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History of the Olympics

1988 - Seoul, South Korea


The 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea

In disgust at not being considered a co-host of the Seoul Olympic Games, North Korea boycotted the Games. Only Ethiopia and Cuba joined North Korea's boycott; thus the 1988 Olympics turned out to be a very large, exciting, and competitive event.

The amateur rule, which had plagued athletes and officials alike since the beginning of the Olympic Games, was finally overturned in 1986. It was now up to individual sports groups to determine whether or not "professionals" should be allowed to compete in the Olympics. This new rule allowed tennis to return to the Olympic Games, not having appeared since 1924 when it was eliminated because of professional/amateur difficulties.

Drug tests resulted in the banishment of several athletes from these Olympic Games. Ten athletes, including Canadian champion of the 100-meter run Ben Johnson, were disqualified for their use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.

East Germany's Kristin Otto won six gold metals in swimming and Florence Griffith Joyner ("FloJo") of the United States attracted attention by both her speed and her flamboyant outfits.

Approximately 8,500 athletes participated, representing 159 countries.

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