News 12 Now: Remembering the Ocoee Olympics in 1996

POLK COUNTY, Tennessee (WDEF) – East Tennessee’s link to the Olympic movement is the Ocoee Whitewater Center.

It was built to host the whitewater events for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Courtesy Lee University

Courtesy Lee University

Olympic officials narrowed the flow of the Ocoee river, built their own synthetic rocks to mold the course, and then built seating, parking and the facility all to hold the event.

The course has reverted but the facility remains.

Thousands of whitewater fans packed into the gorge to watch the events.

We could not then, and still cannot show you images of the competition.

But we can show you the stories we ran leading up to the events and on the day.

Getting to the events was an ordeal.

Reporter Sharon Rasmussen looks at how it will work the day before the event.

The Sharon returns on the first day of competition to show what people faced as they headed to the Whitewater Center.

Ocoee Whitewater Center

The current Whitewater Center is what’s left of the original 1996 Olympic construction.

Categories: Bonus Stories, From The Archives, Local News, Polk County

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