club and the Lake Lanier Rowing Club, including learn-to-paddle/row, boat rentals and moonlight paddles.
The South Commons Softball Complex – Columbus
The South Commons Softball Complex and Stadium hosted softball at the 1996 Olympics. Today, it brings the value of sports entertainment and recreation home for its visitors. The softball facilities at the South Commons are unparalleled in the softball universe. There are seven fields and stadium fields hat host hundreds of local league competitions.
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremony of Atlanta 1996.
Turner Field – Atlanta
From 1997-2016, Turner Field served as the home ballpark to the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). Originally built as Centennial Olympic Stadium in 1996 to serve as the centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Olympics, the stadium was converted into a baseball park to serve as the home of the team. The Atlanta Braves moved to their new stadium at The Battery Atlanta for the 2017 season, and the former Turner Field now is the home of the Georgia State University Panthers football team.
More Olympic Gold in Georgia
Centennial Olympic Park – Atlanta
Centennial Olympic Park is the largest downtown park in the country developed in the last 25 years. The Fountain of Rings is the world’s largest interactive fountain, featuring the Olympic symbol of five interconnecting rings. Today, this 21-acre park boasts a variety of free, fun-filled, family entertainment throughout the year.
Photo Credit: Paul Diming
Olympic Cauldron – Savannah
This cauldron was lit by the original Olympic flame from Mt. Olympus at the opening ceremonies on July 20, 1996, and burned throughout the Centennial Olympic Games in Savannah, site of the Olympic Yachting events. Designed by Georgia artist Ivan Bailey, the five fluted columns represent the five Olympic rings, the fluted slice of a classic column symbolizes the Olympic Greek heritage, and the six sails represent the Olympic yachting events.
Photo Credit: Tammy M., Flikr
Paul Anderson Memorial Park – Toccoa
In 1956, Paul Anderson, a native of Toccoa, won Gold for weight lifting. He is still billed as the strongest man with a lift of 6,270 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly, 6,270 pounds!
Paul Anderson is still remembered for his strength and character. The beautiful park in Toccoa is located at the corner of Tugalo Street and Big A Road, which is named for him. One of the very first things that you will see is the water fountain that has Paul lifting the barbells high into the air. In the Stephens County History Museum & Currahee Military Museum, you can see the Olympic suit that he wore in the opening ceremonies for those games.