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Goodbye, Georgia Dome – thanks for the memories!

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 7:16 AM
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 7:48 AM

VIDEO: Georgia Dome Demolished

As we say goodbye to the Georgia Dome after a quarter-century, it’s only fitting we look back at some it its most memorable moments.

The Atlanta landmark was demolished at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The last event was held in the 25-year-old building in March, and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened next door in August.

>> Watch a video of the implosion here

Georgia Dome implosion

GOODBYE GEORGIA DOME: Here is the first video of the demolition of the Georgia icon:

Posted by WSB-TV on Monday, November 20, 2017

>> Head to for complete coverage of the implosion 

From Super Bowls, to NCAA Men’s Final Fours, to the Summer Olympics, the dome has hosted some incredible sporting events

1996 Summer Olympics

The 70,000-seat Georgia Dome was basically divided into two separate arenas.

On one side, “The Magnificent Seven” captured America’s first victory ever in women’s team gymnastics.

The team – made up of Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps – is probably best known for Strug landing a vault on one foot to clinch the gold medal. She was famously helped off by coach Bela Karolyi.

>> On Crews make last-minute preps for Georgia Dome implosion

On the other side, “The Dream Team” won its second gold medal in men’s basketball.

The team – coached by Lenny Wilkens – defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.

Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and David Robinson played on this team and the original 1992 Dream Team.

Kerri Strug hoists her flowers to the cheering crowd as she is carried from the podium by team coach, Bela Karolyi at the Georgia Dome on Tuesday, July 23, 1996. (Photo by Skip Peterson / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(Photo by Skip Peterson / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Super Bowl XXVIII

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13, earning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.

After trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Cowboys closed the game with 24 unanswered points. Emmitt Smith scored twice and was named the game’s MVP.

The crowd of 72,817 saw Natalie Cole sing the national anthem, Joe Namath do the coin toss and a halftime show featuring The Judds, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Tanya Tucker.

Super Bowl XXXIV

The second Super Bowl hosted by the Georgia Dome was one of the most memorable in history.

The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 when Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson just short of the goal-line on the game’s final play.
Quarterback Kurt Warned threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was named the game’s MVP.

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The crowd of 72,625 saw Faith Hill sing the National Anthem and a halftime show featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Edward James Olmos.

An ice storm hit Atlanta during the week of the game and many doubted the city’s ability to host the event. Despite the concerns, the Super Bowl will return to Atlanta in 2019.

Rams linebacker Mike Jones makes a goal-line stop of Titans receiver Kevin Dyson to give the Rams a 23-16 win in Super Bowl XXXIV Sunday, January 30, 2000, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Photo by Renee Hannan / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Tornado hits downtown Atlanta

Thousands of basketball fans were inside the Georgia Dome when an EF-2 tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta in March 2008.

The 130 mph tornado killed one person near downtown, blew out dozens of windows from high-rise buildings, tossed trees and cars and damaged homes in the area.

Inside the Georgia Dome, fans were watching the Southeastern Conference college basketball tournament. The game between Mississippi State and Alabama was in overtime when the tornado struck around 9:40 p.m.

The storm ripped open a panel on the side of the dome, shearing bolts and causing insulation to fall into the arena.

The game was completed after the storm moved through. The rest of the tournament was postponed.

The dome, along with several other downtown buildings, underwent repairs while staying open for business in the years after the tornado.

Fans observe damage to the Georgia Dome after a tornado struck downtown Atlanta during the SEC Tournament in 2008.(AJC file photo)(AJC file photo)

Sugar Bowl moved to Georgia Dome

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl between the Georgia Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers was played at the Georgia dome in January 2006. It was the first time the “South’s Biggest Bowl Game” was played outside of the state of Louisiana.

That week, within a four day period, the dome hosted three games. Along with the Sugar Bowl, the dome also hosted the Peach Bowl between LSU and Miami and an NFL game between the Falcons and the Panthers.

2012 NFC Championship game

The Georgia Dome has seen its share of Falcons successes and frustrations. The 2012 NFC Championship was one of the franchise's biggest accomplishments and toughest defeats. It was the first-ever NFC championship game in Atlanta. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 second-quarter lead over the San Francisco 49ers. The lead wouldn't last, and after failing to make a play at the end, the Falcons lost 28-24 and missed the Super Bowl. 

Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons receives the ball on the Atlanta one-yardline in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo credit: 2013 Getty Images)(2013 Getty Images)

2017 NFC Championship game

In 2017, the Falcons would not squander a chance to return to the Super Bowl. In their final game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 to advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

In this game, the Falcons again jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but this time they never looked back. They took a 24-0 at halftime and held on for a convincing win to close out their time at the Dome. 

Matt Ryan #2 and Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons after defeating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on January 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons defeated the Packers 44-21. (Photo credit: 2017 Getty Images)(2017 Getty Images)

NCAA Tournaments

Atlanta has hosted 85 NCAA men's tournament games, fifth most of any city. Thirty of those games were played at the Georgia Dome. Six NCAA Regionals, three men's Final Fours (2002, 2007 and 2013) and one women's Final Four were played at the Dome. The Dome's final tournament in 2013 set records. A crowd of 74,326 beat the record for the largest ever for a final game. 

State Championships

The Dome has been home to the finals since 2008, but the stadium's 25-year history with Georgia high school football dates back to the building's opening in 1992. On Sept. 5, 1992, the Corky Kell Classic matchup between Brookwood and McEachern was the first regular season football game in the Dome. Until then, Georgia high school football rarely was played on such a big stage. 

In the 25 seasons, 169 Georgia high schools have participated in the Dome's 298 high school football games, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. 

The Dome also played host to the season-opening Corky Kell Classic. (Photo by Jason Getz / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(Photo by Jason Getz / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Soccer at the dome

Eleven soccer games were played at the Georgia Dome since 2009. The first competitive soccer games were held during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. men's national team made its first appearance in Atlanta since 1977 in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals at the Dome. 

In all, the Dome hosted Mexico's "El Tri" four times, Mexico's Club America twice and the U.S. men's and women's national teams once each. Notable visitors also include European clubs A.C. Milan and Manchester City.

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Stranger’s Facebook message reunites family with dog stolen six months ago

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

Family Reunited With Stolen Dog Thanks to Stranger’s Facebook Message

Left unattended for only 30 minutes, Feather was stolen right out of the Martin’s fenced backyard six months ago.

The family tried desperately to find their beloved Siberian husky. 

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They had nearly given up hope until recently, when Briana Martin got a Facebook message from a nearby mechanic shop -- Feather was at his parent’s house nearly 90 miles away, according to WQAD.

"I was very shocked,” Martin told WQAD. “I just kind of stared at my phone for a second and said what? Once I got my bearings, I said OK, what's their name, what's their address, where can I find them?"

Martin gave the information to East Moline police, who contacted officers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Feather was recovered and returned to the Martins within hours, according to WQAD. The man suspected of stealing Feather did not comment. 

"I wish I could know what's going on with her in the past six months, where she's been, what she's done, how she liked her first snow,” Martin told WQAD.

The Martins plan to press criminal charges. 

"You are looking at grand theft in some cases,” Martin said. “Animals are not cheap, and you could go to jail. Be willing to pay that price if you want to take an animal.”

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New Mexico family reunited with dog missing 5 years found in California

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 12:26 PM

VIDEO: Missing Husky Reunited With Owner More Than Five Years Later

After five years missing, Jezus Vigil and his family thought Azula was dead, or at least gone forever. 

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So he was thrilled, albeit a little confused, to get a phone call recently from Riverside County Department of Animal Services, telling him they had found his 7-year-old Siberian husky. 

The 65-pound dog was found a month ago walking aimlessly down a road in a Riverside neighborhood, officials said. A good Samaritan brought Azula to the shelter, where she was identified from her microchip.

She was flown home to Vigil Wednesday.

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Police K-9 bites girl, 4, while chasing suspect

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 5:58 PM

File photo.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)(John Moore/Getty Images)

A Shelby police dog chasing a man wanted on felony warrants bit a 4-year-old girl during the pursuit, officials said.

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The police chief told Channel 9 the suspect jumped on top of a car while trying to get away from the dog. 

At some point, the suspect opened the back door of the car and a girl inside was bitten. 

She was taken to the hospital to be checked out. The extent of her injuries is unknown.

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Cold snap expected to contribute to spike in manatee deaths

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 7:09 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)(Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Florida is on pace to set an annual record for manatee deaths, according to officials with a nonprofit government watchdog group.

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Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility officials said the first two months of 2018 have been especially deadly for Florida manatees.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife statistics, through March 9, there have been 183 reported manatee deaths. Of those, 52 deaths are contributed to cold stress.
Cold stress occurs in manatees as a result of exposure to prolonged cold weather.

Experts said exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods can put a manatee at risk for cold-stress syndrome. It leads to weight loss, internal fat loss, dehydration and other issues.

Ron Mezich with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said young manatees are especially vulnerable to death from cold stress.

“It’s one of the factors that manatees typically have to deal with, and a lot of young animals tend to be more susceptible to cold winters when they’re out on their own for the first time,” Mezich said. 

A recent Florida-wide synoptic manatee survey found there are 6,131 manatees, which is down from 6,620 in 2017.

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