Friday, June 21, 1996
Photography credit: Bill Geiger.
Sixteen years after its visit to Mount Vernon in 1980, the Olympic Torch returned to the estate on its journey to the Games in Atlanta, Georgia. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association refused to allow the usual corporate endorsements, so the Coca-Cola motorcycle and BMW convertible that accompanied the torch were left outside the gate. Instead, Mount Vernon enlisted a drum and fife corps, soldiers on horseback and more than 1,000 schoolchildren with American flags lining the path.
Young Washington family descendants and the descendant of a former Mount Vernon enslaved person took turns carrying the flag around the Mansion Circle, cheered on by 3,400 visitors.
Darrell Green, of the Washington Redskins, carried the Olympic Torch up the bowling green, cheered on by a crowd that included students from the Darrel Green Learning Center. The all-star athlete trotted triumphantly up to the Mansion to hand the torch to "George Washington," as portrayed by William Sommerfield, who lit the Olympic cauldron.