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Alex Morgan, Sue Bird to produce, participate in podcast on 1996 Atlanta Olympics

Cassandra Negley
·3-min read

Alex Morgan and Sue Bird are bringing the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, a course-altering milestone for women's sports in the United States, back into the limelight. 

The duo will executive produce and participate in a six-part documentary podcast titled "Summer of Gold" for TOGETHXR, the company they founded with fellow Olympians Chloe Kim and Simone Manuel, and Dear Media. 

Podcast focuses on women's sports milestone 

The podcast will dive into how and why the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta were monumental for women's sports. 

“The summer of ’96 is one of the most, if not the most, important moments in women’s sports history," Jessica Robertson, TOGETHXR’s chief content officer, told Deadline. "All those women who represented the United States in the Atlanta Games were first generation Title IX-ers. It was also the summer that the WNBA was founded. More importantly, that summer sat right alongside a larger cultural 'girl power' movement.  

“As much as this is a sports story, it’s also a story about girl power in the mid to late-'90s. Because of that cultural context, the ’96 Olympic Games turned women athletes not just into sports icons but culture icons. It was a critical 'see it, be it' moment for so many women of this generation. As we look to Tokyo 2021, we’ll celebrate that past through this narrative podcast but we’ll also revisit it and have a reckoning with how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.”

The series comes ahead of the 25th anniversary of the games as well as the 25th anniversary season of the WNBA, which tips off next month. The league announced a "Count it" campaign and new jerseys to kick off the year.

1996 Atlanta Olympics pivotal for women's sports

US women's gymnastics team after gold in 1996
The United States Women's Gymnastics Team (L-R) of Amanda Borden, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug, and Shannon Miller salutes the crowd after receiving their gold medals in the team competition of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. (David Madison/Getty Images)

The podcast will focus on iconic moments and figures at the games, including the "Magnificent Seven." The title was given to a group of seven gymnasts — Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps — who won the first women's gymnastics team title for the U.S. Team USA won again in 2012 with the "Fierce Five" and in 2016 with the "Final Five." 

Other focal points include discussion on the first wave of Title IX athletes to enter the games, gold medals by the women's basketball, soccer and softball teams, and David Stern founding the WNBA off the Olympic team's success

The 1996 games set the groundwork for women's sports in the United States. For women's soccer it was an initial spark before the '99ers won the 1999 FIFA World Cup playing at the Rose Bowl in California. 

Morgan, Bird part of Olympic history

Bird, a four-time WNBA champion, and Team USA basketball are going for a seventh consecutive medal this summer at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It would tie the men's basketball team's streak set from 1936-1968. 

Bird and Diana Taurasi would become the first five-time gold medalists in basketball if they win this summer. They debuted on the Olympic stage in 2004, two cycles after the Atlanta games. 

Morgan, 31, won gold with the women's national soccer team in 2012. The U.S. lost to Sweden on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Games. She's a two-time FIFA World Cup champion who made her Olympic debut in 2012. 

Bird, Morgan, Kim and Manuel launched their media and commerce company last month. They are some of the many women taking control of what they want to see in women's sports through team and media ownership outlets. The podcast space has been sparse when it comes to women's sports stories and is slowly growing with content.  

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