Centennial Olympic Games

Have the Games gotten too commercialized?


The 1996 summer Olympics, due to begin in Atlanta in July, will be the biggest and costliest ever. Nearly 11,000 athletes from 197 countries will compete in the $1.6 billion extravaganza. Organizers expect an astounding global TV audience of 3.5 billion people - more than half the Earth's population. And they anticipate none of the political boycotts that have marred the Games in recent years. But two perennial concerns remain: Many critics decry the drumbeat of commercialization surrounding the Games, and others worry about the use by some athletes of performance-enhancing drugs. For now, though, the mood is decidedly upbeat as the nation awaits the April 27 start in Los Angeles of the coast-to-coast, 15,000-mile Olympic torch relay.

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