18th– The 1988 weightlifting competition took place at the Ol-lim-pik Gong-won, or Olympic Weightlifting Gymnasium, which was specially constructed for the Seoul Olympics and later became a musical theatre. There were ten events at the tournament – for men only. The flyweight competition was won on this day by Bulgaria’s Sevdalin Marinov, the winner of the previous three World Championships. He opened with a world record snatch of 120.0 kg and also had the best clean & jerk, giving him a world record total of 270.0 kg. Diving was contested at the Indoor Swimming Pool in the Olympic Park or in Korean the Su-yeong-jang, Ol-lim-pik Gong-won. There were four diving events – 3m springboard and 10m platform for men and women.  The favourites for gold in the Women’s 10m platform, the final of which was held today in 1988, were the Chinese competitors Xu Yanmei, 1987 World Cup champion and Chen Xiaodan, who had won the McDonald’s Meet in May 1988. Soviet Yelena Miroshina was also highly considered, having set the world’s highest platform score of 508.65 when she was only 12-years-old. But Chen and Miroshina were only 14-years-old in Seoul and would finish fifth and sixth, respectively. Coming into the final dive Yu led American Michele Mitchell, the 1984 silver medallist, by only 0.27 points. Xu performed a back-2½ pike, scoring four 8s and a 7.5, while Mitchell just missed with a forward-3½ tuck, scoring all 7.5s and having to settle for another silver medal, as Xu claimed the gold. The bronze medal looked to be Chen’s coming into the final dive. She had a 16.47 lead over Soviet Anzhela Stasyulevich, with American Wendy Lian Williams fifth, over 28 points behind. But Chen mis-timed her back-3½ tuck, scoring only 2s and 3s, giving the bronze medal to Williams, who received all 8s on an inward-2½ pike on her final effort. Williams would win another bronze at the 1991 World Championships but never made another Olympic team. The 1988 Olympic cycling programme saw another event added for women, the match sprint race on the track, which was added to the road race that had had its Olympic début in 1984. All the track events were conducted at the Olympic Velodrome, the 333.33m wooden track would become somewhat standard from 1988 onwards. The Men’s 100k time-trial was thought to be open, with the last three World championships split among East Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Italy had been on the podium at all three races, but no nation had really dominated the event since Los Angeles. In the end, East Germany won gold but it was a very close finish over the unheralded Polish team. At the 25km mark, East Germany had the fastest split, with Poland 20 seconds back. But Poland closed to trail by only 11.5 second at 50km. They then fell back to a 31.6 second deficit at 75 km. However, Poland had the fastest finish of any team and almost caught the East Germans, as the GDR won the gold by only 6.5 seconds. Another surprising team, Sweden, won the bronze medal. Italy placed fifth while the Netherlands was well-beaten in 11th. The modern pentathlon got underway on this day with the order of events being the same as in 1984 at Los Angeles – – riding, fencing, swimming, shooting, and running. But unlike 1984, the competition took place over five days, with one phase held each day. Again, the program consisted of a men’s individual and team event. One other change was in the riding phase. Previously this had always been conducted over a steeplechase course that took about 8-10 minutes to finish. But starting in 1988, it was contested as show jumping over a much shorter course, typically now only about 400m. The 1988 shooting events were held at the Taenung International Shooting Range in Seoul. There were 13 events on the Olympic programme, an increase from 11 in 1984. As in 1984, most of the events were segregated, with only trap and skeet shooting open to both men and women. Men competed in seven events, as an air pistol event over 10 metres was added. Women also had an air pistol event added to their schedule. There were five women in both trap shooting and skeet shooting in 1988. There was one major change to the formats for shooting in 1988. Previously all shooters had competed in a series of shots, with the leaders and medallists determined by a check of targets by the official scorers, leaving Olympic shooting competition usually devoid of any drama. In 1988, the top eight shooters (top six in trap and skeet) were advanced to a final round of 10 shots. In that round, the scoring was carried to the 1/10th decimal place, and the final eight/six shot a final round to determine the top eight/six placements, and this became the standard at international shooting and the Olympics.


19th– The Bantamweight weightlifting competition saw Bulgaria’s Mitko Grablev, the 1986 World Champion, having the best lift in both the snatch and clean & jerk, ending with a total of 297.5kg, only 2.5kg off the world record held by his former teammate, Naim Süleymanoğlu, who now competed for Turkey and as a featherweight. However, Grablev tested positive for Lasix, a diuretic used to mask performance enhancing drugs and was disqualified. This elevated Soviet Oksen Mirzoyan to the gold medal, with the other medals going to two Chinese lifters, He Yingqiang and Liu Shoubin, who had been the silver medallists at the last two World Championships, Liu in 1987 and He in 1986. Liu would also win a silver medal in this class at the 1992 Olympics. In the pool the men contested the final of the 200m freestyle and the women the 100m equivalent.  In 1984 Australian Jon Sieben, swimming in lane 6, had won the 200 butterfly in a big upset over West German Michael Groß. When Australia’s Duncan Armstrong won gold in Seoul in the world record time of 1:47.25, his coach, Laurie Lawrence, shouted out, “That’s right, mate! Lucky lane 6!” Armstrong’s victory was one of the biggest upsets in the pool, as he came into the Games ranked 46th in the world. There were several contenders considered before the race, but Armstrong was not among them. Sweden’s Anders Holmertz had won the 1987 Europeans, while Groß was the 1986 World Champion and world record holder and American Matt Biondi was formidable. The fastest time in the heats was set by Poland’s Artur Wojdat. In the final, Armstrong lined up next to Biondi in lane five. Armstrong swam as close to Biondi’s lane marker as he could, drafting in his wake for the first 100m, Biondi led at 150m with Holmertz second, but Armstrong came home the fastest, Holmertz in second and Biondi dropping back to bronze. The favourite to take the women’s 100m freestyle was world record holder and reigning World and European champion, Kristin Otto of East Germany.  She was looking for a Spitz-like performance in Seoul, aiming for six gold medals, and her first race was the 100m freestyle. Swimming World noted that this race was the first time in 12 years that all the world’s top swimmers had gathered at the Olympics. Otto was expected to be challenged by Americans Dara Torres, winner of the 1987 Pan Pacs and 1988 world leader with 55.30s, and Mitzi Kremer, ranked third in the world in 1988. In the final, which Kremer failed to make, Otto was challenged by China’s Zhuang Yong, who had been ranked only ninth in the world coming into the Games. Otto won easily, Zhuang setting a PR of 55.50s for the silver, the first Olympic medal won by a Chinese swimmer. France’s Catherine Plewinski took a surprise bronze medal having never medalled at an international meet before.


20th– After the boycotts of 1980-84 this was the first time since 1976 that all the world’s top gymnasts met at the Olympics. The competitions were held at the [Che-yuk-gwan], Ol-lim-pik Gong-won, the Olympic Gymnastics Hall in Olympic Park. It was completed in 1986 for the Seoul Olympics with a capacity of over 14,000 and still is used mostly as a concert venue. The men’s team all-round competition was completed on this day, the Soviet Union winning the gold for only the second time since 1956, winning quite easily over the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) with Japan, which had been the men’s team power, winning gold from 1960-76, placed third just edging out China. The United States had won the gold at the boycotted 1984 Olympics but eventually came 11th of 12 teams competing in Seoul.  In the velodrome the men’s 1000m individual time trial, in which Australian Martin Vinnicombe was favourite, saw 30 cyclists compete. The early lead was taken by Denmark’s Kenneth Røpke, the fourth starter who was timed in 1:05.168. This was not surpassed until the 16th starter, Soviet rider Aleksandr Kirichenko, went off. Kirichenko rode very strongly and would record the best times on both of the first two laps. But his rear tyre began to deflate on the last lap, rather than request a re-start, his coach, Boris Vasilyev, 1960 tandem bronze medallist, elected to let Kirichenko’s time of 1:04.499 stand, reasoning that he would be too tired to better that. Vinnicombe was the last starter, and when he recorded 1:04.764 to place second, Kirichenko had his gold medal and Vasilyev was vindicated. In the weightlifting arena, the 1985-86 World Champion, Bulgarian Naum Shalamanov, a prodigy who began setting world records at 15, and when only 16 he became the second lifter to lift three times his body weight in the clean & jerk. He had Turkish ethnicity and was approached by Turkish lifting officials to change his nationality and compete for their country, but he refused. In 1984-85 the Bulgarian government began a crackdown on Turkish minorities and when Suleimanov returned from a training camp in Australia, his passport was confiscated and his name was changed to the more Bulgarian sounding Naum Shalamanov. This was the impetus he needed and at the 1986 World Cup competition in Melbourne, he left his team and sought asylum at the Turkish consulate and chose the Turkish name of Naim Süleymanoğlu. Olympic rules require an athlete to wait three years after changing nationality before representing the new nation at the Olympics, unless the two affected nations agree on a waiver. This waiver was “given” in the form of over US$ 1 million transferred from the Turkish government to allow Süleymanoğlu to compete as a Turk at the 1988 Olympics. He came to Seoul as an overwhelming favourite in the featherweight class. Süleymanoğlu did not disappoint his new nation, winning the gold medal by 30kg over Bulgaria’s Stefan Topurov, who won the 1987 World Championships when Süleymanoğlu was not eligible to compete. In Seoul Süleymanoğlu broke the world record in the snatch, the clean & jerk, and the total, lifting 342.5kg, which also would have won the lightweight class, and was a remarkable 55kg ahead of the bronze medallist, China’s He Yuanming. His total in Seoul was the highest total ever lifted using Sinclair Coefficients, which compares lifters of differing weights, and remained a world record until the weight classes were changed. He would return to win the gold medal at Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996. During his career, he won three Olympic golds, seven overall World Championships, two overall European Championships, and set 46 world records. The men’s springboard was won by defending champion Greg Louganis, but not without a touch of drama, he struck his head on the board and collapsed into the water during his ninth-round effort, a reverse-2½ pike. after medical attention, which included several stitches to the wound, he carried on competing. More drama occurred over the next few years. In 1995, Louganis came out as gay, which had been suspected, and also revealed that he was HIV-positive, and had been so at the time of the Seoul Olympics. Only a few people knew this at the time, including his coach, Ron O’Brien, but the US team doctor at the time, Dr. James Puffer was unaware. Louganis had been concerned that his head injury in Seoul had possibly contaminated the water and risked infecting other divers, although the dilution by the water, and the chlorine in the water, obviated that possibility. Both O’Brien and Puffer later tested negative for HIV. A few days later, Louganis would also win the platform gold, completing the diving double-double, to replicate the feat of Pat McCormick from 1952-56.


21st–  In the gymnastics hall, the Soviet Union, who had won this event at every Games from 1952-80, returned after the 1984 boycott to continue their hegemony in women’s team gymnastics. Defending champions Romania, who had defeated the Soviet Union at the World Championships the previous year had to settle for silver. The battle for bronze was quite close between the German Democratic Republic, the United States, and Bulgaria. Unfortunately, it came down to a decision with political overtones. During their uneven bars rotation, USA, “alternate” Rhonda Faehn was charged with removing the springboard used by the gymnasts to mount the bars. But instead of leaving the competition area, she stayed on the podium to watch Kelly Garrison-Steves perform her routine. For this the Americans were penalized 5/10ths of a point by the President of the Technical Committee of the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique, Ellen Berger. Berger was from East Germany, and the penalty margin gave the bronze medal to East Germany, with the USA finishing fourth, 3/10ths of a point behind. US coach Bela Karolyi, a Romanian emigré, went ballistic, calling Berger “a cow” and the ruling “a Communist plot.” After the boycott years of 1980 and 1984 the fencing tournament was nearly back to full strength in 1988. The one major nation who did not show at the Olympic Fencing Gymnasium in Seoul was Cuba, who were amongst the strongest nations in men’s épée. Men’s foil gold medallist, the Italian Stefano Cerioni, who had won an Olympic title in the team event at Los Angeles, but had endured a difficult time since, was a fencer with a fiery temperament, he had incurred the wrath of the Fédération Internationale d’Escrime after losing his temper at the judges at the 1986 World Championship and was given a 15-month ban for his behaviour. After an impressive series of results in the pool stages he suffered a shock defeat in the first knockout round and had to fight through the repechage to stay in medal contention. The Italian defeated World Champion Matthias Gey of West Germany and former World Champion Aleksandr Romankov of the USSR to reach the final where he would face, and defeat, Udo Wagner, the first Olympic finalist from the German Democratic Republic. Cerioni competed at two further Olympics and was a valued member of the Italian team for the next decade but this was his only major success as an individual.


22nd– Competition continued in the pool where in the men’s 100m free American Matt Biondi had arrived in Seoul attempting to equal Mark Spitz’s 1972 effort of winning seven gold medals, but that attempt went awry in his first individual race, the 100m fly, where he finished second. However the 100m free was Biondi’s best race, as he had dominated the event since 1985 and held the 10 fastest times in history coming into Seoul. In the final, he went out in 23.21s, ahead of his world record split of 23.25s, but didn’t finish strongly coming home in 48.63s, the second fastest time ever to win the gold medal. Behind Biondi, American Chris Jacobs won silver in 49.08s, the fastest ‘non-Biondi’ time in history. In 1986 no one would have expected this as Jacobs was in the throes of cocaine addiction and entered rehab. Jacobs had first started taking drugs when he was only 12, but set age-group swim records despite his use. At the University of Texas he became a heavy drug user, and dropped out of school and swimming in his junior year. The Texas coach, Eddie Reese, called his parents and two days later Jacob’s father arrived at his room in Texas to take him home. He told his parents everything, and they then enrolled him at the Fair Oaks Hospital in Summit, a rehabilitation facility. Two years later Chris Jacobs stood on the podium in Seoul, an Olympic medallist.  The world standard for the men’s 400m freestyle, was so high that just to qualify for the final swimmers had to better the previous Olympic record set by West German Thomas Fahrner.  The gold medal was taken by East German Uwe Daßler, with silver going to Duncan Armstrong and bronze to the then world record holder Poland’s Artur Wojdat. Daßler finished in 3:46.95 to break Wojdat’s world record. But Wojdat also bettered it in third, with 3:47.34, as did Armstrong in second with 3:47.15, and it took a world record time just to get on the podium. Wojdat called it “The Race of the Century,” which was echoed by Terry Stoddard, his Mission Viejo coach, who said “Yes, definitely. It was the greatest race in history.” Not many sporting events have the capacity to catapult athletes from relative obscurity to international superstardom quite like the Olympic Games, which is just what happened to 21-year-old Surinamese Anthony Nesty.  Not a single athlete from the tiny tropical nation off the South American coast had won a medal at any Games, but Nesty put an end to that dismal run in the most unexpected and life-affirming way imaginable. The lack of facilities and competition forced him to relocate to the United States where he trained at the University of Florida. He failed to qualify for the 100m butterfly final at Los Angeles in 1984 but he gradually started the improvement which moved him into the world class bracket. Nesty won the gold at his specialist event at the 1987 Pan-American Games but by the time the Seoul final came around he raced in the shadow of American Golden Boy Matt Biondi. Biondi would leave South Korea with five gold medals but a sixth had looked a certainty as he stormed into a sizeable lead in the closing stages of the 100m butterfly, yet the American timed his surge for the wall poorly, choosing to glide rather than kick from some distance out, allowing Nesty to touch home first by one hundredth of a second. Neither swimmer could believe the scoreboard when they looked up, with Nesty having recorded a new Olympic record time of 53 seconds dead. Thousands lined the streets of Suriname to greet their conquering hero; a new set of coins and postage stamps commemorated his achievement, a plane was named after him and even a local sports stadium. His star shone brightly, but briefly. He won the world title in 1991 and after claiming a defiant bronze in the 1992 Barcelona Games he focused on swimming for the Florida Gators, for whom he has since become a distinguished coach. He took up various coaching roles for his country and was even granted the honour of leading out the team at the 2008 Games opening ceremony in Beijing.  East German Kristin Otto was trying to win six gold medals in Seoul, and having already won the 100m freestyle. She was expected to be challenged in the 100m backstroke by Costa Rican Silvia Poll. In the final Otto was in command for the entire race and was unchallenged in winning her second gold. About an hour later she returned to the pool with the GDR 4 x 100m freestyle relay team and won her third gold, she would succeed with her goal to win six gold medals in Seoul. The silver went to surprising Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi, who would later win gold in the 200m backstroke and later become the world’s best back-stroker. Bronze was won by Otto’s teammate Cornelia Sirch, with Poll only sixth. The men’s individual all-round gymnastics competition, in which Soviet men, led by Dmitry Bilozerchev had swept the medals at the 1987 World Championships. Bilozerchev had been severely injured in a 1985 motorcycle accident, almost losing his left leg, and he was not expected to compete again, much less win further World titles. In Seoul, the Soviets had the top four qualifiers, and five of the top six, but could only advance three to the final round. They swept the medals quite easily, with Vladimir Artyomov winning the gold medal, Valery Lyukin silver, and Bilozerchev bronze. This was only the second time, after the Japanese in 1972, that a nation swept the medals in this event at the Olympics. In fact, it became impossible to do in 2004 when the rules were changed allowing only two gymnasts per nation to advance to the final round. Lyukin would later settle in the United States, after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and his daughter, Nastia Liukin, won the women’s all-around gold medal at the 2008 Olympics for the United States. Mark Todd’s horse Charisma was written off as too small and too old to defend their three-day eventing title in 1998, in fact their gold in Los Angeles was seen as something of a minor miracle in itself. Todd won a nerve-jangling gold in the 1984 Games when American Karen Strives and her mount were a whisker away from a clear round in the decisive show-jumping leg. In his early career Todd had hoped to be a jockey but opted for eventing when he shot up to 6ft 2. He was desperate for a repeat bid four years later but a dispute with the horse’s owner threatened to derail his ambitions. The row was resolved in time for the Seoul Games but at 16 years of age many observers said Charisma, affectionately known as Podge by Todd, was past his best and was unlikely to compete for gold against the strong British and West German contingents. Todd, a dairy farmer by trade who had to sell much of his herd to fund his early career, put in a nerveless exhibition in the dressage at the Seoul Equestrian Park to take the early lead. Another faultless ride in the cross-country phase kept Todd clear of the field and only a solid round in the show-jumping stood between the New Zealander and the distinction of a first repeat gold in the event since Dutchman Charles Pahud de Martanges and his horse Marcroix achieved the feat in Los Angeles in 1932.As it turned out, they knocked over just one fence and Todd defied the odds to retain his gold from British riders Ian Stark and Ginny Leng in silver and bronze. Injury to his horse blighted his attempt at a hat-trick in the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and ironically his late withdrawal due to another equine injury four days before the 1996 Atlanta Games allowed team mate Blythe Tait a late entry to compete, and he took full advantage on board Ready Teddy to win another gold for New Zealand. The men’s small bore rifle event was won today by defending champion Malcolm Cooper of Great Britain who also won the 1986 World Championships. In the heats, his teammate, Alister Allan, led with 1,181 to 1,180 for Cooper. But Allan struggled in the final round, and Cooper went through with 99.3 to defend his gold medal. Soviet Kiril Ivanov was only tied for fifth after the preliminary round, but had the highest score in the final with 102.0 to move up to the bronze medal.


23rd – After three straight Olympic track and field competitions affected by boycotts, Seoul presented virtually full fields, with only Cuba boycotting among top athletics nations. The biggest headline of the athletics, unfortunately, related to the doping disqualification of Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson.  Among the early events that took place on this day were the women’s Marathon and the men’s 20k walk. The top women marathoners between 1984 and 1988 were Norway’s Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen and Portugal’s Rosa Mota. Kristiansen elected not to run the marathon at Seoul, choosing the 10,000m instead. Mota was not favoured as much as Waitz, the first great female marathoner, but her overall marathon record in major championships was unsurpassed. She won the first World Championship in 1983 in Helsinki, won the European Championships in 1982, 1986, and 1990, and she eventually won every major city marathon except New York, at which she never competed. During these Games, Mota ran in the lead group throughout, running with her for most of the race were Australia’s Lisa Martin and the GDR’s Katrin Dörre. The three were still together as they approached 40km, but Mota surged slightly and opened a narrow gap. She was able to hold the lead, eventually defeating Martin by 13 seconds, with Dörre winning a bronze medal.  The course for the men’s walk was relatively flat, the favourites: Jozef Pribilinec, who had won the 1986 European Championships, Maurizio Damilano, the 1987 World Champion and 1980 Olympic gold medallist, and the GDR’s Ronald Weigel, although he was considered better at the longer distance. Eventually this group would win the medals. The finish was very close with Pribilinec and Weigel entering the stadium only a few metres apart, the Czechoslovak in the lead by five metres. But Weigel could never close the gap on the track. One of the early field events was the men’s shot, the Swiss Werner Günthör, 1986 European and 1987 World Champion had two big challengers in East Germany’s Ulf Timmermann and Udo Beyer and America’s Randy Barnes. Timmermann was the world record holder with 23.06m set in May 1988. Günthör opened in round one with 21.45m but Timmermann took the lead at the end of the round with 22.02m. In round two Günthör improved to 21.59m and further improved in the next round with 21.70m but Timmermann opened up a bit with 22.16m. Beyer moved into third in round two with 21.40m while Barnes languished in fourth after three rounds, throwing only 20.72m in the second. Round five saw Günthör throw 21.99m and Timmermann 22.29m. Beyer and Günthör were done, having recorded their best marks, and seemingly securing medals. Then Barnes unleased an Olympic record 22.39m in the final round to move into the lead ahead of Timmermann, pushing Beyer to fourth. Timmermann was the last thrower of the competition, and responded with an Olympic record of 22.47m to win the gold medal. Back in the pool and the excitement of the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay the United States would normally be considered favourites, and they were the defending champions. But they had been challenged at the 1986 World Championships by the Soviet Union and East Germany, the 1987 European Champions, and at the 1987 Pan Pacific’s by Canada and Australia. The USA qualified easily, resting three of their top swimmers for the final. In the final the United States took an early lead on the opening leg swum by Chris Jacobs, but the Soviets closed over the next two legs and as the anchors readied to start, the lead was less than 1/10th second. However, Matt Biondi was the American anchor and he quickly settled matters, as he blasted a 47.81s leg, the third fastest split ever swam at the time, and the US had the gold medal and a world record of 3:16.53. The USSR was almost two seconds back for the silver, followed by East Germany. After the  1986 World Championships, Bulgaria’s 100m breaststroke swimmer Tanya Dangalakova took a year off from competition, giving birth to a daughter, Anna, born in June 1987. She required further surgery in October 1987, and was hoping just to win a medal in Seoul, as the gold medal in the 100m breaststroke was almost conceded to East German Silke Hörner, who had already won the 200m breaststroke in world record time, with Dangalakova in fourth. In qualifying Dangalakova and Hörner tied for the best time with 1:08.35. Dangalakova realizing that the heats had felt easy, actually predicted that she could break the world record in the final. That was not to be, but she did win the gold. Gymnastics fans were treated to the finals of the women’s individual all-round competition today. Romania’s Aurelia Dobre had won the 1987 World Championships, but a knee injury led to three knee operations and she was fortunate to be able to compete in Seoul. The other medallists at the 1987 Worlds were Soviet Yelena Shushunova (silver) and Dobre’s teammate Daniela Silivaş (bronze). With Dobre struggling in Seoul, she would finish sixth, the competition for gold was between Shushunova and Silivaş, with the gold coming down to the final rotation on the vault. Shushunova needed a perfect 10 to defeat Silivaş and got it. Silivaş would get some redemption in the apparatus finals when she won three gold medals to Shushunova’s none.     


24th –  In the swimming pool, the 50m freestyle was contested for the first time at the Olympics, although there had been a 50 yard freestyle back in 1904. The winner of that event, Hungarian [Zoltán Halmay] was not in Seoul to defend his title, of course! The two favourites for the title were the Americans Tom Jager and Matt Biondi, who had traded the world records for a few years. One swimmer not challenging was South African Peter Williams, who could not be in Seoul because the IOC did not recognize South Africa, and also could not technically hold the world record, although he had the world’s best ever time of 22.18s. The final saw Biondi lead off the blocks, which was an upset in itself, as Jager had always been the faster starter. Biondi always finished faster, and with that start, he could not be caught, winning in a world record 22.14, with Jager finishing second in 22.36 and bronze going to the Soviet Gennady Prigod. This was Biondi’s sixth medal, and fourth gold, of the Seoul Olympics. A busy day in the velodrome saw Lutz Heßlich of East Germany winning the 1000m sprint gold. The 4000m team pursuit saw the world’s two best individual pursuiters, Gintautus Umaras and Vyacheslav Yekimov make the Soviet Union the huge favourite. In the qualifying the 11th team out, Australia, broke the world record with a time of 4:16.32. But the last to start was the Soviet Union team, and they broke that record with a time of 4:16.10. The fast track was producing multiple records as in the quarter-finals, the East Germans recorded 4:14.45 in the first heat, only to see the Soviets better that with 4:14.22 in the fourth heat, as they defeated Italy. The final came down to the GDR against the USSR, and the world record again went down. In fact both teams surpassed the mark from the quarter-finals, with the Soviets winning the gold medal with 4:13.31 to the East Germans 4:14.09. In the points race there were two rounds, with the first round raced over 30km and the final over 50km. Thirty-four riders started, with 24 qualifying for the final. The two favourites were the last two World Champions – Dan Frost and Marat Ganeyev.  In the final, only Frost and[Leo Peelen were able to stay unlapped, and Frost won the gold medal with 38 points to Peelen’s 26. Ganeyev had the most points with 46, but he was lapped late in the race and could win only the bronze medal. The Seoul Olympics saw the first track cycling events for women, there was also a road race for women, when the 1000m sprint was contested.  All the individual gymnastics medals were awarded in the men’s competition today.  Soviet Sergey Kharkov winning the gold for his floor routine with teammate Vladimir Artyomov taking silver in front of China’s Lou Yun and Japan’s Yukio Iketani who shared the bronze. Lou Yun was defending champion on the vault and successfully defended his title, becoming only the second Olympic gymnast to defend on vault, after Soviet Nikolay Andriano in 1976-80. East German Sylvio Kroll and Korea’s Park Jong-Hun taking silver and bronze respectively.  Vladimir Artyomov narrowly defeated his fellow Russian Valery Lyukin for the parallel bars gold with East German Sven Tippelt awarded the bronze. The horizontal bar gold was shared by the Soviet gymnasts Vladimir Artyomov and Valery Lyukin who tied on 19.80 points with a shared bronze between East German Holger Behrendt and Romania’s Marius Gherman. The rings competition saw Soviet Dmitry Bilozerchev lead the team qualifying but East German Holger Behrendt had the highest score in the final round as the two tied for first and shared the gold medal. Behrendt’s teammates Sven Tippel won the bronze medal, as he had done on the parallel bars.  After team qualifying there was a four-way tie for first on the pommel horse between Soviet Dmitry Bilozerchev, Hungarian Zsolt Borkai, Bulgaria’s Lyubomir Gerasko, and Japan’s Koichi Mizushima. Mizushima scored 9.95 in the final round but it was not enough, as the other three scored perfect 10s for a three-way tie for the gold medal. The only other time that three gold medals were handed out at in a single event at the Olympics also occurred on the pommel horse, in 1948. Perhaps the event of the Games and definitely one that is remembered for all the wrong reasons was the men’s 100m final, dubbed the ‘Dirtiest race in history’. The race was expected to be a match-up between Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson with American Calvin Smith, the former world record holder at 9.93s, and Britain’s Linford Christie considered to have a shot at a medal. Lewis was fastest in the earlier rounds, running 9.99s in the quarter-finals and 9.97s in the semi-finals. But the final was a runaway for Johnson, who broke his own world record with 9.79s, Lewis finishing in 9.92s, and Christie coming up for the bronze medal. Or so it was thought to be. Early the next day, rumours spread throughout the Olympic Village that a 100m finalist had tested positive for drugs, and late in the day, it was announced that this was true and that the doping violation was on Ben Johnson for using stanazolol. Johnson was disqualified, with the gold medal going to Lewis, Christie getting a silver, and Calvin Smith moving into the medals with a bronze. As always, Johnson denied that he had ever taken performance-enhancing drugs, later that year the Canadian government began an inquiry into the use of drugs in Canadian sports. In that inquiry, Johnson eventually admitted to the long-term use of steroids, and this was confirmed by his doctor, Jamie Astaphan, and coach, Charles Francis. Johnson was suspended for two years but did return to compete internationally in the early 90s and also participated in the 1992 Olympics. His 1987 World Championship and all his world records were rescinded by the IAAF.  By 1988 Jackie Joyner-Kersee was easily the world’s top all-around female athlete. She had played basketball at UCLA, she was a world-class long jumper, and in 1986, she twice broke the world heptathlon record, becoming the first to surpass 7000 points. At the 1988 US Olympic Trials, she again broke the world record, scoring 7215. She was favourite for gold in Seoul, possessing the top five marks of all-time, and she did not disappoint. In the first five events, she won the 100m hurdles, tied for first in the high jump, was second in the shot put, won the 200m and won the long jump. She led Sabine John by 179 points after day one and by almost 400 points after the long jump, and shattered the world record with 7291. The triple-jump saw world record holder Willie Banks, who jumped 17.97m to take the world record, which was only the second non-altitude assisted world record since 1960, no longer at his best in 1988, although he made the US team and the final. The favourite was Bulgaria’s Khristo Markov, 1987 World Champion and 1986 European Champion. He was challenged in the final by the three Soviets – Igor Lapshin, Aleksandr Kovalenk, and Oleg Protsenko. In round one of the final, Markov opened with 17.61m and that would settle the gold medal, as nobody surpassed it. Lapshin was in fourth for much of the day but produced his best jump, 17.52m, in the final round, to claim silver. Kovalenko and Protsenko had their best marks in round one, which earned them third and fourth, respectively.