Twenty-one years ago the eyes of the world focused on Atlanta, GA for the start of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.
The stage was set and after almost ten years of planning, Atlanta welcomed the world.
I lived in Atlanta during the build-up and celebration of the Centennial Olympiad. It was a heady time filled with the most incredible displays of athletic prowess I have ever seen.
Those days and years leading up to the Games also showcased a spirit of community that all of us who lived in Atlanta, and worked on the Games, could be proud of.
Unfortunately, the actions of a mad man tarnished the magnificence of Atlanta 1996, but his actions cannot and should not be what we remember when we think of that magical summer.
I will always remember those days for the joy we felt as years of planning came to fruition. I will remember the friends I made from around the world, and I will remember the unity of the athletes proving that we as a world can co-exist, even if only for a couple of weeks.
Atlanta 1996 was a resounding success and 21 years later, the differences the Games made on the City are still evident.
Atlanta’s Olympic flame shone bright and still does today.
On this date in 1976, Nadia Comaneci became the first person in Olympic history to score a perfect 10 in competition.
Scoreboards during the Games weren’t prepared for such a feat, when her score popped up as 1.00, the audience was outraged, until they were told the decimal point was static and couldn’t be moved.
For the entire competition, each of Nadia’s perfect scores was reflected as a 1.00, instead of 10.0.
That summer the world embraced Nadia, a product of the Romanian sports development system.
At just 14 years old, Nadia became a household name and scored a total of seven perfect scores in the Montreal Olympics.
After the Games of 76, she competed in the 80 Moscow Games and capped her career with nine Olympic medals.
In 1989, Nadia defected from Romania and ended up in the United States where she married American gymnast Bart Conner.
Now an American citizen and gymnastics coach, Nadia Comaneci is 55 years old.
Yesterday I watched the movie “Hidden Figures.”
The movie is the true story of three women who helped elevate the United States space program during the 1960’s when the US and Soviet Union were in a race to send a man to the moon.
Overcoming the obstacles of racism and sexism in the workforce, these women proved their place through hard work and ability.
The spirit of the movie soared as the US space program overcame obstacles to get our astronauts into space.
While we are all familiar with the heroes who went into space, this story gives us a look at the heroes on the ground who put them there.
Nominated for a number of Academy Awards this past year, I would rank this film with any of the other great “space” theme classics. I loved it!
Hidden Figures is a testament of what greatness can be accomplished when the talents of everyone is encouraged. When the person most qualified is given an opportunity to excel regardless of sex, orientation or color.
Check it out, Hidden Figures is a great movie!