The Olympic Games showed signs of fulfilling the ancient dream of being a catalyst to friendship among nations, but the Games' traditional torchbearer also became a target of firebombs from student radicals.
As many as 50 firebombs were hurled at a runner carrying the torch Wednesday in the southern outskirts of Seoul, witnesses reported. Police said some of the flaming missiles landed about 10 yards away, but the runner kept up his pace and no one was hurt.South Korean Foreign Minister Choi Kwang-soo said, meanwhile, that new relations with Hungary, borne of the Olympics, may be a breakthrough to ties with the Soviet bloc.
"We hope this will also provide us a momentum for a better relationship with North Korea," Choi said of the opening of relations with communist Hungary announced a day earlier.
Seoul was spinning with activity leading up to Saturday's opening of the Games. Athletes put in their final training, officials were setting up a high-tech drug center, and four cities made final bids for the 1994 Winter Games.
Defending diving gold medalist Greg Louganis worried about failure, but not losing. Gary Knapp, captain of the U.S. yachting team, felt sore and sorry after a bicycle accident knocked him out of the Games with a separated shoulder.
Before the victories and defeats, however, came the early evidence that these Games might serve a higher purpose, as the Greeks intended more than 2,700 years ago when the Olympics began.
Three days before 160 countries send athletes to the opening ceremonies, South Korea celebrated an agreement to open diplomatic relations with Hungary.
"The exchange of missions will be a major breakthrough in our overall relationships with East-bloc countries," said Choi.
Another sign of new amity was the first landing of a Soviet civilian plane in Seoul since the Korean peninsula was divided 40 years ago, and a Korean Airlines plane crossing Soviet air space for the first time since KAL 007 was shot down on Sept. 1, 1983.
Wednesday's attack on the Olympic torchbearer came as he ran past Kyungwon University. Police had blocked the university's main gate in anticipation of trouble, but students tossed the firebombs ovear the school wall.
Radical students staged several peaceful protests at other Seoul colleges Wednesday, the latest of many demonstrations using the Olympics to focus on demands for reunification of North and South Korea and U.S. withdrawal from the South.
Olympics officials adopted a new rule allowing the banning of drug traffickers from the Games for life, showed off a new $3 million drug-testing center, and said the moves would lead to reducing doping by athletes.
The IOC's new rule adopted Tuesday allows officials to bar from the Olympics people who make, distribute or finance the purchase of any of the more than 90 items on its list of banned substances.