Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics :History of the Modern Games - 1988 Seoul

The 1988 Summer Olympics were held in Seoul, South Korea. One hundred and sixty (160 nations) were represented by a total of 8391 athletes (6197 men and 2194 women) and 263 events were held. South Korea, Albania, Cuba, Madagascar and Seychelles boycotted the games. For differing reasons, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Albania did not participate in the Games.

Live doves were released during the Opening Ceremony as a symbol of world peace, but a number of the doves were burned alive by the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. The Opening Ceremonies were highlighted by a skydiving team descending over the stadium and forming the 5-colored Olympic Rings. The opening ceremony also featured a mass demonstration of taekwondo with hundreds of adults and children performing moves in unison.

To publicize the Games the Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee (SLOOC) produced and distributed an official song of the Seoul Games to all the IOC member nations, encouraging their participation in the festival and consolidating the harmony and friendship of the entire world citizens through the song. The song "Hand in Hand." was written by Italian composer Giorgio Moroder and American songwriter Tom Whitlock, and performed by singing group Koreana. "Hand in Hand" topped popular songs in 17 countries including Sweden, Federal Rep. Of Germany, the Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Japan and Hong Kong and was listed among the top 10s of the popular songs in more than 30 countries.

The Seoul mascot was Hodori the tiger cub. Hodori is a well known character in Korean legends and portrays the friendly and hospitable traditions of the Korean people. The amateur rule, which had plagued athletes and officials alike since the beginning of the Olympic Games, was finally overturned in 1986. It was now up to individual sports groups to determine whether or not "professionals" should be allowed to compete in the Olympics. This new rule allowed tennis to return to the Olympic Games, not having appeared since 1924 when it was eliminated because of professional/amateur difficulties.

Canadian, Ben Johnson won the 100 m with a new world record, but was later disqualified after he tested positive for stanozolol. Carl Lewis proved the winner.

Florence "Flo-Jo" Griffith-Joyner put sartorial style into women's track events. After demolishing the world record in the 100 m dash at the Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, she set an Olympic record (10.62) in the 100-meter dash and a world record (21.34) in the 200-meter dash to capture gold medals in both events. To these medals, she adds a gold in the 4×100 relay and a silver in the 4×400. Just after the Games, she announces her retirement. Much later it was shown "Flo-Jo" had used performance enhancing drugs.

Steffi Graf (Germany) won the Olympic Singles Tennis gold medal wearing adidas shoes The coloured pegs gave customised cushioning and the strip on the toe was to cope with toe dragging. The soles were for the first time injection moulded.

US diver Greg Louganis won back-to-back titles on both diving events, but only after hitting the springboard with his head in the 3 m event final. There was a minor controversy years later when Louganis revealed he knew he was HIV-positive at the time, and did not tell anybody.

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