Suvarna Garge (Editor)

1992 Summer Olympics

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Host city
Barcelona, Spain

257 in 25 sports

Nations participating

Opening ceremony
July 25

1992 Summer Olympics

Friends For Life(Catalan: Amics Per Sempre)(Spanish: Amigos Para Siempre)

Athletes participating
9,356 (6,652 men, 2,704 women)

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. The games were the first to be unaffected by boycotts since 1972.


Host city selection

Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain, and the birthplace 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, Belgrade, Birmingham, Brisbane, and Paris, during the 91st IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland. Barcelona had previously bid for the 1936 Summer Olympics, but they ultimately lost to Berlin.


  • 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 as this was the original design of the lighting scheme.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • Fermín Cacho won the 1,500 metres in his home country, earning Spain's first-ever Olympic gold medal in a running event.
  • 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 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 that was frequently criticized by Muslim groups in Algeria who thought she showed too much of her body when racing, received death threats 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Venues

  • Montjuïc Area:
  • Cross-country course – modern pentathlon (running)
  • Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc – opening/closing ceremonies, athletics
  • Palau Sant Jordi – gymnastics (artistics), volleyball (final), and handball (final)
  • Piscines Bernat Picornell – modern pentathlon (swimming), swimming, synchronized swimming, and water polo (final)
  • Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc – diving and water polo
  • Institut National d'Educació Física de Catalunya – wrestling
  • Mataró – athletics (marathon start)
  • Palau dels Esports de Barcelona – gymnastics (rhythmic) and volleyball
  • Palau de la Metal·lúrgia – fencing, modern pentathlon (fencing)
  • Pavelló de l'Espanya Industrial – weightlifting
  • Walking course – athletics (walks)
  • Diagonal Area:
  • Camp Nou – football (final)
  • Palau Blaugrana – judo, roller hockey (demonstration final), and taekwondo (demonstration)
  • Estadi de Sarrià – football
  • Real Club de Polo de Barcelona – equestrian (dressage, jumping, eventing final), modern pentathlon (riding)
  • Vall d'Hebron Area:
  • Archery Field – archery
  • Pavelló de la Vall d'Hebron – basque pelota (demonstration) and volleyball
  • Tennis de la Vall d'Hebron – tennis
  • Velodrome – cycling (track)
  • Parc de Mar Area
  • Estació del Nord Sports Hall – table tennis
  • Olympic Harbour – sailing
  • Pavelló de la Mar Bella – badminton
  • Subsites
  • A-17 highway – cycling (road team time trial)
  • Banyoles Lake – rowing
  • Camp Municipal de Beisbol de Viladecans – baseball
  • Canal Olímpic de Catalunya – canoeing (sprint)
  • Circuit de Catalunya – cycling (road team time trial start/ finish)
  • Club Hípic El Montayá – equestrian (dressage, eventing endurance)
  • Estadi de la Nova Creu Alta – football
  • Estadi Olímpic de Terrassa – field hockey
  • Estadio Luís Casanova – football
  • La Romareda – football
  • L'Hospitalet de Llobregat Baseball Stadium – baseball (final)
  • Mollet del Vallès Shooting Range – modern pentathlon (shooting), shooting
  • Palau D'Esports de Granollers – handball
  • Parc Olímpic del Segre – canoeing (slalom)
  • Pavelló Club Joventut Badalona – boxing
  • Pavelló de l'Ateneu de Sant Sadurní – roller hockey (demonstration)
  • Pavelló del Club Patí Vic – roller hockey (demonstration)
  • Pavelló d'Esports de Reus – roller hockey (demonstration)
  • Pavelló Olímpic de Badalona – basketball
  • Sant Sadurní Cycling Circuit – cycling (individual road race)
  • Some events, including diving, took place in view of construction of the Sagrada Família
  • Medals awarded

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

    Demonstration sports

  • Basque pelota (10)
  • Roller hockey (quad) (1)
  • Taekwondo (16)
  • Calendar

    All times are in Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)

    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.

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

    Broadcast rights

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

    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. Barcelona became one of the most visited cities in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome.

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

    Cost and cost overrun

    The Oxford Olympics Study estimates the outturn cost of the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics at USD 9.7 billion in 2015-dollars and cost overrun at 266% in real terms. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, 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, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games. The cost and cost overrun for Barcelona 1992 compares with costs of USD 4.6 billion and a cost overrun of 51% for Rio 2016 and USD 15 billion and 76% for London 2012. Average cost for the Summer Games since 1960 is USD 5.2 billion, average cost overrun is 176%.

    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. "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. 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.

    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.


    1992 Summer Olympics Wikipedia