Atlanta's Big Leap

Will the games finally give the city global stature?

The digits finally dropped to 0:00. For six years, Atlanta endured a countdown to the 1996 Summer Olympics. The clocks were everywhere--at city hall, in a sign over the expressway, at the offices of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. But the clocks did far more than count down the days to the July 19 opening ceremonies. Atlantans knew they were preparing for a global curtain call and that their success, or failure, with the games would help determine whether the ambitious capital of the New South could emerge as something much more--as a world business center of the first order.

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