For the first time since 1972, the Olympic Games were boycott-free.
The Historical Changes
In the years that followed the 1988 Games, the world witnessed important political changes. Apartheid was abolished in South Africa, which allowed the country to participate in the Olympic Games again, for the first time since 1960. Then there was the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of West and East Germany, as well as North and South Yemen. Communism was wiped out in the Soviet Union and the USSR was divided into 15 separate countries. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the independent teams of Estonia and Latvia made their first apparition since 1936 and Lithuania sent its first team since 1928. The other ex-Soviet republics participated as a "unified team", although the winners were honoured under the flags of their own republics.
Andreas Keller of the gold medal-winning German field hockey team was the third generation of his family to win a medal in the event. His grandfather, Erwin, earned a silver medal in 1936 and his father, Carsten, a gold in 1972.
The only controversy concerned Yugoslavia, which was the subject of United Nations sanctions because of its military aggression against Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the end, Yugoslavia was banned from taking part in any team sports, but individual Yugoslav athletes were allowed to compete as "independent Olympic participants". Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina competed as separate nations for the first time.
In the men's coxed eights rowing final, Canada beat Romania by less than 30 centimetres -one of the closest rowing final in Olympic history.
Another close contest was the women's 100m sprint. Merlene Ottey (JAM) finished only six-hundredths of a second behind the winner, Gail Devers (USA), and yet she ended up in only fifth place.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched an appeal for the observance of the Olympic Truce for the first time.
Baseball is in
Baseball, which had appeared as an exhibition or demonstration sport at six Olympic Games, finally achieves medal status.
During the 95th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), held in Puerto Rico in 1989, it was decided that demonstration sports would be eliminated definitively from the 1996 Atlanta Games onwards.
Up until the 1992 Olympic Games (Barcelona and Albertville), the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) could integrate demonstration sports into the Olympic programme. However, the organisation of these demonstrations created a lot of extra work for the OCOGs, which had to provide services that were almost identical to those for the sports on the Olympic programme.
New on the programme
Badminton and women's judo are also added to the Olympic programme.
Spain's coxswain in the eights, 11-year-old Carlos Front, was the youngest competitor in the Olympic Games since 1900.
Barcelona, 25 July 1992. Acts at the Opening Ceremony. Puppets with the colours of the Games' logo.
Official opening of the Games by: His Majesty King Juan Carlos I
Lighting the Olympic Flame by: Antonio Rebollo (paralympic archer)
Olympic Oath by: Luis Doreste Blanco (sailing)
Official Oath by: Eugeni Asencio (water polo)