Games of the XXV Olympiad
Emblem of the 1992 Summer Olympics
Host cityBarcelona, Spain
MottoFriends for Life
(Spanish: Amigos para siempre, Catalan: Amics per sempre)
Athletes9,386 (6,663 men, 2,723 women)
Events257 in 25 sports (34 disciplines)
Opening25 July 1992
Closing9 August 1992
Opened by
StadiumEstadi Olímpic de Montjuïc
1992 Summer Paralympics

The 1992 Summer Olympics (Spanish: Juegos Olímpicos de Verano de 1992, Catalan: Jocs Olímpics d'estiu de 1992), officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad (Spanish: Juegos de la XXV Olimpiada, Catalan: Jocs de la XXV Olimpíada) and commonly known as Barcelona '92, was an international multi-sport event held from 25 July to 9 August 1992 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Beginning in 1994, the International Olympic Committee decided to hold the Summer and Winter Olympics in alternating even-numbered years. The 1992 Summer and Winter Olympics were the last games to be staged in the same year.[2] These games were the second and last two consecutive Olympic games to be held in Western Europe after the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, held five months earlier.

The 1992 Summer Games were the first since the end of the Cold War, and the first unaffected by boycotts since the 1972 Summer Games.[3] 1992 was also the first year South Africa was re-invited to the Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee, after a 32-year ban from participating in international sport due to apartheid.[4] The Unified Team (made up by the former Soviet republics without the Baltic states) topped the medal table, winning 45 gold and 112 overall medals.

Host city selection

Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain and the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, and the hometown of then-IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch and the famous European club, FC Barcelona. The city was also a host for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. On 17 October 1986, Barcelona was selected to host the 1992 Summer Olympics over Amsterdam, Netherlands; Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Birmingham, United Kingdom; Brisbane, Australia; and Paris, France, during the 91st IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland.[5] New Delhi, India, had announced a bid for the games, but withdrew in March 1986.[6] With 85 out of 89 members of the IOC voting by secret ballot, Barcelona won a majority of 47 votes. Samaranch abstained from voting. In the same IOC meeting, Albertville, France, won the right to host the 1992 Winter Games. Paris and Brisbane would eventually be selected to host the 2024 and 2032 Summer Olympics respectively.[7]

Barcelona had previously bid for the 1936 Summer Olympics that were ultimately held in Berlin.

1992 Summer Olympics bidding results[8]
City NOC Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Barcelona  Spain 29 37 47
Paris  France 19 20 23
Belgrade  Yugoslavia 13 11 5
Brisbane  Australia 11 9 10
Birmingham  Great Britain 8 8
Amsterdam  Netherlands 5


See also: 1992 Summer Olympics opening ceremony and 1992 Summer Olympics closing ceremony

The Olympic cauldron lit during the Games in Montjuïc
David Robinson shoots a free throw to help secure the gold medal for the United States "Dream Team".


Main article: World and Olympic records set at the 1992 Summer Olympics


Main article: Venues of the 1992 Summer Olympics

Anella Olímpica from above
Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc
Palau Sant Jordi
Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc
Canal Olímpic de Catalunya

Medals awarded

Main article: List of 1992 Summer Olympics medal winners

The 1992 Summer Olympic programme featured 257 events in the following 25 sports:

1992 Summer Olympics Sports Programme

Demonstration sports

Participating National Olympic Committees

Participating countries by number of competitors

A total of 169 nations sent athletes to compete in the 1992 Summer Games.

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, twelve of the fifteen new states chose to form a Unified Team, while the Baltic States of Estonia and Latvia sent their own teams for the first time since 1936, and Lithuania sent its own team for the first time since 1928. Bosnia-Herzegovina competed for the first time as an independent nation after its separation from Socialist Yugoslavia, and Namibia and the unified team of Yemen (previously North and South Yemen) also made their Olympic debuts. Croatia and Slovenia made their first Summer Olympic appearance at these games, having participated at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.

The 1992 Summer Olympics notably marked Germany competing as a unified team for the first time since 1964 and the first time since 1936 as a single nation following German reunification. South Africa returned to the Games for the first time in 32 years.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was banned due to UN sanctions, but individual Yugoslav athletes were allowed to take part as Independent Olympic Participants. Four then-existing National Olympic Committees did not send any athletes to compete: Afghanistan, Brunei, Liberia and Somalia.

Participating National Olympic Committees
  •  Brunei participated in the Opening Ceremony, but its delegation consisted of only one official. This also occurred in the 1988 Games.[17][18]
  • Afghanistan Afghanistan did not send their athletes to compete, but the country took part in the Parade of Nations. Apparently, its flag was carried by a volunteer from the Barcelona Organising Committee.[18]
  •  Liberia and  Somalia also participated in the Opening Ceremony, but its accredited athletes (five and two, respectively) did not enter to compete.[17][18]

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committee

9,356 athletes from 169 NOCs

IOC Letter Code Country Athletes
USA  United States 545
ESP  Spain 489
GER  Germany 485
EUN  Unified Team 475


All times are in Central European Summer Time (UTC+2)
OC Opening ceremony Event competitions 1 Gold medal events CC Closing ceremony
July/August 1992 July August Events
Ceremonies OC CC
Aquatics Diving 1 1 1 1 1 39
Swimming 4 5 5 5 6 6
Synchronized swimming 1 1
Water polo 1
Archery 1 1 2 4
Athletics 2 4 4 6 5 6 6 9 1 43
Badminton 4 4
Baseball 1 1
Basketball 1 1 2
Boxing 6 6 12
Canoeing Slalom 2 2 16
Sprint 6 6
Cycling Road cycling 2 1 10
Track cycling 1 1 5
Equestrian 2 1 1 1 1 6
Fencing 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
Field hockey 1 1 2
Football 1 1
Gymnastics Artistic 1 1 1 1 4 6 15
Rhythmic 1
Handball 2 2
Judo 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 14
Modern pentathlon 2 2
Rowing 7 7 14
Sailing 2 7 1 10
Shooting 2 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 13
Table tennis 1 1 1 1 4
Tennis 2 2 4
Volleyball 1 1 2
Weightlifting 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 9
Wrestling 3 3 4 3 3 4 20
Daily medal events 9 12 14 17 19 19 22 30 18 11 12 12 22 30 10 257
Cumulative total 9 21 35 52 71 90 112 142 160 171 183 195 217 247 257
July/August 1992 24th
Total events
July August

Medal count

Main article: 1992 Summer Olympics medal table

The following table reflects the top ten nations in terms of total medals won at the 1992 Games (the host nation is highlighted).

1 Unified Team453829112
2 United States373437108
3 Germany33212882
4 China16221654
5 Cuba1461131
6 Spain*137222
7 South Korea1251229
8 Hungary1112730
9 France851629
10 Australia791127
Totals (10 entries)196159169524


International signal

In order to guarantee that the international signal was produced objectively and impartially, for the first time in Olympic history, a host broadcaster was expressly created for each of the 1992 Olympic Games instead of delegating responsibility to a national host broadcaster. The Albertville Organizing Committee created the Organisme de radio télévision olympique '92 (ORTO'92) for the Winter Olympics and the Barcelona Organizing Committee created the Ràdio Televisió Olímpica '92 (RTO'92) for the Summer Olympics.[19]

RTO'92 managed the staff and the production and technical resources hired to Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE), the Corporació Catalana de Ràdio i Televisió (CCRTV) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). With a workforce of 3,083 people, a permanent radio and television installation at the Olympic Stadium and Palau Sant Jordi, and over 50 mobile units for other venues, RTO'92 provided live coverage of all Summer Olympic sports for the first time ever –except for a few preliminary events–, some 2,800 hours of live television footage, to its international rights-holders. The International Broadcast Centre (IBC) was located at the exhibition halls of Fira de Barcelona in Montjuïc.[19]

NHK and Panasonic developed the 1/2" DX digital system used to record the Games digitally for the first time. Also new were the underwater camera dolly on a track at the bottom of the swimming pool, the underwater microcameras at the bottom of the water polo pool, the periscope camera capable of transmit shots from below and above the water, the overhead camera dolly on a track along the canopy of the Olympic Stadium for the 35 metres (115 ft) high zenithal shot of the athletics track, the stabilized optic gyro-zoom cameras, the super slow motion PAL camera and the microcamera on the high jump bar.[19]

Personalized coverage

To cover the Games, major international broadcasting unions such as the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Radio and Television Organisation (OIRT), the Organización de Televisión Iberoamericana (OTI), the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) and the Union of African National Television and Radio Organizations (URTNA), secured the rights for their member broadcasters in their countries. In other countries, broadcast networks secured the rights directly or pooled to secure the rights. The Games were covered by the following television and radio broadcasters:[20]

Territory Television Radio
 Algeria ENTV
 Australia Seven Network ABC
 Austria ORF ORF
 Belarus btv
 Bulgaria BNT
 Colombia Canal A
 Croatia HRT HRT
 Cyprus CyBC
 Czechoslovakia ČST Czechoslovak Radio
 Denmark DR DR
 Estonia ETV
 Finland Yle Yle
 Germany ARD
 Greece ERT ERT
 Hong Kong
 Hungary MTV Magyar Rádió
 Iceland RÚV RÚV
 India Doordarshan
 Indonesia Radio Republik Indonesia
 Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
 Ireland RTÉ RTÉ
 Israel IBA IBA
 Italy RAI RAI
 Jordan JRTV
 Lebanon Télé Liban
 Libya LJBC
 Lithuania LTV
 Luxembourg RTL RTL
 Macau TDM
 Malta MBA
 Mexico Televisa
 Monaco RMC RMC
 Mongolia MNB
 Morocco RTM RTM
 Netherlands NOS NOS
 New Zealand TVNZ RNZ
 Norway NRK NRK
 Pakistan PTV PBC
 Philippines ABS-CBN
 Poland TVP PR S.A.
 Portugal RTP RDP
 Puerto Rico WIPR
 Romania TVR Radio România
 Singapore SBC Channel 12
 South Africa SABC
 South Korea
 Spain TVE
 Sweden SVT SR
  Switzerland SRG SSR
 Tunisia ERTT
 Turkey TRT TRT
 United Kingdom BBC One BBC Radio 4
 United States NBC West Coast Talk Radio
 Venezuela Venevisión

HDTV coverage

The 1992 Winter and Summer Olympics were the first in which a comprehensive coverage in high-definition television (HDTV) was attempted. The European HDTV broadcast of the Summer Olympics was managed by the joint venture "Barcelona 1250" created by RTO'92, RTVE, Retevisión and PESA, with the financial support of the European Economic Community and a workforce of over 300 production and technical staff. A total of 225 hours and 45 minutes was broadcast in analog HD-MAC standard in 1,250 lines and 16:9 aspect ratio, with commentary in five languages –Spanish, English, French, German and Italian– in addition to the non-commentary sound track, of eighteen different sports at seventeen venues, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Events from five venues were covered live –80% of the total broadcast time– and other events were recorded for a delayed broadcast. On-screen text and graphics were shown in HDTV for the first time ever. Nearly 700 viewing sites installed throughout Europe, including the fifty HDTV receivers installed in various pavilions at the Seville Universal Exposition, were able to receive the broadcast.[21]

For Japan, NHK also covered the 1992 Summer Olympics in HDTV in their own analog Hi-Vision system.[22]


The Basque nationalist group ETA attempted to disrupt the Barcelona Games with terrorist attacks. It was already feared beforehand that ETA would use the Olympics to gain publicity for their cause in front of a worldwide audience.[23] As the time of the Games approached,[24] ETA committed attacks in Barcelona and the Catalonia region as a whole, including the deadly 1991 Vic bombing.[25][26] On 10 July 1992, the group offered a two-month truce covering the Olympics in exchange for negotiations, which the Spanish government rejected.[27] However, the Games went ahead successfully without an attack.[28]

Effect on the city

Frank Gehry's Fish sculpture in front of the Hotel Arts (left) and the Torre Mapfre (right) in the Olympic Village neighbourhood

The celebration of the 1992 Olympic Games had an enormous impact on the urban culture and outward projection of Barcelona. The Games provided billions of dollars for infrastructure investments, which are considered to have improved the quality of life in the city, and its attraction for investment and tourism.[29] Barcelona became one of the most visited cities in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome.[30][31]

Barcelona's nomination for the 1992 Summer Olympics sparked the implementation of an ambitious plan for urban transformation that had already been developed previously.[32] Barcelona was opened to the sea with the construction of the Olympic Village and Olympic Port in Poblenou. New centers were created, and modern sports facilities were built in the Olympic zones of Montjuïc, Diagonal, and Vall d'Hebron; hotels were also refurbished and new ones built. The construction of ring roads around the city helped to reduce traffic density, and El Prat airport was modernized and expanded with the opening of two new terminals.[33]

Cost and cost overrun

The Oxford Olympics Study[34] estimates the direct costs of the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics to be US$9.7 billion (expressed in 2015 U.S. dollars) with a cost overrun of 266%. This includes only sports-related costs, that is: (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, direct transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services; and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, media and press center, and similar structures required to host the Games. Costs excluded from the study are indirect capital and infrastructure costs, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games.[34][35]

The costs for Barcelona 1992 may be compared with those of London 2012, which cost US$15 billion with a cost overrun of 76%, and those of Rio 2016 which cost US$4.6 billion with a cost overrun of 51%. The average cost for the Summer Olympics since 1960 is US$5.2 billion, with an average cost overrun of 176%.[34][35]

Songs and themes

There were two main musical themes for the 1992 Games. The first one was "Barcelona", a classical crossover song composed five years earlier by Freddie Mercury and Mike Moran; Mercury was an admirer of lyric soprano Montserrat Caballé, both recorded the official theme as a duet. Due to Mercury's death eight months earlier, the duo was unable to perform the song together during the opening ceremony. A recording of the song instead played over a travelogue of the city at the start of the opening ceremony, seconds before the official countdown.[36][37] "Amigos Para Siempre" (Friends for Life) was the other musical theme and it was official theme song of the 1992 Summer Olympics. It was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black, and sung by Sarah Brightman and José Carreras during the closing ceremonies.

Ryuichi Sakamoto composed and conducted some musical pieces at the opening ceremony musical score.[38] The Opening Olympic fanfare was composed by Angelo Badalamenti and with orchestrations by Joseph Turrin.


Main article: Cobi and Petra


The official mascot was Cobi, a Catalan sheepdog in cubist style designed by Javier Mariscal.[39] He was widely featured in merchandising products and starred his own animated television series, The Cobi Troupe.[40]

Corporate image and identity

A renewal in Barcelona's image and corporate identity could be seen in the publication of posters, commemorative coins, stamps minted by the FNMT in Madrid, and the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Official Commemorative Medals, designed and struck in Barcelona.[41]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Factsheet - Opening Ceremony of the Games of the Olympiad" (PDF) (Press release). International Olympic Committee. 9 October 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Albertville 1992". Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics | Olympic Videos, Photos, News". Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  4. ^ Wren, Christopher S. (7 November 1991). "OLYMPICS; an Era Ends, Another Begins: South Africa to Go to Olympics". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "IOC Vote History". Archived from the original on 25 May 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Philip Barker: An Olympic passage to India 40 years ago". 6 October 2023.
  7. ^ Miller, Judith (18 October 1986). "Barcelona gets 1992 Summer Olympics" (Archives). The New York Times.
  8. ^ "Past Olympic Host City Election Results". Archived from the original on 30 June 2011.
  9. ^ "Ciudad Olímpica: La parábola del suspiro" [Olympic City: The parable of the sigh]. La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 27 July 1992. p. 36.
  10. ^ "Ceremonial hall of shame". BBC News. 15 September 2000. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  11. ^ Official Report of the Games of the XXV Olympiad, Barcelona 1992, v.4. LA84 Foundation. 1992. p. 72. ISBN 84-7868-097-7. The arrow described an arc and lit the gas issuing from the cauldron; the flame soared up to a height of three metres.
  12. ^ "Barcelona 1992: Did you know?". IOC. 2002. Archived from the original on 4 April 2002.
  13. ^ "Hall of Famers: 1992 United States Olympic Team". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Fermin Cacho Ruiz". Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  15. ^ Arnold, Chloe (11 February 2012). "Hassiba Boulmerka: Defying death threats to win gold". BBC News. Algiers.
  16. ^ Farber, Michael (30 July 1996). "On the Bright Side". CNN/SI. Archived from the original on 16 September 2000.
  17. ^ a b 1992 Olympics Official Report. Part IV. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2012. List of participants by NOC's and sport.
  18. ^ a b c Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony - Full Length on YouTube
  19. ^ a b c Official Report of the Games of the XXV Olympiad, Barcelona 1992. Vol. 3. International Olympic Committee. 1992. pp. 64–69. Retrieved 11 November 2022.
  20. ^ Miquel de Moragas, Nancy Kay Rivenburgh, ed. (1995). Television in the Olympics : international research project (illustrated ed.). James F. Larson. pp. 257–260. ISBN 978-0861965380. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  21. ^ Romero, M.; Gavilán, E. (Winter 1992). "HDTV coverage of the Barcelona Olympic Games" (PDF). EBU Technical Review. European Broadcasting Union: 16–24. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  22. ^ Yukio, Omori (1993). "Current State of Japanese HDTV" (PDF). Journal of Japanese Trade & Industry (6): 36–38. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  23. ^ Fussey, Pete; Coaffee, Jon; Hobbs, Dick (April 2011). Securing and Sustaining the Olympic City: Reconfiguring London for 2012 and Beyond. Routledge. p. 48. ISBN 9780754679455.
  24. ^ "CTV News - CTV News Channel". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  25. ^ "Spain Tackles Terrorist Threat By Basques to Olympics, Expo". Christian Science Monitor. 1 April 1992. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  26. ^ Finkelstein, Beth; Koch, Noel (11 August 1991). "The Threat to the Games in Spain". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 30 July 2018.
  27. ^ "Eta rebuffed". The Independent. 13 July 1992. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  28. ^ Thompson, Wayne C (31 August 2017). Western Europe 2017-2018. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781475835090.
  29. ^ Brunet, Ferran (2005). "The economic impact of the Barcelona Olympic Games, 1986–2004" (PDF). Autonomous University of Barcelona. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2009.
  30. ^ Payne, Bob (6 August 2008). "The Olympics Effect". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2 September 2008.
  31. ^ Bremner, Caroline (11 October 2007). "Top 150 City Destinations: London Leads the Way". Euromonitor International. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009.
  32. ^ Brunet, Ferran (1995). "An economic analysis of the Barcelona '92 Olympic Games: resources, financing, and impact" (PDF). Autonomous University of Barcelona. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 September 2017.
  33. ^ Beard, Matthew (22 March 2011). "Lessons of Barcelona: 1992 Games provided model for London... and few warnings". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 5 April 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  34. ^ a b c Flyvbjerg, Bent; Stewart, Allison; Budzier, Alexander (2016). The Oxford Olympics Study 2016: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Games. Oxford: Saïd Business School Working Papers (Oxford: University of Oxford). pp. 18–20. SSRN 2804554.
  35. ^ a b Joe Myers (29 July 2016). "The cost of hosting every Olympics since 1964" (Based on working paper from The University of Oxford and Said Business School). World Economic Forum.
  36. ^ "Barcelona 92: 11 momentos inolvidables de aquellos Juegos Olímpicos (VÍDEOS, FOTOS)". The Huffington Post (in Spanish). 25 July 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  37. ^ "Barcelona 92: inicio de la ceremonia". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  38. ^ Illness, Critical (3 September 2010). "Doreen D'Agostino Media " Ryuichi Sakamoto and Decca". Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  39. ^ "Barcelona 1992 - Summer Games Mascots". IOC. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  40. ^ Guiral, Antoni (3 April 1991). ""The Cobi Troupe" will be released in Spain next October". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  41. ^ "Catálogo de Monedas: Moneda | Various Pesetas (Mint set 1992)" (in Spanish). Connect | FNMT. 2020.
External videos
video icon Official Film - Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games on YouTube
Summer Olympics Preceded bySeoul XXV OlympiadBarcelona 1992 Succeeded byAtlanta

41°21′51″N 2°09′08″E / 41.36417°N 2.15222°E / 41.36417; 2.15222