The 1996 Games were given a dramatic and emotional start when the cauldron was lit by sporting legend Muhammad Ali. Next to the site of the main competition venues was an open area known as the Centennial Olympic Park. The park appeared to be part of the Games, but was not actually a part of the Olympic security system. In the early hours of 27 July, tragedy struck when a terrorist bomb exploded in the Centennial Olympic Park, resulting in the death of two people and the injury of 110 more.
For the first time in Olympic history, all 197 recognised National Olympic Committees were represented at the Games. Beach volleyball, mountain biking, lightweight rowing and women's football made their first appearance and sailor Hubert Raudaschl (AUT) became the first person ever to compete in nine Olympic Games. Before he began his streak in 1964, he was a reserve in 1960.
In track and field, Marie-José Pérec, the French athlete, won the 200m and successfully defended her 400m title. She became the most successful French female athlete of all time and the first athlete to win the 400m twice. Not to be outdone, Michael Johnson of the U.S. became the first man in Olympic history to run and win both the 200m and 400m. His victory over 200m in 19.32 seconds established a new world record.
See the list of teams and medals won by each.See table