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Seoul 1988 Olympic Games

Seoul 1988 Olympic Games - XXIV OlympiadOlympic Games- 1988 Seoul

Will and Guy's history of the Seoul Olympics held in South Korea between 10th of September and 3rd of October 1988.

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Drug Controversy in the Men's and Women's 100m

Manic Ben Johnson, with eyes rolling and arms pumping finished first in the 100m, only to be promptly disqualified when stanazol was found in his blood sample.  Carl Lewis was subsequently awarded the gold medal, but strangely his time of 9.92 would not be ratified as a world record for another 2 years.  Perhaps the officials were just too caught up in the aftermath of Johnson's disqualification and dishonour.

Florence Griffith-Joyner won the women's 100m and 200m.  Her time of 21.34 for the 200m still stands to this day.  It does seem heartless to speak ill of the dead - she died tragically before her 40th birthday - but her phenomenal time, together with her muscular physique, only highlights the likelihood that her performances at Seoul were drug fuelled; it's just that unlike Ben Johnson, the tests did not catch Flo-Jo.

Roy Jones, Jr Scandalous Boxing Decision

Boxing has suffered some dubious decisions down the years, but Roy Jones was truly robbed of the gold medal when 3 home-town judges gave the gold medal to South Korean Park Si-Hun.  This decision was so bad that even the winner apologised to Jones.  On the film you could see Jones giving Si-Hun a good pasting, fight analysts counted Jones landing 86 punches to the gold medallist's 28.

Another sign that boxing committee knew the result was a big mistake came when they awarded Roy Jones the Val Barker trophy for the most stylistic boxer at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.  Those three judges who voted against Jones were suspended, and inquiry found that they had been received hospitality from the Koreans.  In some ways you have to admire the IOC's tenacity in asserting the time honoured cry, 'The referee is always right'.

This was the same Roy Jones Jr who not only won the middleweight world title, but also beat John Ruiz in a unanimous decision for the WBA heavyweight championship.

Swimming Highlights in Seoul 1988

Kristin Otto of East Germany won six gold medals in the swimming pool, while Matt Biondi won five and Janet Evans three.

Greg Louganis qualified for the springboard final despite hitting his head on the board.  He went on to win the final, to follow up his achievement of winning the same event 4 years earlier.

China's Fu Mingxia, 13, won the women's platform diving gold, becoming the second-youngest person to win an individual gold medal.

After two failures, Sergey Bubka won the gold medal on his final jump in the pole vault.  In 1992 he would fail to clear any height.

Long Wait for Recognition

Sohn Kee-chung won the Berlin Olympic marathon and was listed as being Japanese. However, he was actually a Korean.  In 1936 his country was occupied by the Japanese so Kee-chung had to receive his gold medal under a "foreign" flag.  In 1988, now 76, Sohn carried the Olympic torch into the main stadium at the opening ceremony of the Seoul Games. He was a very happy and proud man!

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Other Interesting Facts from Seoul 1988

One tradition is for the host country to introduce a game of their choice.  In Korea, table tennis made its first appearance in the Olympic Games.  Baseball and Taekwondo were demonstration sports.  Will and Guy are very much against team games such as baseball and soccer being part of the Olympic Games.

Unfortunately some of the live doves, which were released during the Opening Ceremony were burned alive when the Olympic cauldron was lit.  Following the rightful protests this was the last time that live doves would be released at the Opening Ceremony.

Vitaly Scherbo won six gold medals, including a record four in one day.  Only Marc Spitz has more medals at one games.

Mark Todd of New Zealand won the individual gold medal in the three-day event in equestrian on Charisma.  This was notable because it was only the second time in three-day eventing history that the same person won a gold medal at consecutive Olympic Games.

A special mention for Cecilia Villacorta.  Peru don't win many Olympic medals, thus it's remarkable how Cecilia steered the Peruvian volleyball team to a silver medal.

Footnote
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See more about The London 2012 Olympic Games:

2012 London Olympics   • 1952 Helsinki Olympics   • 1956 Melbourne Olympics   • 1960 Rome Olympics

1964 Tokyo Olympics   • 1968 Mexico Olympics   • 1972 Munich Olympics   • 1976 Montreal Olympics

1980 Moscow Olympics   • 1984 LA Olympics   • 1988 Seoul Olympics   • 1992 Barcelona Olympics