The International Olympic Committee (IOC) selected Seoul, South Korea, as the host of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Baden-Baden, Germany, in 1981. Due to the acrimonious history between the two nations, in particular North Korea’s bombing of a South Korean civilian airplane in 1987, fear existed that North Korea might attack the games. In response to the North Korean threat, the IOC, national governments, and national Olympic committees worked together to provide security for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. As relations between the United States and Soviet Union slowly improved, protecting the Olympics factored into arms-control discussions between the two rivals. Simultaneously, despite a long-held aversion to politics interfering with sport, the situation forced the IOC to manipulate political ties to ensure a safe Olympic Games. This system of international security cooperation had a lasting impact on Olympic security.

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