Awarding the Summer Games to South Korea provided the impetus for the country to embrace democracy. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) boycotted, and was joined by Cuba, Ethiopia and Nicaragua. Still, records were set with 159 nations participating, 52 winning medals and 31 taking home gold medals.
Canadian Ben Johnson set a world record in the 100m sprint, but tested positive for steroids. Johnson was the first world-famous athlete to be disqualified for using drugs. After his disqualification, Carl Lewis was awarded the 100m gold, meaning he had successfully defended his 1984 Olympic title.
Debuts and firsts
For the first time, all three medallists in equestrian dressage were women. Swedish fencer Kerstin Palm became the first woman to take part in seven Olympic Games, and table tennis made its Olympic debut. Tennis also returned to the programme after a hiatus of 64 years. The event was open to professionals, and Steffi Graf concluded her Grand Slam tennis season by winning Olympic gold.
Haralampos Cholidis took the only medal for Greece in Seoul's Olympics. He was 3rd in wrestling
German cyclist Christa Luding-Rothenburger, who was also a speed skater, earned a silver medal in cycling. Having already won two medals at the Winter Games, she became the only person in history to win winter and summer medals in the same year. Greg Louganis successfully defended his titles in both diving events and American swimmer Matt Biondi won seven medals, including five golds.
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