Loveland, Ohio – The City of Loveland celebrated its 200th birthday in 1996, its Bicentennial. The 1996 Olympic Summer Games was also held that year, in Atlanta Georgia. A symbolic Olympic Torch was carried by runners and walkers across the United States that Summer, escorted by the Georgia State Patrol, and made its way to be part of Loveland’s Bicentennial Parade.
Deerfield Township resident Deb Turner, who was chosen because she was determined to be a “Local Hero” for teaching physical education to special needs children, took a turn carrying the torch that day along West Loveland Avenue in Historic Downtown. Between June 8 and 9, the torch was carried between Cincinnati and Columbus.
The photos above were taken that day by Loveland’s Official Bicentennial Photographer, Loveland Magazine Publisher, David Miller who documented all of Loveland’s Bicentennial events throughout 1996.
The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad is scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8. The games did not take place last Summer because of the global COVID 19 pandemic.
The 1996 flame was ultimately handed off to Muhammad Ali who lit the Olympic cauldron and later received a replacement gold medal for his boxing victory in the 1960 Summer Olympics. For the torch ceremony, more than 10,000 Olympic torches were manufactured by the American Meter Company and electroplated by Erie Plating Company. Each torch weighed about 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) and was made primarily of aluminum, with a Georgia pecan wood handle and gold ornamentation. (Wikipedia)
Several months before the Olympic Games, the Olympic flame is lit at Olympia, Greece. This ceremony starts the Olympic torch relay, which formally ends with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The flame then continues to burn in the cauldron for the duration of the Games, until it is extinguished during the Olympic closing ceremony. (Wikipedia)
The first torchbearer of the American part of the relay, Rafer Johnson, was the final torchbearer at the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. It went on to visit 42 states and 29 state capitols along a journey of 26,875 kilometres (16,699 mi). The torch was carried by 12,467 bearers including 2,000 former Olympians or other people somehow linked to the Olympic movement, 5,500 people who had been nominated locally as “community heroes”, and 2,500 people picked out in a draw.
The route was designed to take in as many historically and culturally significant locations as possible. The torch was first carried to Santa Monica Pier and was greeted at the first of hundreds of celebratory events. It then proceeded along the coast and up to Kingman, Arizona, at which point it joined the famous Route 66, passing close to the Grand Canyon and reaching Hoover Dam. It was carried across by Martha Watson and the world’s largest US flag was unfurled across the wall of the dam.
The route featured a wide variety in the methods of transport used, including bicycles, boats, and trains. From Las Vegas the flame was passed onto a special cauldron car on a Union Pacific train, the first of several train journeys. The National Pony Express Association participated in the journey with riders carrying the torch for over 56 continuous hours. On June 12 the torch was taken on board a replica of a 19th-century packet boat and pulled for 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) along Erie Canal by mule. The torch was also carried into space for the first time, with astronauts taking an unlit torch with them aboard Space Shuttle Columbia as part of STS-78. This was replicated during the 2000 Summer Olympics torch relay and as part of the 2014 Winter Olympics torch relay.