1992 Summer Olympics

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"Barcelona 1992" redirects here. For the Paralympic Games, see 1992 Summer Paralympics.
Games of the XXV Olympiad
1992 Summer Olympics logo.svg
Host city Barcelona, Spain
Motto Amigos Para Siempre (Spanish)
Amics Per Sempre (Catalan)
(Friends Forever)
Nations participating 169
Athletes participating 9,356 (6,652 men, 2,704 women)
Events 257 in 25 sports
Opening ceremony July 25
Closing ceremony August 9
Officially opened by King Juan Carlos I
Athlete's Oath Luis Doreste Blanco
Judge's Oath Eugeni Asensio
Olympic Torch Antonio Rebollo (paralympic archer)
Stadium Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys

The 1992 Summer Olympic Games (Spanish: Juegos Olímpicos de Verano de 1992; Catalan: Jocs Olímpics d'estiu de 1992), officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event played in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain in 1992. Beginning in 1994, the International Olympic Committee decided to hold the games in alternating even-numbered years; as a result, the 1992 Summer Olympics were the last competition to be staged in the same year as the Winter Olympics.[1] The games were the first to be unaffected by boycotts since 1972.[2]

Host city selection[edit]

Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain, and the birthplace of then-IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. The city was also host for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. On October 17, 1986, Barcelona was selected to host the 1992 Summer Games over Amsterdam, Belgrade, Birmingham, Brisbane, and Paris, during the 91st IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland.[3] Barcelona had previously bid for the 1936 Summer Olympics, but they ultimately lost to Berlin.

1992 Summer Olympics bidding results[4]
City NOC Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Barcelona  Spain 29 37 47
Paris  France 19 20 23
Brisbane  Australia 11 9 10
Belgrade  Yugoslavia 13 11 5
Birmingham  Great Britain 8 8
Amsterdam  Netherlands 5


The 1992 Summer Olympics allowed NBA players to participate in the basketball competition for the first time; here David Robinson shoots a free throw for the gold-medal winning United States "Dream Team".
  • At the Opening Ceremony Greek mezzo-soprano, Agnes Baltsa, sang "Romiossini" as the Olympic flag was taken around the stadium. Alfredo Kraus later sang the Olympic Hymn in both Catalan and Spanish as the flag was hoisted.
  • The Olympic flame cauldron was lit by a flaming arrow, shot by Paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo. The arrow had been lit by the flame of the Olympic Torch. Rebollo overshot the cauldron[5] as this was the original design of the lighting scheme.[6][7]
  • South Africa was allowed to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time since the 1960 Summer Olympics, after a long suspension for its apartheid policy. After a close race in the Women's 10,000 metres event, white South African runner Elana Meyer and black Ethiopian runner Derartu Tulu (winner) ran a victory lap together, hand-in-hand.[8]
  • Following its reunification in 1990, Germany sent a single, unified Olympic team for the first time since the 1964 Summer Olympics.
  • As the Soviet Union had been dissolved in 1991, the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania sent their own teams for the first time since 1936. The other Soviet republics competed under the name Unified Team. These nations consisted of present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
  • The separation of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia led to the Olympic debuts of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to United Nations sanctions, Federal Republic Yugoslavian athletes were not allowed to participate with their own team. However, some individual athletes competed under the Olympic flag as Independent Olympic Participants.
  • Fermín Cacho won the 1,500 metres in his home country, earning Spain's first-ever Olympic gold medal in a running event.[9]
  • Chinese diver Fu Mingxia, age 13, became the youngest Olympic gold medalist of all time.
  • In men's artistic gymnastics, Vitaly Scherbo from Belarus, (representing the Unified Team), won six gold medals, including four in a single day. Scherbo tied Eric Heiden's record for individual gold medals at a single Olympics, winning five medals in an individual event. (Michael Phelps would later break this record in 2008).
  • In women's artistic gymnastics, Tatiana Gutsu took gold in the All-Around competition edging the United States' Shannon Miller.
  • Russian swimmers dominated the freestyle events, with Alexander Popov and Yevgeny Sadovyi each winning two events. Sadovyi also won in the relays.
  • Evelyn Ashford won her fourth Olympic gold medal in the 4×100-metre relay, making her one of only four female athletes to have achieved this in history.
  • The young Krisztina Egerszegi of Hungary won three individual swimming gold medals.
  • In women's 200 metre breaststroke, Kyoko Iwasaki of Japan won a gold medal at age of 14 years and six days, making her the youngest-ever gold medalist in swimming competitions at the Olympics.
  • After demonstrated in six previous Summer Olympic Games, baseball officially became an Olympic sport. Badminton and women's judo also became part of the Olympic program, while slalom canoeing returned to the Games after a 20-year absence.
  • Roller hockey, basque pelota, and taekwondo were all demonstrated at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
  • Several of the U.S. men's volleyball gold medal team from the 1988 Olympics returned to vie for another medal. In the first round, they lost a controversial match to Japan, sparking them to shave their heads in protest. This notably included player Steve Timmons, sacrificing his trademark red flattop for the protest.
  • Mike Stulce of the United States won the men's shot put, beating the heavily favored Werner Günthör of Switzerland.
  • On the 20th anniversary of the Munich massacre and the 500th anniversary of the Alhambra Decree, Yael Arad became the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal, winning a silver medal in judo. The next day, Oren Smadja became Israel's first male medalist, winning a bronze in the same sport.
  • Derek Redmond of Great Britain tore a hamstring during a 400-meter semi-final 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.
  • Gail Devers won the 100-meter dash in one of the closest races in history. Five women finished within 0.06 seconds of each other. In the 100 meter hurdles, Devers was a clear favorite to win, though finished in fifth place when she hit the final hurdle and stumbled over the finish line. Voula Patoulidou from Greece won the event.
  • In basketball, the admittance of professional players led to the formation of the "Dream Team" of the United States, featuring Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and other NBA stars. The Dream Team, which easily won the gold medal, would be inducted as a unit into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.[10]
  • Jennifer Capriati won the single's tennis competition at the age of 16. She had previously earned a spot in the semifinals of two grand slams at the age of 14.
  • Two gold medals were awarded in solo synchronized swimming after a judge inadvertently entered the score of "8.7" instead of the intended "9.7" in the computerized scoring system for one of Sylvie Fréchette's figures. This error ultimately placed Fréchette second, leaving Kristen Babb-Sprague for the gold medal. Though immediate protests to FINA were unsuccessful, FINA awarded Fréchette a gold medal in December 1993, replacing her silver medal and leaving the two swimmers both with gold.[11]
  • Indonesia won its first-ever gold medal, after winning a silver medal at 1988 Olympics. Susi Susanti won the gold in badminton women's singles after defeating Bang Soo-hyun in the final round. Alan Budikusuma won the badminton men's singles competition, earning a second gold medal for Indonesia. Several years later, Susanti and Budikusuma married and she received the nickname golden bride or Olympic bride.



Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc
Palau Sant Jordi and Montjuïc Communications Tower

Medals awarded[edit]

The 1992 Summer Olympic programme featured 257 events in the following 25 sports:

Demonstration sports[edit]


All times are in Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)
 ●  Opening ceremony     Event competitions  ●  Event finals  ●  Closing ceremony
Date July August



Field hockey

Modern pentathlon


Synchronized swimming
Table tennis
Water polo

Total gold medals 9 12 14 17 19 19 22 30 18 11 12 12 22 30 10
Date 24th
July August

Participating National Olympic Committees[edit]

Participating countries by number of competitors

A total of 169 nations sent athletes to compete in the 1992 Summer Games. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, twelve states formed a Unified Team, while the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania each had their own teams. For the first time, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina competed as independent nations after their separation from Socialist Yugoslavia. Namibia and the unified team of Yemen (previously North and South Yemen) also made their Olympic debuts.

The 1992 Summer Olympics notably marked Germany competing as a unified team for the first time since 1964. South Africa returned to the Games for the first time in 32 years.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was banned due to UN sanctions, but individual Yugoslav athletes were allowed to take part as Independent Olympic Participants. Four National Olympic Committees did not send any athletes to compete: Afghanistan, Brunei, Liberia and Somalia.

Participating National Olympic Committees
  • Brunei participated in the Opening Ceremony, but its delegation consisted of only one official. This also occurred in the 1988 Games[12][13]
  • Afghanistan Afghanistan didn't send their athletes to compete, but the country took part in the Parade of Nations.[14]
  • Liberia[15] and Somalia[16] also participated in the Opening Ceremony, but its accredited athletes (five and two, respectively) did not enter to compete.[12]

Medal count[edit]

The following table reflects the top ten nations in terms of total medals won at the 1992 Games (the host nation is highlighted).

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Unified Team 45 38 29 112
2 United States 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 South Korea 12 5 12 29
8 Hungary 11 12 7 30
9 France 8 5 16 29
10 Australia 7 9 11 27

Broadcast rights[edit]

The 1992 Summer Olympics were covered in many countries by the following television and radio broadcasters:[17]

Effect on the city[edit]

Frank Gehry's Fish sculpture in front of the Hotel Arts (left) and the Torre Mapfre (right) in the Olympic Village neighbourhood

The celebration of the 1992 Olympic Games had an enormous impact on the urban culture and external projection of Barcelona. The Games provided billions of dollars for infrastructure investments, which are considered to have improved the quality of life and attraction of the city for investment and tourism.[18] Barcelona became one of the most visited cities in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome.[19][20]

Barcelona's nomination for the 1992 Summer Games sparked the application of a previously elaborated ambitious urban plan.[21] Barcelona opened to the sea with the construction of the Olympic Village and Olympic Port in Poblenou. New centres were created, and modern sports facilities were built in the Olympic zones of Montjuïc, Diagonal, and Vall d'Hebron. Hotels were also either built or refurbished. The construction of ring roads around the city helped reduce the density of the traffic, and El Prat airport was modernized and expanded as two new terminals were opened.[22]

Cost and cost overrun[edit]

The 1992 Summer Olympics cost Barcelona a total of USD 11.4 billion (in 2009 dollars), with a cost overrun of 417 percent in real terms. This compares with an average cost of USD 5.7 billion (in 2009 dollars) for other Summer Olympics over the past 50 years, with an average cost overrun of 252 percent. Costs here includes only sports-related costs and does not include other public costs including road, rail, or airport infrastructure; and private costs, such as hotel upgrades or other business investments incurred during the preparation for the Games. Though the non-sports-related costs are typically substantial, their necessity varies drastically from city to city. Therefore, they are difficult to compare consistently.[23]

Songs and themes[edit]

There were two main musical themes for the 1992 Games. One was "Barcelona", composed five years earlier by Freddie Mercury and sung as a duet with Montserrat Caballé. Due to Mercury's death eight months earlier, the duo was unable to perform the song during the opening ceremony. A recording of the song instead played over a travelogue of the city at the start of the opening ceremony.[24] "Amigos Para Siempre" (Friends for Life) was the other musical theme. It was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black, and sung by Sarah Brightman and José Carreras during the closing ceremonies.

Ryuichi Sakamoto composed and conducted the opening ceremony musical score.[25] The Opening Olympic fanfare was composed by Angelo Badalamenti and with orchestrations by Joseph Turrin.


Main article: Cobi

The official mascot was Cobi, a Catalan sheepdog in cubist style designed by Javier Mariscal.[26]

Corporate image and identity[edit]

A renewal in Barcelona's image and corporate identity could be seen in the publication of posters, commemorative coins, stamps minted by the FNMT in Madrid, and the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Official Commemorative Medals, designed and struck in Barcelona.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Albertville 1992". www.olympic.org. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics | Olympic Videos, Photos, News". Olympic.org. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  3. ^ "IOC Vote History". Aldaver.com. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  4. ^ http://www.webcitation.org/5xFvf0ufx
  5. ^ http://hemeroteca.lavanguardia.com/preview/1992/07/27/pagina-36/33525453/pdf.html
  6. ^ "Ceremonial hall of shame". BBC News. 2000-09-15. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  7. ^ Official Report of the 1992 Summer Olympics, Vol. 4 (LA84Foundation.org). Note p. 70 (confirming arrow lit the gas above the cauldron).
  8. ^ "Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics | Olympic Videos, Photos, News". Olympic.org. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  9. ^ Fermin Cacho Ruiz, Olympic.org. Retrieved 25 August 2013
  10. ^ "Hall of Famers: 1992 United States Olympic Team". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "On the Bright Side". Sports Illustrated. 1996-07-30. Retrieved 2012-07-20. 
  12. ^ a b 1992 Olympics Official Report. Part IV (PDF). Retrieved October 24, 2012. List of participants by NOC's and sport. 
  13. ^ Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations 2/8 on YouTube
  14. ^ Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations 1/8 on YouTube
  15. ^ Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations 4/8 on YouTube
  16. ^ Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations 6/8 on YouTube
  17. ^ Miquel de Moragas, Nancy Kay Rivenburgh, ed. (1995). Television in the Olympics : international research project (illustrated ed.). James F. Larson. pp. 257–260. ISBN 0861965388. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  18. ^ Brunet i Cid, Ferran. "The economic impact of the Barcelona Olympic Games 1986-2004" (PDF). Autonomous University of Barcelona. Archived from the original on 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  19. ^ Payne, Bob. "The Olympics Effect". msnbc.com. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  20. ^ Bremner, Caroline. "Top 150 City Destinations (2006)". Euromonitor. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  21. ^ Brunet i Cid, Ferran. "An economic analysis of the Barcelona'92 Olympic Games:resources, financing and impact" (PDF). Autonomous University of Barcelona. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  22. ^ Beard, Matthew (2011-03-22). "Lessons of Barcelona: 1992 Games provided model for London... and few warnings". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  23. ^ Flyvbjerg, Bent; Allison Stewart (2012). "Olympic Proportions: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Olympics 1960-2012". Working Paper. Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. 
  24. ^ "Barcelona 92: inicio de la ceremonia". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  25. ^ Illness, Critical (2010-09-03). "Doreen D'Agostino Media » Ryuichi Sakamoto and Decca". Doreendagostinomedia.com. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  26. ^ "Barcelona 1992 - Summer Games Mascots". Olympic.org. IOC. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Summer Olympic Games

XXV Olympiad (1992)
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 41°21′51″N 2°09′08″E / 41.36417°N 2.15222°E / 41.36417; 2.15222