1988  Seoul Summer Olympics

1988 Summer Olympics - Opening & Closing Ceremony

1988 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics took place at Seoul Olympic Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, on 17 September 1988

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics took place on September 17, 1988 in the morning in the Olympic Stadium Seoul . The approximately 180-minute event involved 13,625 performers and extras in 15 program items.  The celebration was divided into three parts: The official part was surrounded by cultural presentations in the prologue and epilogue. At the beginning of the event, the spectators could watch a ship procession on the Han River on the video panel of the stadiumfollow. Following this, a sun rose from the top of the "World Tree" in the middle of the stadium, followed by the 29-meter high tree. As the next program, 44 South Korean and 44 Greek women danced under the motto "Heaven, Earth and Men" and symbolized the unity of heaven and earth and the unity of East and West. Another 1500 dancers formed the word "Welcome".

Afterwards, the official part of the opening ceremony took place. South Korean President Roh Tae-woo and members of the Organizing Committee entered the stadium. Dancers formed the logo of the 1988 Olympic Games, flags with the logo and the Olympic rings were brought in. Then came the invasion of the nations. The first team was Greece, followed by the other teams in the order of the Korean alphabet. Flag bearer of the team of the FRG was the rider Reiner Klimke , for the GDR team took over the shot put Ulf Timmermann this position. The athlete Cornelia Bürkiled the Olympic team of Switzerland as flag bearer. Finally, the host nation invaded.

After the invasion SLOOC President Park Seh-jik gave a speech and IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch announced his message of welcome.  After that, the South Korean president declared the games open. Eight former South Korean medalists at the Olympic Games wore the Olympic flag in the stadium. While being hoisted while playing the Olympic anthem, pigeons were raised in the air as peace symbols. Then the Olympic flame of son Kee-chung was carried to the stadium, where once worn by Im Chun-he around the round and then to Chong Son-man , Son Mijong and Kim Won-takto hand over. They took a lift up and lit the fire. Subsequently, the athletes Huh Jae and Son Mi -na and the referee Lee Hak-rea the Olympic oaths were spoken. With the singing of the South Korean anthem the official part ended and the athletes left the stadium.

The official part was followed by another show part. While 800 dancers presented various choreographies, 52 international and 22 South Korean parachutists landedin the stadium. 1450 pupils performed a flower dance symbolizing the harmony of heaven and earth. Dancers with over 800 masks from different countries around the world showed the beginning of chaos and conflict. At the same time, over the roof of the stadium 20 large balloons in the form of a mask appeared. A child born as a venue on the day of the decision for Seoul rolled disguised as the mascot of the games a tire in the stadium, which stood for harmony and the Olympic rings. The event ended with the mascots of former Olympic Games and dance groups from different countries. Afterwards, all participants of the event gathered in the stadium.

At this opening ceremony, white pigeons were released as a symbol of peace for the last time . As some of them burned in the shell of the Olympic flame during its inflammation, the pigeon was represented as a symbol at the next Olympics only in choreographies or pictures.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics took place on the evening of October 2, 1988 in the Seoul Olympic Stadium. At the beginning, a dance that symbolized the friendship of the past 16 days was presented to the music of agricultural students. Afterwards, the performers welcomed the athletes to the stadium, followed by 150 flag bearers. The flags of Greece, South Korea and the next host country Spain were hoisted to the respective anthem. It was followed by another small show part, in which, among other 150 flag bearers with six-meter-high flags, the sails of a boat, while blue-clad dancers imitated waves. Subsequently, the president of the Organizing Committee Park Seh-jikthe closing address, in which he thanked for the successful hosting of the games. This was followed by a short speech by IOC President Samaranch, who thanked the Organizing Committee and South Korea and made the invitation to Barcelona.

After these speeches, Mayor Kim Yong-nae presented the Olympic flag to the President of the IOC, who passed it on to Pasqual Maragall , the mayor of Barcelona . There followed a short presentation of the next host with Spanish dancers. Then the Olympic flag was caught up to the sound of the Olympic anthem. While the flag was carried out of the stadium, the Olympic flame went out. The last event of the event was a bamboo flute and extras with silk lanterns appeared. At the end there was a big fireworks .
Opening Ceremony Highlights
The Opening Ceremony of the Games of Seoul were massive by any standard.  Over 13,000 participants put on an enormous show of eastern pageantry.  These games would be the last Summer Olympic ceremonies to occur in daylight.  Their mass demonstrations and artistic displays were the most complex in Olympic history and certainly gave way to Barcelona's monumental ceremony, arguably the most important in the history of Olympic ceremonial art.  Seoul did provide several lasting negative impacts including the last presentation of the "Antwerp" flag - replaced by the "Seoul" flag, and the ceremony was relegated to the Closing Ceremony; and lastly, the many pigeons burned alive in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron issued the end of the bird release, now ordered in the Olympic Charter not to include live animals but instead the release of birds would become an artistic element.

VIEWER'S GUIDE (moment of event in film above)
  • Han River Parade - parade of ships (0:33)
  • "Greeting the Sun" artistic program
    • "Dawn Road" - modern interpretation of cleaning the ground for the ceremony (6:34)
    • "Dragon Drum Procession" (14:30)
    • "Heaven, Earth, and Man" - dance of Korean nymphs and Greek maidens around the World Tree (19:23)
    • "Finale" - Modern dance forming "88" and "Welcome" (23:55)
  • Olympic Fanfare by Kim Chung-gill
  • President of Korea and dignitaries arrive
  • "Welcome" performance forming the word
  • Parade of Nations (34:14)
  • President of Korea declares the games open (37:00)
  • Olympic Flag enters the stadium and is raised to the Olympic Hymn; pigeons released; Olympic Rings formed by skywriting airplanes (39:00)
  • Torch enters to "Prometheus" by Kang Suk-hee and is lit by Chung Sunman, Kim Wontak, and Sohn Kee-chung (47:50)
  • Athlete's and Official's Oaths
  • National Anthem (53:00)
  • Athletes exit; "Great Day" artistic program
    • Tent Dance and Parachute Stunt (54:20)
    • Flower Dance - dance for peace (1:03:12)
    • Chaos - Mask dance; giant balloons, mask poles with traditional Korean masks (1:09:40)
    • Beyond All Barriers - Taekwondo demonstration (1:14:30)
    • Silence - Child rolling a hoop runs to the torch stand (1:21:00)
    • New Sprouts - Children play together (1:21:50)
    • Confrontation - Konori rope battle (1:26:30)
    • "One World" (1:35:00)
      • Modern dance
      • Parade of national flowers of countries that have hosted the Olympics
      • Parade of Olympic Mascots
      • Float Parade of the 1988 Mascots
      • Folk dance performance of 12 countries
      • "Hand in Hand" sing-a-long
      • "Spring in Hometown" sung by children's chorus
Real time web analytics, Heat map tracking

Olympic Games



All Events


You are here: Home Olympic Games Modern Olympic Games Summer Olympic Games 1988  Seoul Summer Olympics 1988 Summer Olympics - Opening & Closing Ceremony