“Members Volunteer during Atlanta Olympics,” Ensign, Oct. 1996, 79–80
While thousands of athletes flocked to the Atlanta, Georgia, area for the 1996 Summer Olympics, hundreds of Church members worked to welcome the athletes and visitors and to prepare the city for the world’s attention.
Sherman Day, an official on the Atlanta Olympic committee and a member of the Smyrna Ward, Atlanta Georgia Stake, reported that hundreds of Church members helped prepare Atlanta for the Olympic Games. In addition, several wards and stakes, as well as individuals, registered as volunteers to help during the games in any way they might be needed.
Prior to the Olympics, members helped clean up the community. Among the members were more than 140 teenagers from the Roswell Georgia Stake, who cleaned the streets of their city in one day, a task that would have taken Roswell city employees much longer.
Some Church members who speak a second language volunteered as translators for the 17-day event, an assignment that sometimes involved taking time off during the Olympics, as well as spending hours prior to the games for training and preparation.
Boy Scouts from one LDS troop lined up in front of the Atlanta Georgia Temple to watch a runner carrying the Olympic torch. After the torch had passed, the boys cleaned up litter left by the crowd.
Church members participated in “A Gift of Quilts” project, spending more than 700 hours making quilts that were given to Olympic representatives from other nations as a goodwill gesture.
LDS missionaries also became involved, setting up for Olympic visitors a display with the theme “Strong Families Can Hold Our World Together.” The exhibit consisted of a display of photographs used in the book The Mission: Inside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a multi-image presentation of slides from the same book, a display on families, and a Book of Mormon display in 60 languages. During the Olympics, the display was set up at three different sites, and stake missionaries and local members worked alongside full-time missionaries to help with the project.
Many other members worked as security volunteers, distributed information, served as ushers, or assisted in transportation processes during the Summer Games.
“There was something for everyone who was interested,” observed Val H. Markos of the Peachtree Corners Ward, Roswell Georgia Stake, who volunteered at the field hockey venue and also carried the torch as it passed through Columbus, Georgia.