Because of the risk of terrorist attacks from the Basque separatist group ETA, security was one of the biggest priorities of the organising committee. 45,000 members of the security forces were put in place. 5000 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 off without incident.
Britain's Derek Redmond, one of the favourites for the 400 metre title, injured himself only 150 metres from the finish line during the semi-final. Despite intense pain, Redmond carried on by hopping. His father Jim jumped over the barriers, went towards him and held him up. A few metres from the finish line, his father let him go to end his race by crossing over the line himself under rapturous and emotional applause.
- Target woman
China's Zhang Shan won the skeet event in a final in which she was the only woman competitor among three men. With 373 targets hit from a total of 375, Zhang beat the Olympic record and equalled 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 without success from the 100m semi-finals.
Paraskevi Patoulidou became Greece's first female Olympic champion. In the final, she was given a helping hand on her way to victory when the favourite for the 100m hurdles, American Gail Devers, fell and Russia's Ludmila Narozhylenko abandoned her campaign in the semi-final.
In the semi-final of the 200m, American Mike Marsh recorded a time of 19.73sec one hundredth of a second behind the record set by Italy's Pietro Mennéa, established in 1979. Although Marsh picked up speed in the final 15 metres of the race, he was unable to beat this superb record. His consolation was that he won the final.
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 less medals than the East Germans did in Seoul four years previously (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, medal-winners, Americans Michael Stulce and James Doehring (both testosterone), and the Russian Vyacheslav Lykho (methamphetamine), had all served respective suspensions of 2 years, 14 months and three months.
The publication of a book called "The Lord of the Rings", written by two British journalists a few months before the opening of the Games turned out to be a lively critique of the Olympic movement and its leaders. The authors criticised the corruption involved in the IOC and the part played by money in many of the IOC's decisions. The book also talks about the past history of IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, allegedly linked to Franco. The IOC took both men to court and were awarded damages.
The Jamaican Raymond Stewart, seventh in the 100m, became the first man to qualify for three Olympic 100m finals. In 1984 he finished sixth, in 1988 seventh.
Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.