Games go on despite bombing
Almost a quarter of a century following the first attempt to disrail the 1972 Games in Munich, the Olympics again fell victim to a terror attack in Atlanta with the explosion of a home-made bomb in a park in the centre of town.
On July 27 1996, the ninth day of the Games at 1:20am local time in Centenary Park, a spot popular with tourists and even more popular with young people a lively party atmosphere was rudely interrupted by an explosion.
Panic spread throughout. Security, numbered at around 35,000, were caught totally by surprise by the bomb.
The FBI and the American authorities had already assured the public that Atlanta would be "the safest city in the world". The attempt caused one death and more than were 110 injuries. A Turkish cameraman also died from a heart attack while running to the scene of the drama.
The police were warned
The explosion erupted near the spot where nightly shows took place, at the foot of a four-storey tower used to store TV and sound equipment. The area was immediately cordoned off.
Richard Jewell immediately became the prime suspect when he admitted having noticed a bag and alerting the security forces.
Shortly before the explosion, the police admitted receiving a telephone call warning of the explosion but the call was never passed on to attending police and park security.
According to the FBI, the explosive device, a home-made bomb composed of a metal tube with nails and screws inside, was hidden in an abandoned rucksack.
Jewell, 34, was wrongly regarded as the prime suspect in the local and national press. He would eventually be exonerated by the FBI of all suspected connection with the bombing and receive relevant damages.
Eric Rudolph an American anti-federalist and right-wing extremist was arrested some five years later, tried and found guilty.
The Games continue
The IOC declared as they did in Munich that the Games would continue.
Thus, competition resumced. A one-minute silence was observed at all the sites and the Olympic flags flew at half mast on Saturday July 27, one of the leading days of competition with the athletics 100m final being held.
During the closing ceremony, Juan Antonio Samaranch made reference to the terrorist attempt, requesting that a minute's silence be observed in memory of the victims of the Games in Munich and Atlanta.
"No terrorist act has destroyed or will ever destroy the Olympic movement," he affirmed in his address to the 83,000 people in the Olympic stadium.
Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.