Host City: Atlanta, United States
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: August 4, 1996
Participants: 355 (355 men and 0 women) from 97 countries
Youngest Participant: Ahmed Rajab Omari (16 years, 206 days)
Oldest Participant: Julio González (35 years, 196 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 48 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Cuba (7 medals)
After the major changes seen between Seoul and Barcelona, the format of the tournament and method of judging remained more or less the same for Atlanta. The change to electronic scoring had still not eliminated the judging controversies seen in previous years but it was still seen as an improvement on the debacle of the 1988 Games. It was widely assumed that the story of the Atlanta Games would be that of the duel between Cuba and America for boxing supremacy although the USA had not had a good World Championship performance in the 1995 and had left with only one gold medallist to their credit. This projection proved only to be partially true as, despite qualifying six boxers for the semi-finals, the USA again produced only a single gold medal winner in David Reid though his spectacular knockout victory over Cuban Alfredo Duvergel was an undoubted highlight of the tournament. Cubans reached seven finals and, led by defending heavyweight champion Félix Savón, won four Olympic titles – the only country to produce multiple champions. Elsewhere the expected decline in the fortune of fighters from the Eastern Bloc in the post-communist era failed to materialize as Bulgaria, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine all produced gold medallists. Instead it was Western Europe that failed to produce an Olympic champion for the 1st time since 1976.
Vasily Zhirov the light-heavyweight champion from Kazakhstan, was awarded the Val Barker Trophy for most outstanding boxer of the Games whilst featherweight Somluck Kamsing’s rewards for being Thailand’s first Olympic champion included $1 million in bonuses from the Thai government and his sponsors. Amongst the fighters who later excelled in the professional side of the sport were Volodymyr Klychko, one of the longest reigning world heavyweight champions of all time, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., sport’s biggest earner for most of his career, and 4-time world champion Antonio Tarver.