1992 Summer Olympics

Games of the XXV Olympiad
Host city Barcelona, Spain
Motto Friends For Life
(Catalan: Amics Per Sempre)
(Spanish: Amigos Para Siempre)
Nations 169
Athletes 9,356 (6,652 men, 2,704 women)
Events 257 in 25 sports (34 disciplines)
Opening July 25
Closing August 9
Opened by King Juan Carlos I
Athlete's Oath Luis Doreste Blanco
Judge's Oath Eugeni Asensio
Cauldron Antonio Rebollo
Stadium Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys
Seoul 1988 Atlanta 1996
Albertville 1992 Lillehammer 1994

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 celebrated 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] and the first summer games since the end of the Cold War.

Host city selection

Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain, and the hometown of then-IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. The city was also a host for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. On October 17, 1986, Barcelona was selected to host the 1992 Summer Games over Amsterdam, Holland; Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Birmingham, UK; Brisbane, Australia; and Paris, France, during the 91st IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland.[3] With 85 out of 89 members of the IOC voting by secret ballot, Barcelona won a majority of 47 votes. Samaranch abstained from voting. In the same IOC meeting, Albertville, France, won the right to host the 1992 Winter Games.[4]

Barcelona had previously bid for the 1936 Summer Olympics, but they ultimately lost to Berlin.

1992 Summer Olympics bidding results[5]
City NOC Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Barcelona Spain293747
Paris France192023
Brisbane Australia11910
Belgrade Yugoslavia13115
Birmingham Great Britain88
Amsterdam Netherlands5


  • At the Opening Ceremony Greek mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa sang "Romiossini" as the Olympic flag was paraded 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[6] as this was the original design of the lighting scheme.[7][8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 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 was dissolved in 1991, the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania sent their own teams for the first time since 1936. Other former Soviet republics competed as the Unified Team. This team consisted of present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
  • The separation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia led to the Olympic debuts of Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to United Nations sanctions, athletes from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were not allowed to participate with their own team. However, some individual athletes competed under the Olympic flag as Independent Olympic Participants.
  • In basketball, the admittance of NBA 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]
  • Fermín Cacho won the 1,500 metres in his home country, earning Spain's first-ever Olympic gold medal in a running event.[11]
  • Chinese diver Fu Mingxia, age 13, became one of the youngest Olympic gold medalists 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 equal 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.
  • Algerian athlete Hassiba Boulmerka, who was frequently criticized by Muslim groups in Algeria who thought she showed too much of her body when racing, received death threats[12] and was forced to move to Europe to train, won the 1,500 metres, also holding the African women's record in this distance.
  • After being 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 preliminary 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. That didn't prevent the U.S. team from progressing to the playoffs and winning bronze.
  • 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.
  • Jennifer Capriati won the singles 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.[13]
  • 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.




Medals awarded

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

Demonstration sports


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 medals91214171919223018111212223010
Date 24th
July August

Participating National Olympic Committees

A total of 169 nations sent athletes to compete in the 1992 Summer Games.

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, twelve of the fifteen new states formed a Unified Team, while the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania each had their own teams for the first time since 1936. For the first time, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina competed as independent nations after their separation from Socialist Yugoslavia, and 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, while South Africa returned to the Games for the first time in 32 years.

The 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[14][15]
  • Afghanistan didn't send their athletes to compete, but the country took part in the Parade of Nations.[16]
  •  Liberia[17] and  Somalia[18] also participated in the Opening Ceremony, but its accredited athletes (five and two, respectively) did not enter to compete.[14]

Medal count

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 Team453829112
2 United States373437108
3 Germany33212882
4 China16221654
5 Cuba1461131
6 Spain137222
7 South Korea1251229
8 Hungary1112730
9 France851629
10 Australia791127

Broadcast rights

The 1992 Summer Olympics were covered in many countries by the following television and radio broadcasters:[19]


The Basque nationalist group ETA attempted to disrupt the Games with terror attacks. It was already feared beforehand that the ETA would use the Olympics to gain wide publicity to a worldwide audience for their cause.[20] In the time ahead of the Games,[21] the ETA committed attacks in Barcelona and the Catalonia region as a whole, including the deadly 1991 Vic bombing.[22][23] On 10 July 1992, the ETA offered a 2-month truce covering the Games in exchange of negotiations, which the Spanish government rejected.[24] The Games went by successfully without an attack.[25]

Effect on the city

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.[26] Barcelona became one of the most visited cities in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome.[27][28]

Barcelona's nomination for the 1992 Summer Games sparked the application of a previously elaborated ambitious urban plan.[29] 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.[30]

Cost and cost overrun

The Oxford Olympics Study[31] estimates the direct costs of the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics to be USD 9.7 billion (expressed in 2015 U.S. dollars) with a cost overrun of 266%. This includes only sports-related costs, that is: (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, direct transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services; and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, media and press center, and similar structures required to host the Games. Costs excluded from the study are indirect capital and infrastructure costs, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games.[31][32]

The costs for Barcelona 1992 may be compared with those of London 2012 which cost USD 15 billion with a cost overrun of 76%, and those of Rio 2016 which cost USD 4.6 billion with a cost overrun of 51%. The average cost for the Summer Olympics since 1960 is USD 5.2 billion, with an average cost overrun of 176%.[31][32]

Songs and themes

There were two main musical themes for the 1992 Games. The first one was "Barcelona", a classical crossover song composed five years earlier by Freddie Mercury and Mike Moran; Mercury was an admirer of lyric soprano Montserrat Caballé, both recorded the official theme as a duet. Due to Mercury's death eight months earlier, the duo was unable to perform the song together during the opening ceremony. A recording of the song instead played over a travelogue of the city at the start of the opening ceremony, seconds before the official countdown.[33][34] "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.[35] The Opening Olympic fanfare was composed by Angelo Badalamenti and with orchestrations by Joseph Turrin.


The official mascot was Cobi, a Catalan sheepdog in cubist style designed by Javier Mariscal.[36]

Corporate image and identity

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


  1. "Albertville 1992". www.olympic.org. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. 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. BARCELONA GETS 1992 SUMMER OLYMPICS, New York Times (archives), Judith Miller, Oct. 18, 1986.
  5. https://www.webcitation.org/5xFvf0ufx?url=http://www.gamesbids.com/eng/past.html
  6. "Edición del lunes, 27 julio 1992, página 36 - Hemeroteca". LaVanguardia.com (in Spanish). La Vanguardia Digital.
  7. "Ceremonial hall of shame". BBC News. 2000-09-15. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  8. Official Report of the 1992 Summer Olympics, Vol. 4 (LA84Foundation.org). Note p. 70 (confirming arrow lit the gas above the cauldron).
  9. "Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics | Olympic Videos, Photos, News". Olympic.org. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
  10. "Hall of Famers: 1992 United States Olympic Team". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  11. Fermin Cacho Ruiz, Olympic.org. Retrieved 25 August 2013
  12. Hassiba Boulmerka: Defying death threats to win gold, BBC, 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  13. "On the Bright Side". Sports Illustrated. 1996-07-30. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  14. 1 2 1992 Olympics Official Report. Part IV (PDF). Retrieved October 24, 2012. List of participants by NOC's and sport.
  15. Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations 2/8 on YouTube
  16. Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations 1/8 on YouTube
  17. Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations 4/8 on YouTube
  18. Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations 6/8 on YouTube
  19. Miquel de Moragas, Nancy Kay Rivenburgh, ed. (1995). Television in the Olympics : international research project (illustrated ed.). James F. Larson. pp. 257–260. ISBN 978-0861965380. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  20. Securing and Sustaining the Olympic City, Pete Fussey, Ashgate Publishing, 2011, p48
  21. https://www.ctvnews.ca/ctv-news-channel/terrorism-violence-and-the-olympics-major-incidents-throughout-the-years-1.1648070/comments-7.476505
  22. https://www.csmonitor.com/1992/0401/01061.html
  23. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1991/08/11/the-threat-to-the-games-in-spain/37be840c-3424-4451-b037-151a53bf2491/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.35fd4d04e7ab
  24. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eta-rebuffed-1532917.html
  25. Thompson, Wayne C (2017-08-31). Western Europe 2017-2018. ISBN 9781475835090.
  26. Brunet i Cid, Ferran. "The economic impact of the Barcelona Olympic Games 1986-2004" (PDF). Autonomous University of Barcelona. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  27. Payne, Bob. "The Olympics Effect". msnbc.com. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  28. Bremner, Caroline. "Top 150 City Destinations (2006)". Euromonitor. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  29. 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.
  30. Beard, Matthew (2011-03-22). "Lessons of Barcelona: 1992 Games provided model for London... and few warnings". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  31. 1 2 3 Flyvbjerg, Bent; Stewart, Allison; Budzier, Alexander (2016). The Oxford Olympics Study 2016: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Games. Oxford: Saïd Business School Working Papers (Oxford: University of Oxford). pp. 18–20. SSRN 2804554.
  32. 1 2 Joe Myers (29 July 2016). "The cost of hosting every Olympics since 1964" (Based on working paper from The University of Oxford and Said Business School). World Economic Forum.
  33. "Barcelona 92: 11 momentos inolvidables de aquellos Juegos Olímpicos (VÍDEOS, FOTOS)" (in Spanish). The Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  34. "Barcelona 92: inicio de la ceremonia". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  35. Illness, Critical (2010-09-03). "Doreen D'Agostino Media " Ryuichi Sakamoto and Decca". Doreendagostinomedia.com. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  36. "Barcelona 1992 - Summer Games Mascots". Olympic.org. IOC. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
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

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