The 1988 Summer Olympics
, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad
, were an international multi-sport event
staged in 1988
, South Korea
. It was the second summer Olympic Games
to be hosted by an Asian
nation, after the 1964 Summer Olympics
. The 1972 Winter Olympics
were held in Sapporo
North Korea, still officially at war with South Korea, boycotted the event and was joined by Albania, Cuba, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nicaragua, and Seychelles. However, the much larger boycotts seen in the previous three Olympics were avoided, resulting in the largest ever number of participating nations to that date.
In the Seoul Games, 160 nations were represented by a total of 8391 athletes (2194 women and 6197 men) in the games. 237 events were held. 27221 volunteers helped to prepare the Olympics. 11331 media (4978 written press and 6353 broadcasters) showed the Games all over the world.
Host city selection
Seoul was chosen to host the Summer Games in a vote held on September 30, 1981, finishing ahead of the Japanese city of Nagoya.
Below was the vote count that occurred at the 84th IOC Session and 11th Olympic Congress in Baden-Baden, West Germany. The information comes from the International Olympic Committee Vote History web page.
| 1988 Summer Olympics Bidding Results
| Seoul|| 52 |
| Nagoya|| 27 |
- Soviet Vladimir Artemov wins four gold medals in gymnastics. Daniela Silivaş of Romania wins three.
- US sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner wins three gold medals and a silver on the track.
- Canadian Ben Johnson wins the 100 m in a new world record, but is disqualified after he tested positive for stanozolol. In 2004, Johnson accused the American sports authorities of protecting American athletes at the expense of foreign ones. He still claims to this day that André Jackson, "the Mystery Man" put the stanozolol in his food or his drink.
- American boxer Roy Jones Jr. loses the gold medal to South Korean fighter Park Si-Hun in a very controversial 3-2 judge's decision. Allegations swirled that Korean officials had fixed the judging. Jones Jr. receives the Val Barker Trophy, an award for the most impressive boxer of the Games. The three judges ruling against Jones were eventually suspended.
- Lawrence Lemieux, a Canadian sailor in the Finn class was in second place and poised to win a silver medal when he abandoned the race to save an injured competitor. He arrived in 21st place, but was recognized by the IOC with a special award honoring his bravery and sacrifice.
- US diver Greg Louganis wins back-to-back titles on both diving events, but only after hitting the springboard with his head in the 3 m event final. This became a minor controversy years later when Louganis revealed he knew he was HIV-positive at the time, and did not tell anybody. Since it is now known that HIV cannot survive in open water, no other divers were ever in danger.
- Christa Luding-Rothenburger of East Germany becomes the first (and only) athlete to win Olympic medals at the Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics in the same year. She adds a cycling silver to the speed skating gold she won earlier in the Winter Olympics of that year in Calgary.
- Anthony Nesty of Suriname wins his country's first Olympic medal by winning the 100 m butterfly, scoring an upset victory over Matt Biondi by .01 of a second (thwarting Biondis attempt of breaking Mark Spitz' record seven golds in one Olympic event); he is the first and only black person to win individual swimming gold.
- Swimmer Kristin Otto of East Germany wins six gold medals. Other multi-medalists in the pool are Matt Biondi (five) and Janet Evans (three).
- Swedish fencer Kerstin Palm becomes the first woman to take part in seven Olympics.
- In swimming Mel Stewart of the USA is favorite to win the men's 200 m butterfly final but comes in 5th.
- Mark Todd of New Zealand wins his second consecutive individual gold medal in the three-day event in equestrian on Charisma, only the second time in eventing history that a gold medal has been won consecutively.
- Baseball and Taekwondo are demonstration sports. The opening ceremony featured a mass demonstration of taekwondo with hundreds of adults and children performing moves in unison.
- This is the last time the US are represented by a basketball team that doesn't feature NBA stars; the team wins the bronze medal after being defeated by the Soviet Union.
- For the first time in history all the dressage events are won by women.
- Women's judo was held for the first time, as a demonstration sport.
- Table tennis is introduced at the Olympics, with China and South Korea both winning two titles.
- Tennis returns to the Olympics after a 64-year absence, and Steffi Graf adds to her four Grand Slam victories in the year by also winning the Olympic title, beating Gabriela Sabatini in the final.
- Two Bulgarian weightlifters are stripped of their gold medals after failing doping tests, and the team withdraws after this event.
- A series of controversies involving Korean boxers culminated with the second round in bantamweight class boxing, when a Korean boxer lost a judgment to a Bulgarian boxer. Then the Korean coaches got furiously angry, entered the ring, struck a referee and raised a scuffle uproar. And although other matches were still performed on the other rings, Korean officers turned off electricity of the amphitheater and went home.
Significance of the 1988 Olympics in South Korea
Hosting the 1988 Olympics presented an opportunity to bring international attention to South Korea. The idea for South Korea to place a bid for 1988 Games emerged during the last days of the Park Chung-hee
administration in the late 1970s. After President Park’s assassination in 1979, Chun Doo-hwan
, his successor, submitted Korea’s bid to the IOC in September 1981, in hopes that the increased international exposure brought by the Olympics would legitimize his authoritarian regime amidst increasing political pressure for democratization, provide protection from increasing threats from North Korea
, and showcase the Korean economic miracle to the world community. South Korea was awarded the bid on September 30, 1981, becoming the 16th nation, the second Asian nation (following Japan in 1964) and the second newly industrialized economy (after Mexico in 1968) to host the Summer Olympics.
In an attempt to follow the model of 1964 Tokyo Olympics as a rite of passage for the Japanese economy and re-integration of Japan in the family of nations in the post-war era, the Korean government hoped to use the Olympics as a “coming-out party” for the newly industrialized Korean economy. The Korean government hoped the Olympics would symbolize a new legitimacy of Korea in world affairs.
As political demonstrations emerged in June 1987, the possibility of jeopardizing hosting the Olympic Games contributed to the June 29 declaration which issued President Chun out of power and led to direct elections in December 1987. The desire not to taint the Olympic Games with military dictatorship and riots served as an impetus for Korea’s transition to democracy. Roh Tae-woo served as the transitional president, directly elected by South Koreans in December 1987, during the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. The 1988 Olympic Games provided a catalyst for controlled political change to maintain stability in South Korea.
- Seoul Sports Park venues
- Olympic Park venues
- Other venues in metropolitan Seoul
- Venues outside Seoul
¹ New facilities constructed in preparation for the Olympic Games. ² Existing facilities modified or refurbished in preparation for the Olympic Games.
See the medal winners, ordered by sport:
These were the demonstration sports in the games:
Athletes from 159 nations competed at the Seoul Games. Aruba, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Guam, Maldives, Vanuatu, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and South Yemen made their first Olympic appearance at these Games.
In the following list, the number in parentheses indicates the number of athletes from each nation that competed in Seoul :
- also participated in the Opening Ceremonies, marking its first appearance at the Olympic Games, but its delegation consisted of only one swimming official.
These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games:
|| 132 |
|| 102 |
|| 94 |
|| 33 |
|| 40 |
|| 23 |
|| 35 |
|| 24 |
|| 16 |
|| 14 |
The official mascot for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games was Hodori. It was a stylized tiger designed by Kim Hyun as an amicable Amur Tiger, portraying the friendly and hospitable traditions of the Korean people. Hodori's female version was called Hosuni.
The name Hodori was chosen from 2,295 suggestions sent in by the public. It is a portmanteau of ho, which is a derived word from the Korean word for "tiger" (horangi), and dori, which is a diminutive for "boys" in Korean.
These were the last Olympic Games in which live doves were released during the Opening Ceremonies as a symbol of peace, due to protests following an incident in which a number of the doves were burned alive by the lighting of the Olympic torch.
These were also the last Summer Olympic Games to hold Opening Ceremonies during the daytime due to hot summer weather.