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Awarding the Summer Games to South Korea provided the impetus for the country to embrace democracy. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) boycotted, and was joined by Cuba, Ethiopia and Nicaragua. Still, records were set with 159 nations participating, 52 winning medals and 31 taking home gold medals.
Canadian Ben Johnson set a world record in the 100m sprint, but tested positive for steroids. Johnson was the first world-famous athlete to be disqualified for using drugs. After his disqualification, Carl Lewis was awarded the 100m gold, meaning he had successfully defended his 1984 Olympic title.
For the first time, all three medallists in equestrian dressage were women. Swedish fencer Kerstin Palm became the first woman to take part in seven Olympic Games, and table tennis made its Olympic debut. Tennis also returned to the programme after a hiatus of 64 years. The event was open to professionals, and Steffi Graf concluded her Grand Slam tennis season by winning Olympic gold.
German cyclist Christa Luding-Rothenburger, who was also a speed skater, earned a silver medal in cycling. Having already won two medals at the Winter Games, she became the only person in history to win winter and summer medals in the same year. Greg Louganis successfully defended his titles in both diving events and American swimmer Matt Biondi won seven medals, including five golds.
Media: 11,331 media (4,978 written press, 6,353 broadcasters)
In a coup for the Olympic Movement, Korea (South Korea) turned democratic in order to welcome the world to the Summer Games. Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) boycotted, and was joined by Cuba, Ethiopia and Nicaragua. Still, records were set with 159 nations participating, 52 winning medals and 31 taking home gold medals.
The Games got off to a dramatic start at the Opening Ceremony when the torch was run into the stadium by 76-year-old Sohn Kee-chung, the winner of the 1936 marathon. In 1936 Sohn had been forced to enter using a Japanese name because Korea was occupied by Japan.
Ben Johnson (CAN) set a world record in the 100m dash, but tested positive for steroids. Johnson was the first well known athlete to be disqualified for using drugs.
For the first time, all three medalists in equestrian dressage were women.
Fencer Kerstin Palm (SWE) became the first woman to take part in seven Olympics.
Table tennis makes its first appearance in the Olympic programme.
Tennis returns as a medal sport after a hiatus of 64 years.
2 October 1988 : General view of Korean dancers during the Closing Ceremony .
Official opening of the Games by:
President Roh Tae-woo
Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
Chung Sun-Man, Kim Won-Tak, Sohn Mi-Chung (athletics)
Olympic Oath by:
Hur Jae (basketball), Son Mi-na (handball)
Official Oath by:
Lee Hak-rae (judo)
The Seoul emblem features a samtaeguk pattern. A samtaeguk is a traditional Korean pattern and visual image which represents Korea. This pattern is widely used as decoration on fans, gates of Korean-style homes, artefacts, and folk crafts. The Olympic emblem features patterns in two forms, centripetal and centrifugal; the centripetal motion represented the people of the world coming together in Korea, thus symbolising worldwide harmony, while the centrifugal motion represented a march onward in search of man’s lasting happiness and prosperity.
On the obverse, the ancient coliseum and the goddess of victory holding the laurel crowns and the caption: "XXIV Olympiad Seoul 1988". On the reverse , a dove, the symbol of peace, soaring up, holding a laurel branch in its mouth, and the Seoul Olympic sash composed of three Taeguk patterns from the Korean national flag and the five Olympic rings.
The “Ho” of Hodori comes from the Korean word meaning tiger, while “Dori” is a common masculine diminutive. The name was chosen from 2,295 competition entries submitted by the general public.
Number of torchbearers : 380 in Greece and 1 467 in the Republic of Korea
Total distance : 358 km in Greece and 4 168 in the Republic of Korea
Countries crossed : Greece, Korea
The official poster represented the Games ideal of "Harmony and Progress" in the combination of two images. In the poster, the five rings symbolising the pure Olympic spirit were rendered in bright figurative form to represent the Olympic ideal illuminating the world in peace forever. The image of the runner carrying the Olympic torch symbolised mankind's progress towards happiness and prosperity. The official posters were done with computer graphic techniques, and light blue and bright orange colours were blended to symbolise Korea as the Land of Morning Calm. In addition to the official poster the Organising Committee for the Seoul Games decided to produce 27 types of sports posters to introduce sports of the Seoul Olympic Games and to establish a familiar image of the Games.
The “Official report: Games of the XXIVth Olympiad Seoul 1988” was as imposing to look at as the previous one for Los Angeles 1984. There were three separate editions, in French, English and Korean. The work was in two volumes (Organization and planning; Competition summary and results).