The 1996 Summer Olympics, known officially as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and unofficially as the Centennial Olympics, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, from July 19 to August 4, 1996. A record 197 nations, all current IOC member nations, took part in the Games, comprising 10,318 athletes. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same year since 1924, and place them in alternating even-numbered years, beginning in 1994. The 1996 Summer Games were the first to be staged in a different year from the Winter Games. Atlanta became the fifth American city to host the Olympic Games and the third to hold a Summer Olympic Games.