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Monday, February 10, 2014
Olympic Crisis, Part 3 of 3
To continue our crisis series, here are a few more highlights as the Olympics continue Sochi:
During a concert at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park on July 27, 1996 a pipe bomb filled with screws and nails hidden inside a backpack exploded. One person was killed and another 100 people were injured by the explosion. There was also a cameraman who died of a heart attack while running over to cover the event. At the onset not much was known about the perpetrator. Police were warned of the bombing in advance, but the bomb exploded before the anonymous caller said it would, leading authorities to suspect that the law enforcement officers who descended on the park were indirectly targeted. Media coverage of the bombing had exploded and citizens wanted the demolitionist found, and quick. Because of this, Richard Jewell, a security guard at the concert, was charged with the crime. Evidence against him was doubtful at best, and in 1998 Federal authorities charged Eric Rudolph with the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. He was also charged with the bombings at a gay nightclub and an abortion clinic, both in Atlanta. Multiple reports state that the letters claiming responsibility for those bombings were signed “Amy of God.” Eric Rudolph was finally arrested in 2003. He has since confessed to the bombings and is currently serving multiple life sentences in prison.
On August 9, 2008 a knife-wielding assailant killed Todd Bachman and injured his wife, Barbara. A female Chinese tour guide was also injured in the attack. The couple’s daughter, a former Olympic volleyball player, was with them at the time of the attack and was unharmed. Their son-in-law, Hugh McCutcheon, was the coach of the U.S. men’s volleyball team. The attack took place at the Drum Tower, an ancient landmark in Beijing placed three miles from the main Olympic arena. The perpetrator, Tang Yongming, committed suicide succeeding the attack by jumping from the second floor of the tower. The reason for the attack is still unknown, and reports speculate that the perpetrator was mentally ill, but, some say that Yongming attacked these U.S. citizens because of their involvement with the Olympic volleyball teams. Tang had no criminal record or identified ties to terrorist establishments. The stabbing was covered by media across the United States, but not much was said about it otherwise because there was a tremendous fear that this event would cast a dark shadow on the Games.