1992 Summer Olympics

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The 1992 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain in 1992. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same year since 1924, and place them in alternating even-numbered years, beginning in 1994. The 1992 Summer Games were the last to be staged in the same year as the Winter Games.[1]

Contents

Host city selection

Barcelona, the birthplace of then-IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, was selected over Amsterdam, Belgrade, Birmingham, Brisbane and Paris in Lausanne, Switzerland, on October 17, 1986, during the 91st IOC Session. It had bid for the 1936 Summer Olympics, losing out to Berlin. The chart's information below comes from the International Olympic Committee Vote History web page.

Highlights

  • The Olympic flame cauldron was lit by the Paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo, who shot an arrow lit by the last torch runner into it. Rebollo deliberately overshot the cauldron; though some sources claim it was a show for the safety of the spectators[2], in fact Rebollo's arrow lit the natural gas rising from the cauldron.[3]
  • South Africa was allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time since the 1960 Games, after a long suspension for its apartheid policy. White South African runner Elana Meyer and black Ethiopian runner Derartu Tulu fought a close race in the 10,000 m (won by Tulu) and then ran a victory lap hand in hand.[4]
  • Following its reunification in 1990, Germany sent a single, unified Olympic team for the first time since the 1964 Games.
  • As the Soviet Union had been dissolved in 1991, the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania sent their own teams for the first time since 1936. The other Soviet republics competed under the name "Unified Team".
  • The break-up of SFR Yugoslavia led to the Olympic debuts of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to United Nations sanctions, FR Yugoslavian athletes were not allowed to participate with their own team. However, individual athletes could compete under the Olympic flag as Independent Olympic Participants.
  • In men's artistic gymnastics, Vitaly Scherbo from Belarus, representing the Unified Team, won six gold medals, including four on a single day. Five of the six golds were in individual events, tying Eric Heiden's record for individual gold medals at a single Olympics (Michael Phelps would tie this record in 2008).
  • In women's artistic gymnastics, Tatiana Gutsu took gold in the All-Around competition edging the United States' Shannon Miller.
  • In the diving competitions, held in the view of the Sagrada Família, Fu Mingxia won the high dive event at the age of 13.
  • Russian swimmers dominated the freestyle events, with Alexander Popov and Yevgeny Sadovyi each winning two events (Sadovyi won a third with in the relays).
  • Evelyn Ashford won her fourth Olympic gold medal in the 4x100 metre relay, making her one of only four female athletes to have achieved this in history.
  • The young Krisztina Egerszegi of Hungary won three individual swimming gold medals.
  • In women's 200 metres breaststroke, Kyoko Iwasaki of Japan won a gold medal at age of 14 years and 6 days, became the youngest-ever gold medalist in swimming competitions at the Olympics.
  • After being demonstrated six times, baseball became an Olympic sport, with Cuba winning the gold medal, Chinese Taipei winning silver, and Japan, the bronze.
  • Badminton and women's judo became part of the Olympic programme, while slalom canoeing returned to the Games after a 20-year absence.
  • Roller hockey became a demonstration sport in the 1992 Games. Argentina won the gold medal. Basque pelota and taekwondo were also demonstration sports.
  • Several of the U.S. men's volleyball gold medal team from the 1988 Olympics returned to vie for another medal. In the first round, they lost a controversial match to Japan, sparking them to shave their heads in protest (including Steve Timmons, sacrificing his trademark red flattop for the protest).
  • Mike Stulce of the USA won the men's shot put, beating heavy favored Werner Günthör of Switzerland.
  • On the 20th anniversary of the Munich massacre and the 500th anniversary of the Alhambra Decree, Yael Arad became the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal, winning a silver medal in judo. The next day, Oren Smadja became Israel's first male medalist, winning a bronze in the same sport.
  • Derek Redmond of Great Britain tore a hamstring during a 400m semi-final heat. As he struggled to finish the race, his father entered the track without credentials and helped him complete the race, to a standing ovation from the crowd.
  • Gail Devers won the 100 meter dash in one of the closest races in history. 5 women finished within 0.06 seconds of each other.
  • In basketball, the admittance of professional players led to the formation of the "Dream Team" of the United States, featuring Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and other NBA stars. The Dream Team, which easily won the gold medal, would be inducted as a unit into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
  • After making the semifinals of two grand slams at the age of 14, Jennifer Capriati won the single's tennis competition at the age of 16

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