ATLANTA — Nearly 24 years after the Centennial Olympic Games, the cauldron lit by boxing great Muhammad Ali during the opening ceremony will be reignited publicly for the first time Saturday for the U.S. Olympic Team marathon trials.
The racecourse will take athletes under the Olympic ring and cauldron structure, past Georgia State Stadium and on a tour of some of Atlanta’s most iconic attractions and oldest neighborhoods. The cauldron, which will burn from 11:50 a.m., until the end of the trials around 3:30 p.m., towers over the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Fulton Street, just outside the stadium.
Athletics Director Charlie Cobb will ignite the flames.
Georgia State Stadium was originally constructed as Centennial Olympic Stadium, the host site for the 1996 Olympic Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, and track and field events. For 20 years thereafter, it was home to Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and known as Turner Field until being acquired by Georgia State in 2017. The Panthers played their first home football game at the stadium later that year.
The cauldron was designed by artist and architect Siah Armajani and manufactured by American Structural Metal Inc. of Hugo, Minn.
Ali, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, took the torch from American swimmer Janet Evans and lit the cauldron to signify the official start of the 1996 Games. It became one of the most indelible moments in modern Olympic history.
The course for the U.S. Olympic Team marathon trials begins in front of Centennial Olympic Park and ends inside the park. The final 2.2-mile leg brings athletes past the cauldron and under the Olympic rings spanning Capitol Avenue.