History of the Olympic Games


Dates: July 25 - August 9, 1992
Nations: 172
Total Athletes: 10,563
Sports: 25

As is usually the case, the awarding of the Olympic Games is a stimulant to the revitalization of that city. Never was that more apparent than in Barcelona, which, behind an $8 billion reconstruction effort, revived its beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, built new luxurious hotels and rebuilt roads and the entire infrastructure of the city.

Barecelona was host to the largest contingent of nations (172) and athletes (10,563) in history. Most of these nations were making their first-ever appearance.

The XV Olympiad would long be remembered for the emergence of professionals in the Olympics. The "Dream Team" consisting of the richest and most talented athletes in the world, dominated basketball by outscoring their opponents by an average of 44 points per game. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Chris Mullin, Clyded Drexler, John Stockton, and Christian Laettner (the lone college representative) formed the greatest team the sport would ever see.

The premise of using professionals was stimulated by the loss of the Americans at the hands of the Soviets four years earlier in Seoul. Some actually thought the Soviets were making headway into a sport created in the United States. The U.S.A won all eight of its games, averaging 117.3 points per game. The closest any country would get to the United States was Croatia, which lost by a narrow 32 points.

The only sour element for the United States would be that they would never truly be able to avenge the loss at the hands of the Soviets four years earlier. The Soviet Union had disbanded into many different countries and while the majority of the '88 Soviet squad was part of the Lithuanian team, it would not be true revenge.

The Barcelona Games would be the first with four official languages, the unification of Germany for the first time in 40 years, and the emergence of separate republics grown out of the downfall of the Soviet Union. It would also mark the first appearance by South Africa in 32 years, while Cuba and North Korea returned to the Games after a 12-year hiatus.

The most highly directed athlete of the XXV Olympiad was Russian gymnast Vitaly Scherbo, who walked away with six gold medals.

Americans, as usual, would dominate track and field, thanks in part to Carl Lewis, who captured a pair of golds in the long jump and the 4 x 100 meter relays.

While Americans were dominating on the track, Cuba was doing likewise in boxing, winning seven of 12 possible gold and 14 overall, while China captured the first Olympic baseball gold medal and earned 16 overall.

Another winner at the Games, was Spain, who recorded 13 gold medals, after securing just four in the first 96 years of the Games.

The Unified Team would win the overall medal race with 122 total, versus 108 for the United States.

©2014 The Sports Network. All Rights Reserved. home | terms of use | privacy policy | comments