One hundred and seventy-two nations came, saw and tried to conquer. Along the way, there were bound to be outbursts.
With a day of competition to go, here are the medalists and runners-up in tantrum throwing, a demonstration event at the Barcelona Games:
Sixth place: To Ali Kazemi, an Iranian boxer in the light-heavyweight division, who slept through his wake-up call the morning of his opening Olympic bout. Horrified, he got in a cab and told the driver to step on it. He burst through the doors of the boxing arena and ran down the stairs into the ring, where his opponent, Asghar Mahammed of Pakistan, was waiting. It was then that Kazemi realized his hands weren't taped and he had no gloves. The bell rang and, six seconds later, Mahammed was declared the winner on account of he had nobody to fight. Just like that, Kazemi was gone.
Fifth place: To Dokaz, the Russian horse that fell at a fence during the equestrian cross-country distance event and refused to get back up. The horse was eventually transported to a clinic, where "heat exhaustion" was the official diagnosis, and Dokaz was given the rest of the afternoon off. As it turned out, it was the Games' most successful protest. In the face of the Mediterranean heat wave Barcelona was experiencing, the distance event was shortened the next day.
Fourth place: To Dagmar Hase, a German swimmer who won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle event and then protested when she had to receive the medal from Harm Beyer, a former East German swimming official whom Hase said was "a cheat" and had no business being in the Games, let alone handing out gold medals. Beyer agreed. She resigned the next day and went home.
Bronze medal: To Alexander Kourlovitch, a Belarussian weightlifter and "The World's Strongest Man." After Kourlovitch lifted 450 kilograms - or roughly the island of Crete - to win the super-heavyweight gold medal, he took the opportunity to accuse Vassili Alexeyev, the head of the Unified Team's Weightlifting Federation (and once the "World's Strongest Man" himself), of political favoritism in selecting the team.
Only Kourlovitch used stronger language than that.
"There are people who act like dictators, and that is the simplest way to characterize Alexeyev," said Kourlovitch. "What he tried to do was get athletes he did not like eliminated. I would say Alexeyev committed a crime."
It's probably good that the Unified Team will not be unified after 1992, and in the future Kourlovitch will compete for his own country, Belarussia.
Silver medal: To Irish boxer Paul Griffin, a lightweight, who, when told that the ringside doctor had stopped his second-round bout because it was his opinion that Griffin was unable to continue, went through the ropes and after the doctor. Officials grabbed Griffin before he could show the doctor just how much he had left and subsequently banned the onetime European champion from further Olympic competition.
Gold medal: You're saying to yourself, "wait a minute, it's not going to be easy outdoing that Irish boxer, or the Belarussian weight-lifter," but in the end there was no question. The gold medal was a no-brainer, it goes to . . . Ibragim Samadov, another weightlifter from the Unified Team, who, upon receiving the bronze medal he won in the light-heavyweight division, hurled it to the floor in disgust and stormed off the parastyle.
And when Pyrros Dimas of Greece, the gold-medal winner who had been standing next to Samadov, retrieved the medal and tried to hand it back to him, he threw it down again.
Samadov was having a difficult time dealing with weightlifting's unique system of settling ties by weighing the contestants and giving the higher place to the lightest lifter. After the light-heavyweight division finished in a three-way tie - Pyrros, Krzysztof Siemion of Poland and Samadov each lifted 370 kilograms (814 pounds) - Samadov weighed in the heaviest of the three . . . by one-tenth of a pound.
Samadov was banished by the International Olympic Committee from the Barcelona Olympics and from any future Olympic competition. They also kept his bronze medal.