The Centennial Olympic Park Bombing was a terrorist bombing on July 27, 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States during the 1996 Summer Olympics, the first of four committed by Eric Robert Rudolph.Two people died, and 111 were injured. 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 was the largest pipe bomb in U.S. history, weighing in excess of 40 pounds. 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.

Security guard Richard Jewell discovered the bag and alerted Georgia Bureau of Investigation officers. Nine minutes later, Rudolph called 911 to deliver a warning, saying "There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes". Jewell and other security guards began clearing the immediate area so that a bomb squad could investigate the suspicious package. At 1:20 AM, the bomb exploded. Alice Hawthorne from Albany, Georgia, was killed by a nail that struck her in the head. The bomb wounded 111 others. Turkish cameraman Melih Uzunyol died from a heart attack he suffered while running to cover the blast.

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, 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 but the gossip and damage to his reputation would haunt him for years.

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. To be spared a possible death sentence, Rudolph agreed to a deal with federal prosecutors and revealed the whereabouts of dangerous explosives he buried in Cherokee County, N.C