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History of the Olympic Games
 

1988

Dates: September 17 - October 2, 1988
Nations: 160
Total Athletes: 9,421
Sports: 23

For the first time in 16 years, the Seoul Games had a full delegation of nations, not one boycott. Ironically, the Games went off without political statements or protests.

The South Korean budget governement made complete use of its 3.1 billion dollar budget, having a security force of some 120,000, and building 11 new specialty areans for a record 160 participating nations, 38 more than ever before.

No one athlete dominated these Olympic Games, although many tried. Canada's Ben Johnson set the Olympic Village ablaze by lowering the world record in the 100- meter dash from 9.83 to 9.79. To many, this was virtually impossible. As it would turn out, the IOC disclosed that a urine sample taken from Johnson discovered performance-enhancing steroids. Johnson was dismissed from the games as well as international competition for the next two years.

Florence Griffith Joyner captured the eye of many with her incredible, three- gold, one silver performance in track and field. Flo-Jo, as she was commonly nicknamed, won the 100-meter final in 10.54, the 200-meter in a world record time of 21.34 and anchored the 4 x 100 meter relay team.

Flo-Jo's sister-in-law, Jackie Joyner Kersee, won gold in the heptathlon and long jump.

On the men's side, Carl Lewis continued his dominance, capturing two more gold (Johnson's 100 title and the long jump)

Kenyan runners stole the show in events 3,000 meters and higher, taking seven medals; three gold, two silvers and one bronze.

In swimming, Kristin Otto stole the show, winning six gold medals for East Germany, America's Matt Biondi captured five gold and a silver and bronze each, Janet Evans took three gold (400 and 800 meter freestyle, 400 meter individual medley), while Greg Louganis captured the gold in springboard and platform.

Soviet gymnasts Vladimir Artenov and Elena Shoushounova captured four gold each. While Mary Lou Retton became the first American woman to receive a gold in gymnastics in the '84 Olympics in LA. It was against a shortened and boycotted field. In '88, Phoebe Mills becamse the first female gymnast to win a medal in a full-field Olympics for the U.S.

Americans felt cheated when judges awarded the gold medal to Korean Park Si-hun over Roy Jones. Jones lost the gold medal match in a stunning 3-2 decision.

This would be the final Olympic appearance for East Germany, which would absorbed into a united Germany four years later in Barcelona.

The Soviets once again, dominated the medal race, winning 55 gold medals and 132 overall, East Germany placed second with 37 gold and 102 overall. The U.S. finished with 36 gold and 94 overall.

The hosts wound up sixth in the overall medal count with 33 overall and 12 gold. The Koreans dominated table tennis (a new event for the '88 Games), archery and team handball, and had bragging rights over their Asian brothers, China and Japan, which registered 28 and 14 respectively.


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