Following the Olympics in Los Angeles, the quadrennial event came to the Korean peninsula. For the first time, Seoul conducted the Asian Games and the Olympics one after the other. Like every other Olympics, these Games were aimed to be the symbol of peace and hope.
However, while Seoul Olympics did turn out to be unique, with various records, it was also notorious for several doping cases. The worst of them all was the 100m race. Ben Johnson of Canada had originally won the race in a new record time of 9.79 seconds, defeating Carl Lewis of USA by a huge margin. However, he was found guilty of using a banned substance, stanozolol. His coach later confessed that he had been using banned substances since 1981. As a result, many of his medals, including his gold medal from the 1987 World Championships, were stripped off.
The Seoul Olympics was also the last time live doves were flown around the stadium during the opening ceremony. The Olympic flame was placed in such a way that some doves were literally roasted alive! Here are some more unknown facts from the Seoul Olympics of 1988.
Last time live doves were used
Seoul Olympics were the last time the opening ceremonies were conducted during the day. They were also the last time live doves were flown during the opening ceremony. A frequent event since many Olympic ceremonies, Seoul saw a disturbing end. The Olympic cauldron was placed at such a distance, that when it was lit, some doves flew over it, and were literally roasted.
Due to this tragic event, paper doves were used for the subsequent Olympics till 1998. Since Sydney Olympics of 2000, forget real, not even a paper dove has been flown until now.
The dirtiest Olympic race ever run
The Seoul Olympics is also remembered for having one of the most notorious races ever. 100m is always considered a star attraction for every Olympic edition. In Seoul, however, the race, once a matter of pride, became a matter of disgrace within days.
The 100m race was a showdown between two legends - Carl Lewis of the USA and Ben Johnson of Canada. Seoul will see who will maintain supremacy. In the 100m, Ben Johnson made a strong push and won the race by a huge margin, beating his own world record of 9.83s by clocking 9.79s. Carl once raised suspicion of Ben resorting to drugs, but he was dismissed as a sore loser.
However, for once, Carl turned out to be right. Ben's samples were found to be positive for stanozolol, a banned substance, three days later. Not only was Ben stripped of his gold medal, he was also banned from the sport until 1991. However, continuous violations banned him for life.
Anthony Nesty - The biggest surprise from Seoul Olympics
However, Seoul Olympics was not all about notoriety. The Olympics also saw the rise of Anthony Nesty. A Caribbean swimmer from Suriname, he shocked the world when he won a gold medal in the 100m butterfly swimming event. He added a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. These were Suriname's only Olympic medals.
Also, with the gold medal, Anthony destroyed Matt Biondi's chances to equal the record of Mark Spitz. Biondi wished to emulate Mark Spitz by winning at least seven Olympic gold medals in Seoul. However, he could only win five, courtesy of Anthony.
Steffi Graf - The tennis player who won a Golden Slam
The Seoul Olympics also saw the rise of one of the greatest tennis players in the world - Steffi Graf. As tennis made a grand return, Steffi Graf of the USA made it sure why it was a great decision. Steffi won all the Grand Slams that year, and the icing on the cake was a gold medal at the Seoul Olympics! That is the Golden Slam for which she is well known!
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