Muhammad Ali stands in front of the cauldron to light the flame at the 1996 Opening Ceremony. (Getty Images)
(ATR) The 1996 Atlanta Olympic cauldron could be on the move again in a few years. The cauldron, initially a focal point of Centennial Olympic Stadium, was forced to relocate up the street when the venue was repurposed for baseball and renamed Turner Field.
With the Atlanta Braves bolting for the suburbs and Turner Field destined for the wrecking ball, the future of the cauldron is unclear.
“Certainly, any conversations about the 2017 re-development of the stadium area will include a decision about the location of the cauldron,” Melissa Mullinax, a spokesperson with the office of Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, tells Around the Rings
The cauldron is maintained by the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority. Mullinax says the annual cost to maintain the cauldron is “actually very minimal – approximately $250 a year for electricity.”
The authority spent $220,000 in 2012 to repaint and make structural repairs to the cauldron.
Atlanta Olympic Chief Not Upset by Demolition
Though some may mourn the loss of the Atlanta Olympic stadium so soon after the Games, no tears will be shed by the man most responsible for staging the event in the first place.
"I have never measured the success of the Olympics by the venues left behind," said Billy Payne, the former head of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
"The most important venue and the one that most represents the spirit of the Games is Centennial Olympic Park," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"Bricks and mortar are not that important."
Written by Karen Rosen
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