Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 30, 1996
Date Finished: August 2, 1996
Format: Technical routine score counts 35% of total; Free routine score counts 65% of total.
Since the 1973 World Championships, the podium in team synchro had always consisted of the same three nations – the United States, Canada, and Japan. They had finished in that order at the 1994 World Championships and were expected to continue that trend in Atlanta. In fact, the eight entered nations at the 1996 Olympics finished in the exact order they had at the 1994 Worlds. The United States won the event, led by Becky Dyroen-Lancer, who was certainly deprived of more medals by the change in the program. Since the 1992 Olympics, she had recorded nine consecutive Grand Slams – winning solo, duet, team, and figures titles at every meet, including the 1994 World Championships and 1995 Pan-American Games. The French team caused controversy with their plans for the original routine, which was to consist of an enactment of Jewish women at a concentration camp making their final walk to the gas chambers. Shortly before the Olympics, they were convinced of how inappropriate this was and French IOC Member and Minister of Sports, Guy Drut, forbade from using their original routine.