Dates: September 17 - October 2, 1988
Total Athletes: 9,421
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
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,
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.