1996 Ocoee Olympic
After the Middle Ocoee agreement was reached commercial rafting growth continued at a steady pace and over twenty commercial rafting companies were in operation by the early 90’s carrying about 200,000 commercial guests down the now famous Ocoee Middle. The next major occurrence in the Ocoee river valley started with Atlanta Georgia getting the bid for the 1996 Olympics. Olympic Whitewater slalom racing had gained traction in the 1992 Olympics held in Spain after being left out of competition since its inaugural debut in the 1972 Munich games. When Atlanta entered their bid for 1996 they included the whitewater event without indicating a venue. Once they obtained the bid and started planning the budget the decision was reached to exclude Whitewater rafting from the Atlanta games. A group of Atlanta whitewater enthusiast reacted quickly at the news of the exclusion and formed a lobby group WIN (Whitewater in Ninety Six). They quickly recognized that the Ocoee was the perfect place, but it could not be the Middle Ocoee because there was not enough river side space to host an event. The Upper Ocoee was chosen because it had the riverside space and the riverbed could be reshaped to form the required level of rapids. The location was decided and partners came on board including TVA, the State of Tennessee and the US Forest Service. Funding was procured from these three entities and the games were on.