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Barcelona 1992


For the first time since 1972, the Games were boycott-free. The break-up of the Soviet Union, the dismantling of the Berlin wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa, all combined to ensure the appearance of many new faces.

Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia made independent appearances while the 12 ex-Republics of the Soviet Union competed under the same flag and under the same name for the last time as the Community of Independent States (Unified Team). Both Cuba and North Korea returned after 12 years and South Africa was welcomed back after 32 years. Germany competed under one flag for the first time since 1964.

Bidding contenders

Barcelona, Paris, Brisbane (Australia), Belgrade, Birmingham (UK), Amsterdam

Top athletes

The single most successful participant at the Barcelona Games was the gymnast Vitali Scherbo. Scherbo won six gold medals representing the Unified Team. Unified teammate Yevgeni Sadovi and Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi both won three medals in the swimming pool.

After winning a silver medal in the 100m at the Seoul Olympics, Britain's Linford Christie achieved his greatest triumph by winning the 100m final in Barcelona. Frankie Fredericks of Namibia finished second. The Namibian also picked up a silver medal in the 200m.

Carl Lewis won his third consecutive gold medal in the long jump. Lewis also anchored the world-record-setting American relay team.

Britian's Sally Gunnell won the 400m hurdles to add the Olympic title to her World, European and Commonwealth titles. The queen of track and field, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, was unbeatable in the heptathlon, winning her second consecutive Olympic title in this demanding event.

Three of the overwhelming favourites failed in Barcelona. The Ukrainian Sergey Bubka did not make a valid vault, Michael Johnson of the USA was eliminated in the semifinals of the 200m and Noureddine Morceli of Algeria came seventh in the final of the 1 500m.

Memorable moments

On the last lap of the 10 000m final, Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia shot into the lead and went on to win. At the finishing line, she waited for her opponent Elana Meyer, a white South African. They set off hand-in-hand for a victory lap that symbolised hope for a new Africa.

Derek Redmond of Great Britain tore a hamstring during a 400m semifinal heat. As he struggled to finish the race, his father entered the track without credentials and helped him complete the race, to a standing ovation from the crowd.

Young athletes tasted success: Fu Mingxia of China won the high dive event at the age of 13; Japan's Kyoko Iwasaki became the youngest-ever gold medallist in swimming competitions at the Olympics when she won the 200m breaststroke at the age of 14 years and 6 days; American 16-year-old Jennifer Capriati won the women's singles tennis title.

The admittance of professional athletes led to the formation of the USA "Dream Team" in basketball, featuring Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and other NBA stars. The Dream Team, which easily won the basketball gold medal, would be inducted as a unit into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Gail Devers of America, whose feet had nearly been amputated by doctors in 1990 as a result of radiation treatment for Graves' disease, won the women's 100m.

Algeria's Hassiba Boulmerka (1 500m), became the first Algerian woman to win an Olympic title.

Russian swimmer Alexander Popov won two golds, in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Position Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Unified Team 45 38 29 112
2 United States of America 37 34 37 108
3 Germany 33 21 28 82
4 China 16 22 16 54
5 Cuba 14 6 11 31
6 Spain 13 7 2 22
7 Korea 12 5 11 28
8 Hungary 11 12 7 30
9 France 8 5 16 29
10 Australia 7 9 11 27
Position Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
21 Kenya 2 4 2 8
31 Morocco 1 1 1 3
33 Ethiopia 1 0 2 3
34 Algeria 1 0 1 2
39 Nigeria 0 3 1 4
42 Namibia 0 2 0 2
43 South Africa 0 2 0 2
57 Ghana 0 0 1 1

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