1988 - Seoul

Last Updated: 29/07/12 8:26am

  • Share:

Drugs reared their head with the biggest scandal of modern times when sprinter Ben Johnson was disqualified after winning the 100m.

In this Year...

  • Table tennis is introduced into the Olympics for the first time, while women's judo takes place as a demonstration sport.
  • Sailor Lawrence Lemieux refuses a certain silver medal to abandon his race and rescue an injured competitor.
  • The final daytime opening ceremony for a summer Olympics takes place.
  • Marco van Basten scores 'that goal' as Holland beat Russia to win Euro 88.
  • Seve Ballesteros wins his third Open and fifth and final major championship.
  • Licensing laws were relaxed in England and Wales allowing pubs to open all day on weekdays.
  • Top films released included Rain Man, Die Hard, Big, Cocktail and Twins.
  • The Hubble space telescope is put into operation.
  • Weekday TV show This Morning begins broadcasting with Richard and Judy.
  • Swedish fencer Kerstin Palm becomes the first woman to take part in seven Olympics.

The Canadian was the biggest name to have ever failed a drugs test when he tested positive for an anabolic steroid and his world-record time was wiped from the records and Carl Lewis handed the gold medal.

Awarding the Games to South Korea was the IOC's bid to advocate democracy across the globe, but it prompted angry responses from North Korea and Cuba who boycotted the Olympics, along with Ethiopia and Nicaragua.

76-year-old Sohn Kee-chung ran the torch into the Olympic stadium in an emotional start to festivities - as the 1936 marathon champion had to run in those Games under a Japanese name as Korea was occupied by Japan at the time.

It was the final time two of the Olympic superpowers would be competing as both the Soviet Union and East Germany ceased to exist after these Games, and the penultimate time live doves were released after a number of birds were burnt by the lighting of the cauldron soon after.

American sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner cut one of the figures of the Olympics, not only for her flamboyant appearance but also for her magnificent performances as she won the 100m and 200m double.

A Sean Kerly-inspired men's hockey team won the gold medal for Britain, while Malcolm Cooper won gold at successive Olympics in the small bore rifle shooting and Adrian Moorhouse picked up first place in the 100m breaststroke in GB's three gold medals.

Tennis was included in the schedule for the first time in 64 years, and professionals were allowed to take part which came as great timing for Germany's Steffi Graf, who concluded her Grand Slam tennis season by winning Olympic gold.

Fellow German Christa Luding-Rothenburger, also a speed skater, earned a silver medal in cycling to become the only person in history to win winter and summer medals in the same year.

America's Matt Biondi won seven medals, including five golds, while team-mate Greg Louganis won gold in the springboard event despite cracking his head on the board during a qualifying dive.

Russia's world record holder and world champion Sergei Bubka won the pole vault gold medal, but that was to be his last appearance on an Olympic podium, and boxer Roy Jones Jr suffered a controversial defeat to home fighter Park Si-Hun and three judges were later suspended as a result.Olympic Stars:

The late Florence Griffith-Joyner, or Flo-Jo, still holds the world records in the women's 100m and 200m, the latter was set as part of her Olympic double in Seoul that she achieved just before ending her career with retirement.

Griffith-Joyner's long, colourful fingernails lit up the track but not as much as her dazzling sprinting, and despite some rumours of drug-taking she never failed a test during her career. She retired after 1988 and then sadly passed away ten years later aged just 38 from complications after an epileptic seizure.

East German swimmer Kristin Otto missed out on certain medals in LA due to her country's boycott, but she made amends in a big way in Seoul as she powered away to become the first women to win six gold medals at one Games.

Otto set world records in the 50m and 100m freestyle and the 100m backstroke and butterfly during her Olympics, while also capturing the 100m backstroke title and two relay golds.

American Matt Biondi almost matched Otto as he picked up five golds in the Seoul swimming pool, seven medals overall and three relay and one individual world record in the process.

He was almost as well known, however, for his defeat in the 100m butterfly when he glided to the wall and was beaten by Suriname's Anthony Nesty by just a hundredth of a second.

East Germany's Christa Luding-Rothenburger achieved her own piece of Olympics history as she brought home a silver medal in the sprint track cycling event in Seoul to complete a unique double.

Her achievement was made all the more remarkable as she had also won gold in the 1,000m speed skating event at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and therefore became the first and only athlete ever to win Olympic medals at the and Summer Olympics in the same year.

  • Share:

Most Popular


Question time

Question time

See what happened when Jessica Ennis-Hill competed in a sports quiz with a difference on Game Changers.

'Amazing experience'

'Amazing experience'

Sam Oldham says his childhood dreams came true when he won a medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

Javelin masterclass

Javelin masterclass

Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill gave a javelin masterclass on this week's Game Changers.