On for years. Gasping in delight and surprise,

On the day of September 17 1988, the citizens of South Korea huddled around their televisions in anticipation of the thrilling event they had been waiting for years. Gasping in delight and surprise, they glued themselves to the glowing screen in front as the radiant opening ceremony of the Seoul Olympics flashed before their eyes. The capital city had been chosen to host the prestigious global event seven years ago, having finished ahead of Japan by 25 votes after a laborious battle of wills. That day, the Seoul Olympics sparked a brilliant fire of pride and hope in the hearts of the 42 million people observing the Games and the breathtaking changes it brought about. Although some people argue that the Olympics were a horrific display of human rights abuse, in the long run, it has proven to be beneficial to all citizens as many infrastructures were built in place. The 1988 Olympics brought about many positive changes to South Korea, as it transformed Korea’s economy and improved its political stability and diplomatic relations.One positive change the 1988 Olympics brought about was the drastic improvement in South Korea’s economy and overall quality of life. According to the book “Mega-Events and Mega-Ambitions: South Korea’s Rise and the Strategic Use of the Big Four Events” by Yu-Min Jong, the historical event was a tremendous economic booster, with the total profit estimated to be around a staggering 479 million dollars. The Seoul Olympics also helped integrate South Korea into the global market and sparked rapid growth in Korean businesses and income when Korean products started to be consumed in other countries. According to the website OEC, South Korea is now the 7th largest export economy in the world, exporting goods such as intergrated circuits, cars, passenger and cargo ships, petroleum, and others. As Sejong Daero reported in the article “Seoul Olympics Gave Powerful Impetus to Great Changes in South Korea”, the size of Korea’s economy today is 350 times larger than that of 1960. Moreover, trade with foreign countries has become an astonishing 1,900 times larger.  In an interview with my grandmother, she clearly recalls that the effects the Olympics had in Seoul were instantaneous. In addition to the public facilities that had been built in preparation for the event, increased salaries lead to an overall increase in wealth in her neighborhood. Before the event, highways such as the 88 Olympic highway connecting Yeongnam and the Olympic highway were opened, roads were reconstructed, and sports facilities such as the Jamsil Sports Complex, the Olympic park, and the Seoul Race Course were constructed. Furthermore, transportation management was improved, new homes were built, and environmental “beautification” projects were carried out, making everyday life for Korean citizens much more efficient. The transportation management was improved by expanding the capacity of the Gimpo International Airport, increased bus rout, and constructed additional subway lines. Another indirect result the Olympics had is that cultural facilities such as the Seoul Arts Center, National Classic Music Institute and National Museum of Contemporary Art were built and constructed. The Olympics had an enormous influence on the shaping of South Korea’s economy, and the economy would not have been the same without this fascinating event.Furthermore, the 1988 Summer Olympics aided South Korea to become a more politically stable nation, as well as improving diplomatic relations with other countries. According to the website World Atlas, Roh Tae Woo became South Korea’s president in the first free parliamentary election in 16 years. This event marked South Korea’s transition from an unbalanced military regime to a democracy. The Seoul Olympics was the fuel Korean citizens needed to finally carry out this difficult transformation. As BBC and Wikipedia stated, there had previously been many pushes for democracy for a lengthy period of time before the event. Instead, the Olympics had simply been the nudge citizens needed to tip the scale towards democracy. For example, in 1979, President Park Chung Hee, a ruthless politician and general, was assassinated. In 1980, the Gwangju Democratization Movement took place, sparked by the attack of local university students by police officers. In 1987, President Chun Doo Hwan, an unelected coup leader, was thrown out of office just before the Olympics. Apart from improving stability, the Games also helped enhance South Korea’s relations with foreign countries. Through the 1988 Summer Olympics, South Korea was introduced to the rest of the world, and became more involved overall with other countries. Previously, Korea had been known as a poor third-world country. However, as Yu-Min Jong wrote in his book Mega-Events and Mega-Ambitions: South Korea??s Rise and the Strategic Use of the Big Four Events, this image was soon transformed into one of a competent and developed country that had achieved the “Miracle on the Han River”. The Miracle on the Han River is a term that refers to the period of sudden economic growth in South Korea after the Korean War, during which South Korea changed from a developing country to a developed country. Due to this, other nations started to develop diplomatic relations with countries such as the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. In 1991, a few years after the Olympics, the South Korea joined the United Nations, and began to have more of an impact on world affairs. The 1988 Olympics has helped enhance South Korea’s overall political stability and diplomatic relations, and still continues to impact current events. Although some people may argue that many cases of human rights abuse  were made due to the Olympics when people were forced out of their homes in the slums, in the long run, this was beneficial as many infrastructures were built in place. According to the article “South Korea Covered up Rapes, Killings of ‘Vagrants’ Ahead of 1988 Olympics” by Tong-Hyun Kim, the South Korean government ordered police and local officers to force people out of the slums and the streets so that these areas could be renovated. Often times, local gansters were recruited to carry out this task, in numerous unmoderated human rights abuse cases against those who were living in the slums, such as beatings and rapes. Though such crimes cannot be justified, it can be said that this eventually resulted in victims having better facilities and houses after the event. In place of the slums, hospitals, modern apartments, and other such facilities were built. According to the article “Seoul Olympics Gave Powerful Impetus to Great Changes in South Korea” by Sejong Daero, 426,000 meters squared were renovated. In addition, the lifespan of an average Korean person increased by 30 years due to the improved hygiene and health standards, as well as the improved standard of life. There were also higher salaries andmore job opportunities after the Olympics due to the growth in the economy, resulting in victims having a better life after the event rather than before. When looking at the beneficial changes this unfortunate event brought about, one can conclude that although the process was flawed and morally incorrect, the result was positive as it improved the living standards of victims.Some events, though at the time may seem insignificant, can positively transform a country and change the course of history. The 1988 Seoul Olympics transformed South Korea by drastically improving the economy and aided the nation to achieve political stability and better diplomatic relations. Had the event not occurred, it is likely that South Korea would not have become the country it is today. Although it can be argued that the Games were the cause of human rights atrocities, ultimately, the Olympics was beneficial to all citizens. It is clear that the 1988 Summer Olympics has brought about an immeasurable number of beneficial changes to Korea. This remarkable event has impacted South Korea enormously, and its lasting effects can still be seen today in the thriving cities of Korea.