Skip to main content

Athens 96 collection

Collection number: MSS-054

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the business records of the Athens 96 Corporation, as well as internal and external correspondence from the board members. Correspondence can be found in Series One: Board Records and contains internal correspondence, including attachments like speeches, documents for review, and others. Series Two: Financial Records contains budget reports primarily donated from the Treasurer John Newland. Also included in this series are purchasing reports, royalty reports, and other budgetary items. Series Three: Volunteer Records is a mix of internal and external documentation relating to the volunteer programs created by Athens 96. Included in this series are drafts of press releases that were recorded to go out to Athens-Clarke County and surrounding counties. Also included are the final drafts of these press releases and final printed copies of the publication “The Volunteer Voice,” published by volunteer chair Dr. Nancy Canolty. This series also includes information about Legacy Projects and the Ask About Athens (also called All About Athens) volunteer program. Of particular interest in this series are volunteer sign-up forms and mock-ups of volunteer badges for the Ask About Athens program. Series Four: Notes and Miscellaneous Records collects all other records that may not be covered by the previous three series, including information about the Medical Resource Team, information about Athens, and hand-written notes from various board members that could not be classified. Of specific interest is a folder containing records noted in the initial donation as from Tony Cushenberry. These were left intact during processing and can be found in this series. Series Five: Public Programming collects posters, brochures, and schedules concerning public programming in Athens and in Atlanta surrounding the 1996 Olympics. The majority of Athens specific programming was hosted at the Athens-Clarke County Library; the external schedule of events at the library is included here. Series Six: Photos, Ephemera, and Publications contain some ephemera related to Athens 96 including car stickers, pins, and a license plate cover. This also includes magazines and newspaper publications that mention the 1996 Olympic Games. Of note in this series are also the photography collections, particularly of the Torch Relay. This includes one photo signed by Bill Payne, the man who brought about the successful bid to bring the 1996 games to Atlanta and president and CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games in 1991 – a role that he continued to hold throughout the games. Series Seven: Scrapbooks are the nine scrapbooks created after the games showcasing the evolving role of Athens 96 and the Athens community in the Olympic bid. The scrapbooks are not placed in a box. The scrapbooks are in stainless steel binders with archival plastic page covers. Information in the scrapbooks is arranged via tabs in chronological order.


  • 1993-1998
  • Majority of material found within 1994-1996

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection has one restriction on Folder 009, Job Descriptions and Searches. Access to this folder can be made by request to Heritage Room staff.

This collection is open to the public. Library policy on photography and photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required. Apply in the Heritage Room for access.

Biographical / Historical

The 1996 Olympics are most known for being in Atlanta, Georgia; however, locations for the games were spread out across the entire Southeast, including Athens, Georgia. Athens was the location for the knockout rounds of Men’s and Women’s soccer in Sanford Stadium on the University of Georgia campus and the location for Volleyball and Rhythmic Gymnastics in locations around town. According to the documents in this collection, town leaders began planning for the potential arrival of Olympic athletics in Athens prior to the official announcement of the location. These town leaders included Mayor Gwen O’Looney, newsman Dick Mendenhall, and faculty representing the University of Georgia. Prior to announcing the location, these community members put together pep events in Athens and Atlanta to display the interest the Athens community had in hosting the Olympics. Upon the success of this event, these community members created the corporation “Athens 96,” dedicated to serving as a liaison between the multiple moving parts of the Athens Olympics bid – the city government, the University of Georgia, and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG). The group was incorporated during the summer of 1993 and was officially dissolved in December 1996.

Athens 96 comprised community officials, community leaders, and University of Georgia Employees. They formed a board to govern all aspects of the Olympics time in Athens from transportation, medical resources, budget, volunteers, etc. They also coordinated community events across town, including a large segment of public programming at the Athens Clarke County Library spearheaded by Laura Carter. Athens 96 also employed a secretary for their office space in the Morton Theatre and a chair of the Ask About Athens Program, a volunteer program intended to reach beyond the Olympics to create a contingency of Athens Ambassadors. Volunteers also completed Legacy Projects before, during, and after the games, intended to beautify the city while people were enthused about the Olympics. Projects included clean-ups in Sandy Creek Park, donations to local soccer teams, and flower plantings.

The Athens 96 Board also coordinated publicity events for the Olympics, including a pep rally in front of City Hall to show appreciation and the official Torch Relay that passed through Athens. The relay ran from Macon to Athens on July 17 and made only one more stop before ending in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta on July 19.


7.7 Linear Feet (7 Boxes. 11 Binders.)


Athens 96 Incorporated was the corporation founded by Athens community members upon the announcement that Athens would host Olympic Soccer for the 1996 Olympics. The group brought together community leaders to serve as a community liaison between Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, Athens Clarke County Government, Athens Clarke County non-profits and groups, and the broader community. They planned events and served as volunteers, as well as coordinated the donation of money and time to various Athens groups through their Legacy Project initiative. This collection contains their business records, internal and external communication, publicity information, and information from the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and Oconee County’s Olympics Committee.


The collection is organized in the following series: I. Board Records II. Financial Records III. Volunteer Records IV. Notes and Miscellaneous Records V. Public Programming VI. Photos, Ephemera, and Publications VII. Scrapbooks

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Athens 96 board members, including Nancy Canolty, Laura Carter, John Newland, Tony Cushenberry; Anonymous donor.

External Collections

The 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games at the University of Georgia Collected Papers 1984-2009, Hargrett Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Metro Atlanta Olympic Games Authority, Georgia Archives,

Maynard Jackson mayoral administrative records, Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc.

Georgia State University Olympics Operation Office collection, Georgia State University Archives,

Multiple collections from the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript collection at the Emory University Libraries.

Multiple collections from Archives and Special Collections at the Georgia Tech Library including the most relevant: Olympic/Paralympic Photograph collection, Archives and Special Collections, Georgia Tech Library,

Book Collection

Benson, Lee and Doug Robinson. Athens to Atlanta: 100 Years of Glory. Salt Lake City, 1993. GR 796.48 BENSON

Cheatham, Mike. An Athens Diary: 1996 – One Georgia city’s Olympic Experience. 1996. GR 975.818 Clarke CHEATHAM

Harris, Alex and Gudmund Vigtel. Athens Summer 1996. Atlanta, 1996. GR 796.48 ATLANTA

Olymphilex ’96: Exhibition of Olympic collectibles, including stamps, coins, and memorabilia, July 19-August 3, 1996. Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, Cultural Olympiad, 1995. GR 769.563 OLYMPHIL

Searle, Caroline and Bryn Vaile and International Olympic Committee. The IOC official Olympic Companion, 1996, Washington, 1996. GR 796.48 OFFICIAL

Sports Illustrated. Centennial Olympic games: Official Souvenir Program, July 19-August 4, 1996. Sports Illustrated, 1996. GR 796.48 SPORTS

Stortz, Joan Colgan and Larry Fisher, Irving Weisdorf. Atlanta. Ontario, 1996. GR 975.8 Fulton ATLANTA

Digital Objects

Images and Documents from digital items

Internal Collections

MSS 005 Athens Regional Library System Records, Box 1 (3.5x5) and Box 3 (4x6) contains photos from a ceremony held by Athens 96 with the Mayor of Athens, Greece.

Materials Specific Details

One floppy disk, one CD-ROM, some binders placed directly on shelves

Physical Description


MSS 054 Athens 96 collection
Frank Jackson, Mikaela LaFave
December 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library Repository

2025 Baxter Street
Athens GA 30606