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20 Years Ago, The Summer Olympics Looked Very Different

We must never forget Kerri Strug.

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Man, 1996 was a very different time. The Spice Girls were just starting to blow up.

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Dial-up internet was still a thing.

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And the United States hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics down in Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta beat out Greece for the '96 Games in a 51–35 vote by the International Olympic Committee.
Kevin Fleming / Getty Images

Atlanta beat out Greece for the '96 Games in a 51–35 vote by the International Olympic Committee.

Michael Phelps was 11 years old at the time.

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Ryan Lochte had never tweeted.

And Simone Biles HADN'T BEEN BORN YET.

She was born in 1997, MORE THAN A YEAR LATER.
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She was born in 1997, MORE THAN A YEAR LATER.

But, regardless, it was still extremely cool. The opening ceremony was a big, gorgeous ordeal...

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...with more than a little bit of theatrics.

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And Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic flame.

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The mascot was, uhh...

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...well, it was originally called “Whatizit” but that was shortened to "Izzy."

The name "Izzy" was picked by 32 American children, aged 7 to 12.
Michel Gangne / AFP / Getty Images

The name "Izzy" was picked by 32 American children, aged 7 to 12.

It was the first year at the Olympics for women's soccer...

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...and Team USA won the gold against China in the women's soccer final.

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It was also the first year that beach volleyball, mountain biking, and lightweight rowing were included in the games.

Franck Seguin / Getty Images

Michael Johnson became the only man in history to win gold in both the 200- and 400-meter sprints...

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...and set new world records for both.

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Deon Hemmings won the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles, becoming the first Jamaican woman to medal Olympic gold in an individual event.

Wally Mcnamee / Getty Images

US swimmer Amy Van Dyken became the first American woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympic Games.

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Turkish weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu, standing at 4 feet and 8 inches, broke his own record and became the first weightlifter to win gold at three different Olympics.

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The US men's Olympic basketball team, AKA Dream Team II, achieved a perfect 8–0 record and beat Yugoslavia for the gold.

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Lilia Podkopayeva of Ukraine won the individual all-around gold in women's gymnastics...

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...and an injured Kerri Strug overcame an ankle injury and stuck her final vault...

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...earning the US its first ever women's Olympic gold medal in gymnastics.

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Ahh, memories.

NBC
The opening ceremony begins Friday, Aug. 5, at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 CT on NBC. Click here for more Olympics content!
Mollie Shafer-Schweig / Via BuzzFeed

The opening ceremony begins Friday, Aug. 5, at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 CT on NBC. Click here for more Olympics content!

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