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The Modern Olympics

1996 -- Atlanta, The United States
10,800 athletes, 197 countries

The choice of Atlanta as a host for the Centennial Games was sharply criticized. Many people believed the Games should have gone to Athens. Atlanta was considered a second-tier American city with little history and international repute and it was suspected that the Games went to the city because of the financial and commercial benefits of holding them in a North American time zone.

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The Atlanta games were marred with tragedy and frustration. A pipe bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park where spectators had gathered to celebrate. One person died as a result of the explosion. Also the transportation in Atlanta was inadequate and some athletes were late for their events because their buses were stuck in gridlocked traffic.

Canadian Highlights: Toronto lost its bid for the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta, but the Games were still a proud event for Canada. Donovan Bailey set a world record of 9.84 seconds in the 100m sprint and made up for Ben Johnson's embarrassing "win" in 1988. The Canadian men's 4x100m-relay team, which included Bailey, also won gold and beat out an over confident American team.

Medal Count: Gold 3, Silver 11, Bronze 8
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