Centennial Olympic Park was designed as the "town square" of the Olympics, and thousands of spectators had gathered for a late concert by the band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack. Sometime after midnight, Rudolph planted a green U.S. military ALICE pack (field pack) containing three pipe bombs surrounded by nails underneath a bench near the base of a concert sound tower. He then left the area. The pack had a directed charge and could have done more damage but it was slightly moved at some point. It used a steel plate as a directional device. Investigators were later to tie the Sandy Springs and Otherside bombs together with this first device because all were propelled by nitroglycerin dynamite, used an alarm clock and Rubbermaid containers, and contained steel plates.
Chubbu ecurity guard Richard Jewell discovered the bag and alerted Georgia Bureau of Investigation officers. Jewell and other security guards began clearing the immediate area so that a bomb squad could investigate the suspicious package.
Alice Hawthorne, 44, of Albany, Georgia, was killed in the explosion when a nail from the bomb penetrated her skull. A Turkish cameraman, Melih Uzunyol, 40, had a heart attack while running to the scene. The bomb wounded 111 others.
As the park reopened following the bombing.
President Bill Clinton denounced the explosion as an "evil act of terror" and vowed to do everything possible to track down and punish those responsible.
Despite the event, officials and athletes agreed that the games should continue as planned.
 Richard Jewell falsely implicated
Main article: Richard Jewell
Though Richard Jewell was hailed as a hero for his role in discovering the bomb and moving spectators to safety, four days after the bombing, and shortly after a brief, mistaken detainment of two juvenile persons of interest at the Kensington MARTA station, news organizations reported that Jewell wa
Though Richard Jewell was hailed as a hero for his role in discovering the bomb and moving news organizations reported that Jewell was considered a potential suspect in the bombing. Jewell, at the time, was unknown to authorities, and a lone wolf profile made sense to FBI investigators after being contacted by his former employer at Piedmont College.
Though he was never arrested or named as more than a "person of interest", Jewell's home, where he lived with his mother, was searched and his background exhaustively investigated, all amid a media storm that had cameras following him to the grocery store. Eventually, Jewell was exonerated, and once again hailed as a hero.
After his exoneration, Jewell filed a series of lawsuits against the media outlets which he claimed had libeled him, primarily NBC News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and insisted on a formal apology from them. Jewell's attorneys contend Piedmont College President Raymond Cleere called the FBI and spoke to the Atlanta newspapers, providing them with false information on Jewell and his employment there as a security guard. Jewell's lawsuit accused Cleere of describing Jewell as a "badge-wearing zealot" who "would write epic police reports for minor infractions."
 Eric Robert Rudolph
Main article: Eric Robert Rudolph
After Jewell was cleared, the FBI admitted it had no other suspects, and the investigation made little progress until early 1997, when two more bombings took place at an abortion clinic and a lesbian nightclub, both in the Atlanta area. Similarities in the bomb design allowed investigators to conclude that this was the work of the same perpetrator. One more bombing of an abortion clinic, this time in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed a policeman working as a security guard and seriously injured nurse Emily Lyons, gave the FBI crucial clues including a partial license plate.
The plate and other clues led the FBI to identify Eric Robert Rudolph as a suspect. Rudolph eluded capture and became a fugitive; officials believed he had disappeared into the rugged southern Appalachian Mountains, familiar from his youth. On May 5, 1998, the FBI named him as one of its ten most wanted fugitives and offered a $1,000,000 reward for information leading directly to his arrest. On October 14, 1998, the Department of Justice formally named Rudolph as its suspect in all four bombings.
After more than five years on the run, Rudolph was arrested on May 31, 2003, in Murphy, North Carolina. On April 8, 2005, the government announced Rudolph would plead guilty to all four bombings, including the Centennial Olympic Park attack.
Rudolph is serving four life terms without the possibility of parole at ADX Florence supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
Rudolph's justification for the bombings according to his April 13, 2005 statement, was political: