Gold Medal Sound

Gold Medal Sound
  • SUWANEE, GA-When the 1996 Olympic Games set up in and around Atlanta, GA, organizers chose idyllic Lake Lanier as the site for the rowing and canoeing events. Unfortunately, after the completion of the Games, the sound system used during the competition at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center was stripped, leaving those using the venue for future events without a professional sound system. As the only living legacy remaining of the '96 games, community members strive to keep the location up to its former glory.

The new sound systems at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center features the R6-51 from Community Loudspeakers, known for its particularly long throw.
One such Georgian is Joseph Ciotti, owner and president of Richardson Technology Systems. He has been involved with the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club (LCKC) for years. "I recognize that the Olympic venue and the organizations that use the facility offer the opportunity for local and neighboring youths to become involved in a non-contact, individual, and team sport while becoming active outdoors and on the water," said Ciotti. So, this past summer, he led Richardson to donate a new, state-of-the art sound system. "The donation is a way for us to show our appreciation for the efforts that the organizations put forth for the youth and also for the legacy of the venue," he said.

Over the years, Richardson had generously donated components so the Olympic Center was never without some form of a system. "We had bits and pieces of things," explained Connie Hagler, executive director for LCKC. "It was wonderful to have it, but it certainly wasn't state of the art."

Another issue that Richardson had to tackle was the noise that spilled over into nearby neighbors' houses. "There's a house that's located about 75 feet behind the top of the stands," said Lewis. "Being a long-throw box, the neighborhood that's beyond that gets a lot of SPL, but the house that's very close to the stands, we managed to keep a good bit of the energy off of that house." According to Hagler, after the first event with the new system, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the '96 Games, the neighbors didn't say a word. "In fact, they were pleased with what was going on," she said.

Overall, the installation has helped restore the center to its Olympic splendor. "The sound is much higher quality, so it's pleasant when you listen to it," Hagler said. "With the distribution that the speakers have, it's louder where it needs to be loud, and you don't hear it when you need to be away from it. I didn't believe it was really going to work, and sure enough it did-it was amazing, and it's very much appreciated. The legacy wouldn't be here without people like Richardson."

Mary Bakija is a writer and editor with more than 15 years of storytelling experience. Bakija is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Library and Information Science to help others find and tell important stories that might otherwise be lost, and to ensure those stories are preserved for future generations to see.