On this first day, it was a day of firsts in the water as New Zealand seized an unheard-of gold — Danyon Loader in the 200 freestyle — and Ireland its initial swim medal of any hue — Michelle Smith in the 400 individual medley.
Also climbing to the top step of the medals stand was a Russian in fencing, a Frenchmen in judo, an Italian and a Pole in shooting, a Belgian in swimming and a Turk in weightlifting.
U.S. starting pitcher Kris Benson (34) is is congratulated by teammate Chad Allen after the beating Nicaragua 4-1 in their first game of Olympic baseball Saturday, July 20, 1996 in Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium. Also pictured at left is USA's Mark Kotsay. (Eric Draper/AP)
As for Team USA, despite the home advantage, not one note of the Star-Spangled Banner was sounded.
U.S. swimmers did deliver two silvers and a bronze. Another bright note for the home team came in baseball, where Georgian Kris Benson of Marietta, who rubbed sleep from his eyes after a late night at the Opening Ceremony, pitched eight innings in a 4-1 victory over Nicaragua.
Day 1: Opening ceremonies | Day 3: U.S. captures first gold