Not only did Billy persuade International Olympic Committee members to give the Games to a city some couldn't find on a globe, he also wheedled $40 million sponsorships from corporate chieftains who once refused his phone calls.
Exacerbating the emptiness was a consensus that the Olympics, stigmatized by a fatal bombing and trashed by a cheesy downtown flea-market bazaar, had failed to put Atlanta among the great international cities.
After years at Payne's side directing the chief's public relations, Dick Yarbrough believes "an absence of pressure" will be significant: "If the special-interest groups really want women in, they will give Billy some time and some room."
Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images Payne brought the Olympic flame to Atlanta literally and figuratively, then joined Clinton and Juan Antonio Samaranch for opening ceremonies (below).
He worked with members to arrange tee times for IOC voters and once wrote to then-chairman Jack Stephens that the golf course, as a destination point for travelers from around the world, "is our Mediterranean Sea."
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