Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Road to Olympics - 1992 Hermosa Ciudad de Barcelona

Summer in the Spanish city of Barcelona is one of the best experiences to have in one's lifetime. That the IOC chose this city to host the 25th Olympiad and the then IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch came from the host country, was pure coincidence...
Barcelona '92 logo
The Games though were held amidst renewed promises of economic prosperity after the end of the Cold War which had plagued the 1970s and 80s Games. The following are the main highlights;

Cobi - '92 mascot

  • South Africa's comeback - after ending the apartheid form of government in 1990, the country was allowed back and presented renewed opposition to African and other countries which had enjoyed its isolation
  • The Dream Team - professionalism finally matched with the amateurs and the combination as they say was a dream. NBA 'superstars' were truly on a well-deserved Summer break. Led by Michael Jordan, this team easily won the gold medal in the men's basketball.
  • Germany came back as a unified state after East and West Germany's unification in 1990. It would become a force to reckon with especially for the indoor events. 
  • Following USSR's dissolution, a number of former Soviet states opted to participate under the 'Unified Team' banner and ultimately beat the US on the medal standings. They were 12 of the 15 states.
  • The Games firmly put the Spanish city on the spotlight as one of the best tourist attractions in the world, a fact that some host cities have not been able to exploit.  
William Tanui & Nixon Kiprotich - 800m Gold & Silver
Kenya would see its 1988 success take a dip, though not for lack of participation, more like other countries making the cut and pushing the competition higher. The following are the stats of Kenya's showing;

  • 2 Gold Medals  - Matthew Birir - 3000m steeplechase and William Tanui - 800m; 4 Silver; Richard Chelimo(the late), Nixon Kiprotich-800m, Patrick Sang -3000m s'chase and Paul Bitok - 5000m and finally Bronze medal ; Samson Kitur -400m and William Mutwol -3000m s'chase 
  • The 10,000m was marked by poor officiating where a Moroccan athlete refused to leave the track even after being over-lapped. Khalid Skah eventually won the race but was disqualified by officials briefly before being reinstated as eventual winner. 
  • Kenya as a whole participated in 29 events in 5 sports ; athletics, boxing, judo, shooting and weightlifting
  • A total of 49 participants represented the country : 40 men and 9 women
  • Besides Athletics, Kenya did not win a medal in any other discipline.

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