I’m a Games nerd. It’s no secret.
Naturally, a must-see on my Atlanta bucket list was the site of the 1996 Summer Games, Centennial Olympic Park.
While living in London in 2011, I had the chance to tour the Olympic Park, which was at the time, almost completed in time for the 2012 Summer Games. It was my first site visit, and one I never forgot. Watching the Games that summer while interning for Team USA was stunning, knowing I had visited each of those places. I’ve always felt a strong connection to the Games, and touring the sites always makes me feel closer to the movement.
One of the coolest moments for me was visiting the statue of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement. On June 23, 1894, de Coubertin began working towards the revival of the ancient tradition in an effort to globalize sport and foster international cooperation through the Games. Two years later, the International Olympic Committee was created and the first modern Games was held in Athens, Greece. Olympic Day is celebrated around the world on June 23 each year to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games and today, over 160 National Olympic Committees hold events celebrating Olympic Day.
Last summer while living at the Olympic Training Center and interning for the US Olympic Committee, I had the incredible opportunity to cover Team USA’s Olympic Day celebration. It was an amazing show of American pride and support of the Olympic ideals, and to visit the American statue honoring de Coubertin was a great moment for me.
From the dancing Fountain of Rings with swelling scores from Tchaikovsky, to bricks from Team USA supporters, to sport pictograms on the paths, to the IOC, Greek, and American flags flying, I can’t wait to spend more time exploring Centennial Olympic Park over the next few months!