ATLANTA (AP) _ Former President Jimmy Carter, country music superstar Garth Brooks and NBA center Shaquille O'Neal will join a cast of thousands ordinary folks to bring the Olympic flame to Atlanta.

Olympic organizers Thursday named 5,500 ``community heroes'' and 800 Olympians to participate in the torch relay, which begins April 27 in Los Angeles and will pass through 42 states.

The community heroes were chosen in a nationwide search. Though the list includes a smattering of celebrities, it is dominated by ordinary people who have made contributions to their communities.

The group was hailed by Billy Payne, president of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, as ``a composite of great Americans.''

The Olympians chosen as torch carriers include gymnast Shannon Miller, skater Nancy Kerrigan, hurdler Edwin Moses and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.

A contest sponsored by The Coca-Cola Co. will pick another 2,500 torch carriers, and Games organizers will select 1,200 VIP members of the ``Olympic family,'' for a total of 10,000.

Among the people chosen to carry the torch is Myles Harris, a 13-year-old from Fort Washington, Md., who collects food for volunteer organizations that help the poor. Aspiring to swim in the 2000 Olympics, he gets up at 4 a.m. several days a week to practice, and has managed to maintain excellent grades at school.

``It's pretty tough,'' the eighth-grader said of his busy schedule. ``I manage.''

Myles was notified by Olympic officials of his selection a few weeks ago and was sworn to secrecy, said his mother, Jacqueline Ryles Harris. ``He was just ecstatic. The hardest thing he ever did was not tell anybody,'' she said.

Richard Straut, an Atlanta police officer, said his selection as a torch carrier was a miracle. Seven years ago, Straut was given little chance to survive after being shot in the head when a theft suspect he was trying to arrest grabbed his gun.

Straut battled his way back to walk again, get a college degree and eventually rejoin the police force.

``I want to set an example. If I can do it, anybody can,'' said Straut, 30. ``I've still got a pronounced limp, but I'm going to run the full length _ I'm going to do it.''

Each torch bearer will carry the flame up to 1 kilometer before igniting the next carrier's torch. Organizers haven't yet set the order in which the carriers will run.

Last fall, ACOG and the United Way began a search for people who have distinguished themselves by their community work. Candidates could nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

Organizers chose the runners from among 38,500 nominees and began notifying the winners last month. Two of the names were disclosed by President Clinton in his State of the Union address.

The torch run will cover 15,000 miles before ending during the opening ceremony in Atlanta July 19.

Among other carriers:

_ Jason Pisano of West Warwick, R.I., who has cerebral palsy and covered the Boston Marathon course by using his left foot to push himself backwards in his wheelchair for 26.2 miles.

_ Mary Ann Phillips, a mother of 10 in Norwood, Mass., who for 20 years has coordinated food pickups for a soup kitchen in Boston that is one of the country's largest.

_ Robin Polson, a high school senior in Cottage Grove, Minn., who travels to junior high and elementary school assemblies to teach children about the dangers of drug abuse. She is active in student government and three sports, and maintains an ``A'' average.