|Competition type||Olympic Games|
|Opening ceremony||25 July|
|Closing ceremony||9 August|
|Competition dates||24 July – 9 August|
|OCOG||Comité Organizador Olímpico Barcelona'92|
|Participants||9386 from 169 countries|
|Medal events||257 in 33 disciplines|
|Other events||29 in 4 disciplines|
Barcelona had bid to host the Olympic Games in 1924, 1936, and 1940, without success. In 1986, when the IOC awarded the 1992 Olympic Games to Barcelona, it was considered by many to be in honor of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, as he was a native of Barcelona. But the Barcelona Olympics became the Games of the New World Order, and they were the most highly attended Olympics in history, both in terms of countries and athletes attending. After four consecutive Olympics with some form of protest or boycott, the Barcelona Olympics were boycott-free.
Since Seoul in 1988, the world had taken on a new face. The Soviet Union no longer existed but the Commonwealth of Independent States did. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were once again free countries. East and West Germany were no more, replaced again by a unified Germany. Yugoslavia was now split into several republics, and only a few days before the Olympics began, the IOC granted Bosnia and Herzegovina provisional recognition to allow that new nation to compete. North and South Yemen had merged into one. All of these new national groupings appeared at Barcelona. South Africa had eliminated apartheid, and competed at Olympia for the first time since 1960. The Commonwealth of Independent States competed as the “Unified Team (Équipe Unifiée)” for the only time, representing all the former republics of the Soviet Union, save for the Baltic States. In the future, the separate former republics of the Soviet Union would compete as independent nations.
The Games were opened beautifully and dramatically as archer Antônio Rebollo lit the Olympic flame via bow and arrow. The drama and beauty of Catalunya continued on stage throughout the 16 days of the Olympics. There was concern about terrorist activity because the area was home to some terrorist groups, and the terrorist group Basque Liberty and Homeland (ETA) had killed more than 700 people during the past 20 years. Shortly before the Games, French police forces captured most of the ETA leaders, and it was discovered that plans were already in force to disrupt the Olympics, but the fears went unrealized and no major incidents occurred.
The competition was excellent. For the first time since 1972, all the major nations of the world attended. The most publicized athletes were the American basketball players. The USA was allowed to use professional players from the NBA (National Basketball Association), since all the other nations were by now using professionals. The NBA All-Star team, nicknamed “The Dream Team”, did not disappoint, putting on a clinic for all nations and winning the gold medal unchallenged. They were led by professional greats Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Larry Bird, among others.
Many East European countries and the former Soviets continued to dominate certain sports, such as gymnastics and weightlifting. With the changing economic picture in those countries, the future of their sports programs was in doubt. With the coming Games in Atlanta, the status of those programs was a matter of great conjecture.
There were many great athletic performances but, other than the Dream Team, it seemed no one athlete seemed to capture these Games like so many had in the past. It was probably fitting as then no athlete seemed larger than the Olympic Games themselves; fitting for Barcelona was possibly the finest manifestation yet seen of the Olympic Movement.
Bid voting at the 91st IOC Session in Lausanne on 17 October 1986.
|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3|
|Officially opened by||Juan Carlos, Crown Prince de Borbón (King)|
|Torchbearer(s)||Antonio Rebollo (Lit flame - archer), Epi, Herminio Menéndez|
|Taker of the Athlete's Oath||Luis Doreste|
|Taker of the Official's Oath||Eugeni Asensio (Water Polo)|
|Olympic Flag Bearers||José Manuel Abascal, José Luis Doreste, Blanca Fernández Ochoa, Lolo Ibern, Jorge Llopart, Eladio Vallduví, Dolores Buch, Jordi Tabuenca|
|Archery||Cycling Track||Rhythmic Gymnastics|
|Artistic Swimming||Equestrian Dressage||Sailing|
|Canoe Slalom||Hockey||Water Polo|
|Cycling Road||Modern Pentathlon||Wrestling|
|People's Republic of China||CHN||16||22||16||54|
|Republic of Korea||KOR||12||5||12||29|
|Democratic People's Republic of Korea||PRK||4||0||5||9|
|Individual Olympic Athletes||IOA||0||1||2||3|
|Islamic Republic of Iran||IRI||0||1||2||3|
|Vitaly Shcherbo|| BLR
|Aleksandr Popov|| RUS