The United States’ women’s teams enjoyed resounding success at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, capturing the first-ever gold medals in women’s soccer and softball, as well as winning gold in women’s gymnastics team all-around and women’s basketball.
For the first time, the Summer Games were held in a different year than the Winter Games and this marked the centenary of the first-ever modern Olympics, the Athens 1896 Olympic Games. Twenty-four nations made their Olympic debut, but it was the host United States that led the medal count for the first time since 1984 and for the first-time in a non-boycotted Olympic Games since 1968. Swimmer Amy Van Dyken became the first American woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympic Games. Tragedy occurred in the middle of The Games, when a bomb exploded in the Centennial Olympic Park, killing two people and injuring 110 others.
Athletes: 10,318 (6,806 men, 3,512 women)
Medal Count: United States 101 (44 gold, 32 silver, 25 bronze); Germany 65 (20 gold, 18 silver, 27 bronze); Russia 63 (26 gold, 21 silver, 16 bronze)
The first Olympic Games held without government financing since the first modern Games in 1896, the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games became a model for the future with its reliance on existing facilities and corporate sponsors, turning a $223 million profit.
Landowner Alexander Cushing had a dream of turning an uninhabited valley near Lake Tahoe into the host of the Winter Olympic Games. Within five years, Squaw Valley transformed from an undeveloped site into a fully functioning town.