Olympic Soccer in the Deep South
Posted on Jul 26, 2012 in News
As drivers make their commutes down Interstate 20/59 through downtown, something lingers in the courtyard between the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Boutwell Auditorium.
Towering above the interstate is a mural that reminds residents and commuters alike of a magical summer, a summer when soccer stole that stage in the Deep South.
In 1996, Birmingham along with Orlando, D.C., Miami and Athens, Ga., hosted the games.
On July 20, a crowd of more than 83,000 watched as the United States fell to Argentina, 3-1.
Brian Gunningham, a senior psychology major at the time of the Olympics, raved about the Olympics.
“I had a great time,” he said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
In all, 11 games would be played in Birmingham, but the crowds would never top 50,000.
With the London games slated to begin July 27, the world is once again beginning to prepare.
The mural placed by Space One Eleven — an art related organization who supports visual arts and artists in Birmingham and producing long-term engagement and commitment by Birmingham citizens to its cultural Fabric — reminds those who gaze upward of the summer the world watched as Birmingham hosted a portion of the world’s games.