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Barcelona 1992 - Quick hits


Because of the risk of terrorist attacks from the Basque separatist group ETA, security was one of the biggest priorities of the organizing committee. A security force of 45,000 members was put in place. Five thousand were situated along the French/Spanish border. A hundred Navy boats surveyed the Catalan coastline and four submarines were deployed in waters near the Olympic arena. The Games passed without incident.


Britain's Derek Redmond, one of the favorites for the 400-meter title, was injured 150 meters from the finish line during the semifinal. Despite intense pain, Redmond carried on by hopping along the track. His father, Jim, jumped over the barriers, went toward him and held him up. A few meters from the finish line Redmond's father let him go and he completed the race by himself to rapturous applause.

Target woman

China's Zhang Shan won the skeet event in a final in which she was the only female competitor along with three men. With 373 targets hit from a total of 375, Zhang beat the Olympic record and equaled the world record.


Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson attempted a return to the Games after his suspension following his doping scandal four years earlier in Seoul. Johnson would be eliminated in the 100 semifinals.


Paraskevi Patoulidou became Greece's first female Olympic champion. In the 100 hurdles final, she was given a helping hand when the favorite, American Gail Devers, fell and Russia's Ludmila Narozhylenko abandoned her campaign in the semifinal.


In the semifinal of the 200, American Mike Marsh recorded a time of 19.73, one-hundredth of a second behind the world record set by Italy's Pietro Mennéa in 1979. Although Marsh picked up speed in the final 15 meters of the race, he was unable to beat this superb record. His consolation was that he won the gold.


Strangely, the unification of the German team had no positive effect on the medals tally. With 82 medals, 33 of which were gold, the unified Germany obtained fewer medals than the East Germans did in Seoul four years earlier (102 medals, 37 of which were gold).


For the first time ever, all three medals in an event were won by athletes who had previously served bans for doping. In the shot put, Americans Michael Stulce and James Doehring (both testosterone), and the Russian Vyacheslav Lykho (methamphetamine), had all served suspensions.


A book titled "The Lord of the Rings," written by two British journalists, was published a few months before the opening of the Games. The book turned out to be a lively critique of the Olympic movement and its leaders. The authors criticized the corruption involved in the IOC and the part played by money in many of the IOC's decisions. They also wrote about the past history of IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was allegedly linked to Franco. The IOC took both men to court and obtained damages.


Jamaican Raymond Stewart, seventh in the 100, became the first man to qualify for three Olympic 100 finals. In 1984 he finished sixth, in 1988 seventh.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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