The Olympic Torch in Chapel Hill

Charles Shaffer, Jr., with the Olympic torch, 23 June 1996. Photo by Dan Sears for UNC News Services.

Charles Shaffer, Jr., with the Olympic torch, 23 June 1996. Photo by Dan Sears for UNC News Services.

Twenty years ago this summer, the Olympic torch relay passed through Chapel Hill on its eventual way to Atlanta for the 1996 Summer Olympics.

UNC was placed on the torch relay route thanks to the work of alumnus Charles Shaffer, Jr., an Atlanta attorney who was one of the early members of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, the organization that successfully pitched what began as an unlikely proposal into a successful bid for the 1996 games.

In recognition of his work in bringing the Olympics to Atlanta, Shaffer was asked to participate in the torch relay and got to decide where he would like to run. As an alumnus with longtime family ties to Carolina, Shaffer chose Chapel Hill.

On June 23, 1996, the torch came to Carolina. Members of the local community, including UNC journalism professor Chuck Stone, carried the torch through Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Charles Shaffer took the torch onto campus and past the Old Well, where a large crowd was waiting. The photos on this page are from the UNC News Services collection in the University Archives.

Photo by Dan Sears for UNC News Services.

Photo by Dan Sears for UNC News Services, 1996.

Photo by Dan Sears for UNC News Services, 1996.

Photo by Dan Sears for UNC News Services, 1996.

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