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The Modern Olympics

1992 -- Barcelona, Spain
10,632 athletes, 171 nations

The Olympic code of amateurism was broken when professional athletes were allowed to participate in the 1992 Games. The U.S. basketball "Dream Team," featuring Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson easily won the gold medal. They beat their opponents by an average of 40 points a game.

There were few political problems during the Barcelona Games. Germany competed as one team for the first time since 1952 and the end of apartheid meant that South Africa was allowed back into the Games. The Soviet Union had dissolved, but the IOC allowed its former republics to be represented as a Unified Team to save them training and other expenses.

Click for Olympic posters

The city of Barcelona spent $8 billion on the Olympics and the facilities were breathtaking.

Canadian Highlights: The medal count for Canada was second only to the 1984 Olympics. Canada had several gold medal winners at the Games including Sylvie Frechette, Mark Tewksbury, and Silken Laumann. The rowing team brought home four gold medals.

Two of Canada's medal winners were particularly notable because of what they had to overcome. Synchronized swimmer Sylvie Frechetteis fiance killed himself just days before she left for the Games. Still grieving she put on a winning performance at the Games only to have a judge inadvertently push the wrong score for one of her compulsory figures. The judge quickly tried to fix her error but could not and the mark was ruled official. The mistake cost Frechette the gold medal. After 16 months of lobbying the medal was given to Frechette. She and the American who initially got the gold are listed as medallists.

Canadian rower Laumann, a definite favourite for a gold medal in Barcelona, was severely injured two months before the Games when a German crew's boat sliced through the muscle of her right leg during warm-up at a regatta in Germany. She was so badly hurt that doctors said she might not walk again. Remarkably she continued to train and, after undergoing several operations, placed third in Barcelona.

Medal Count: Gold 6, Silver 5, Bronze 7

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