ATLANTA - It hasn’t happened since the end of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The Centennial Olympic Cauldron, which now sits on the corner of Hank Aaron Drive SW and Fulton Street SW, will be lit this weekend to herald the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
The cauldron originally was adjacent to what is now Georgia State Stadium, formerly Turner Field and originally the Centennial Olympic Stadium. It was moved after the games following the refurbishment of the field into the Braves' home for nearly a decade.
While the cauldron won’t officially be lit until this Saturday, FOX 5 Atlanta was able to get a sneak preview as Georgia State University officials tested it. The SKYFOX Drone crew was given special permission to fly over and up close to the Atlanta landmark and beloved piece of the city’s history.
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali originally lit the cauldron for the 1996 Olympic Games, but nowadays, it has gotten a bit of a digital makeover and can be lit using an app.
It will be lit from about 11 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m. as the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials take place. Runners will step off at Centennial Olympic Park. The men's race starts at 12:08 p.m. and the women's race starts at 12:20 p.m.
Because of the trial, several roads in Midtown and Downtown will be closed most of the morning and afternoon on Saturday. All of Peachtree Street in Midtown and Downtown and sections of Ralph McGill Blvd., Highland Avenue, Jackson Street, Edgewood Avenue, Piedmont Avenue, Capitol Avenue, M.L. King Jr. Blvd., Marietta Street among other roads.
The marathon route was plotted out with help from the Atlanta Track Club. It will take runners on a tour of some of Atlanta’s most popular attractions and neighborhoods. They will pass the State Capitol building and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Olympic Cauldron will serve as the southernmost turnaround point on the final leg.
Anyone who needs to travel through Atlanta on Saturday is being asked to use MARTA.