Spain's first Olympic champions were pelota players Jose de AMEZOLA Y AZPIZUA and Francisco VILLOTA at the Paris 1900 Olympic Games. Their participation came 12 years before the foundation of the National Olympic Committee.
Spain won the team showjumping at the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games but that was their last gold in the Olympic Games until a victory in sailing at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games (although Francisco FERNANDEZ OCHOA did win gold in men's slalom at the Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympic Games.
Alejandro ABASCAL and Miguel NOQUER won gold in the flying Dutchman class. It proved a golden period for Spanish sailing. Luis DORESTE BLANCO won the first of two gold medals at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games with Robert MOLINA. He added a second gold at the Barcelona 1992 Games with Domingo MANRIQUE. His brother Jose Luis DORESTE also won gold at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games in the finn class.
At the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, the Spanish team of 422 was their largest in history and enjoyed their most successful Games. Highlights included Fermin CACHO's victory in the men's 1500m, his country's first gold medal in track and field.
There were gold medals for the women's hockey team and also the men's football team, which included Pep GUARDIOLA, who received his medal in the Nou Camp stadium where he played his club football for Barcelona.
The Olympic flame was lit by an archer in 1992 so it was perhaps appropriate that Spain should win the team gold medal in archery.
The Barcelona 1992 Games were the starting point for Spanish success in women's judo. Miriam Soto BLASCO won gold in the half middleweight and Almandena Munoz MARTINEZ took the lightweight title.
Isabel HERNANDEZ collected bronze in Atlanta in 1996 at the same weight before sealing gold at Sydney 2000.
Spain have regularly claimed medals in sailing and canoeing, and at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, they took team golds in water polo and in the inaugural team competition in rhythmic gymnastics.
Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel INDURAIN won the individual time trial at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Gervasio DEFERR is Spain's most successful gymnast. He took gold in the vault at the Sydney 2000 Games and defended his title at Athens 2004.
Canoeist David CAL won gold in the 1000 Canadian singles in Athens and has also collected three silver medals. Rafael NADAL won the men's singles title at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the same year he won the French Open and Wimbledon, a feat unprecedented in the open era.
The late Juan Antonio SAMARANCH was president of the International Olympic Committee from 1980–2001. His home city of Barcelona staged the Olympic Games in 1992.
King Juan Carlos, a sailing competitor at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games declared open the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games at which his son, Crown Prince Felipe, was also a participant. His daughter, Princess Cristina, competed in equestrian at the Seoul 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.