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Al Oerter Will Carry Torch to Olympic Stadium

July 17, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Al Oerter, a four-time gold medal winning discus thrower, will be the last torch bearer before the Olympic flame enters the stadium for the opening ceremony in Atlanta Friday night.

Plans for the subsequent lighting of the Olympic cauldron to officially start the Summer Games are a tightly guarded secret. Even a dress rehearsal for the ceremony, staged privately Wednesday night for Olympic employees and volunteers, did not include that part of the show.

The role of Oerter, who won his medals in the 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968 games, was disclosed Wednesday as the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games released the end route of the torch relay.

Oerter will be joined by several other Olympians, including high jumper Alice Coachman, basketball player Walt Bellamy and boxer Rocky Lane, for the last six miles of the relay that began April 27 in Los Angeles.

The two-hour final stretch will begin at 9 p.m. at City Hall and will wind toward the stadium along a route that includes the birthplace and tomb of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

``The final leg pays tribute to his honor,″ said ACOG spokesman David Emanuel.

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