SEOUL 1988 PARALYMPIC GAMES
The 1988 Paralympics marked the first time in 24 years the Paralympics took place in the same venue as the Olympics.
The Seoul Paralympic Organising Committee had only a tangential relationship with the Seoul Olympic Organising Committee, though it was substantial enough to recruit and train many of the sport and technical officials for the Paralympic Games too.
At the time, a record 3,041 Para athletes (2,370 men and 671 women) from 60 countries took part. They competed in 733 medal events across 18 sports. A whopping 971 world and 156 Paralympic records were broken.
A total of 18 different sports took place at the Paralympic Games in Seoul; archery, Para athletics, boccia, cycling, football 7-a-side, goalball, judo, lawn bowls, Para powerlifting, shooting Para sport, snooker, Para swimming, table tennis, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing and wheelchair tennis.
Athletics, swimming and wheelchair basketball stole the show with star-studded line-ups, while judo made its Paralympic Games debut.
The Opening Ceremony, held on 15 October, took place at the Olympic Stadium before a crowd of 75,000. A record number of 3,057 competitors from 61 nations took part in the athlete parade.
The new Paralympic flag was presented to the International Co-ordinating Committee (ICC) President, Dr. Jens Bromann, and the Games were declared open by Mr. Roh Tae-Woo, President of the Republic of Korea.
The USA swept the medal standings, winning 92 gold, 90 silver and 91 bronze to come away with 273 medals overall. Germany and Great Britain followed in second and third, respectively.
Trischa Zorn, a US vision impaired swimmer, won a total of 12 gold medals, including 10 individual titles and two relays. She set nine world records in the process.
Mustapha Badid of France established himself as the champion of men’s wheelchair racing with gold medals in the 200m, 1,500m, 5,000m and marathon races.
Wheelchair athlete Franz Nietlispach of Switzerland won medals on the track in the 200m and 800m events.
Connie Hansen of Denmark took five golds in the 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m and marathon wheelchair races.
The USA returned as a dominant force in wheelchair basketball, as the men’s squad defeated the defending Paralympic champions, Netherlands, and the women’s team won their first gold medal with victory over Germany.
ATTENDANCE AND COVERAGE
There were a total of 2,368 media personnel on the ground for the Games, which became known as the first Games of the modern Paralympic era.
About 75,000 people were in attendance for the Opening Ceremony, and a capacity crowd filled up the stadium for the Closing Ceremony.
Venues were packed for competition as well, as the women’s wheelchair basketball final took place in front of 20,000 screaming fans.
The Closing Ceremony was held on 24 October and received loud cheers from the capacity crowd. It concluded with an extravagant fireworks display.