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There were emotional highs and lows, with Muhammad Ali given a gold medal to replace the one he lost in 1960, Michael Johnson starring on the track and a terrorist attack at the Centennial Olympic Park killing one person and injuring a further 110.
It was a Games for the masses, as a record 197 nations took part, with 79 of them winning at least one medal. The blue riband 100m went to Canada's Donovan Bailey in a world record of 9.84s, but Johnson was the star of the show doing the 200m (in a world record of 19.32 seconds) and 400m double.
Five weeks before the Atlanta Games, the Texan athlete displayed his intention to dominate the 200 by beating a long-held record, one set in Mexico by Italian Pietro Mennea in 1979 (19.72). Johnson obliged his fans with a time of 19.66. He proved it was no fluke as his gold show carried him to double victory.
American Carl Lewis bowed out of the Olympics in style, winning the long jump for the fourth time - his ninth gold medal in all. Marie-Jose Perec matched Johnson's 200-400 double.
It was a disappointing Games for Britain, but Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent kept the flag flying with gold in the coxless pairs. It was Redgrave's fourth gold and Pinsent's second.
The award for longevity goes to Hubert Raudaschl of Austria who made his ninth appearance at the Olympics when taking part in the sailing.