Barcelona 1992

Barcelona Olympics 1992

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There were athletes present from all of the IOC's 169 national members when the 25th Summer Olympic Games opened on 25th of July 1992 at Estadi Olimpic on Montjuic mountain in Barcelona. This was one of the rare occasions in olympic history when every single one of the national committees chose to participate.

Since the Seoul olympics in 1988 the political map of the world had changed dramatically.

In The Soviet Union the communist regime had collapsed, and the USSR was now divided in 15 separate countries. Of these, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania attended the Olympics as independent nations for the first time since World War II. The remaining 12 countries competed under the name of EUN, "The Unified Team" an organization which for the first and only time attended the Olympics in Barcelona.

The Berlin Wall had falled, and the two Germanies were now united into one nation. A new sports superpower therefore made its entrance at the Barcelona olympics.

In South Africa apartheid policies were abolished and the country could now for the first time since 1960 participate in the 1992 Olympics.

In Yugoslavia the dissolution had begun, and the United Nations had imposed sanctions against the country because of its military's conduct towards Croatia and Boznia-Herzegovina. This led to a ban against Yugoslavia in the team sports at the Barcelona Olympics, while the country's athletes were allowed to participatein the individual events under the designation "Independent Olympic Participants".

With the exception of circumstances in Yugoslavia the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona were virtually free of political problems. In the previous four Olympic Games the Olympics had in greater or lesser extent been affected by boycott actions. This time, and for the first time in 20 years, athletes from all IOC's national members were brought together in Barcelona 1992.

The program for the summer olympic Games in Barcelona was expanded with two new sports, baseball and badminton. In judo women's events were introduced. Among other changes it should be noted that the basketball tournament was opened for the participation of professional players. For the first time the U.S.A. entered the tournament with its best professional players. The U.S. "Dream Team" with superstars Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan made a huge impact at the Barcelona olympics.

Gymnast Vitaly Scherbo from Belarus, who was part of the EUN team, won the most gold medals in Barcelona 1992 with a total of six gold medals.

In swimming Hungarian swimmer Tamas Darnyi won both of the individual medley competitions. He had already won this impressive double in Seoul 1988.

In Skeet Zhang Shan of China won gold as the first woman to prevail in a shooting event open to both men and women. She was also the last - at least for some time - as all shooting events were gendered from Atlanta 1996.

One athletics competitions attracted particular attention. Women's 10,000 m race was won by Derartu Tulu from Ethiopia, thereby becoming the first black, African woman winning a gold medal at the Olympics. The silver was claimed by Elana Meyer of South Africa, who was white. The image of the two women sharing the honor and the crowds applause went around the world as a tangible proof of what the Olympics can establish when it reaches its highest impact. Everywhere the common joy was spontaneously seen as a symbol of hope for a new Africa without racial prejudice.

A total of 257 sets of medals were awarded at the Barcelona Olympics. The Unified Team of former Soviet states, EUN, was best nation with 45 gold medals ahead of the U.S. (37) and the new Germany with 33 gold medals. For the first time China were at a prominent place, as the country was No. 4 in the nations medals table with a total of 54 medals, including 16 of gold.

Follow this link for a detailed and interactive medal standing for Barcelona 1992.
This story about the Barcelona Olympics 1992 is based on the official Olympic reports and the Olympian Database
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