On 5 August 2016, the XXXI Olympic Summer Games will start in the Brasilian metropolis of Rio de Janeiro. Luxembourg participates with 10 athletes at the Olympic Games. From 7 to 18 September, the XV Paralympic Games are taking place, with the participation of 2 Luxembourg athletes.
Since the Games in Paris in 1900, 500 athletes from Luxembourg have participated in the Olympic Games.
However, in 1900, the first Luxembourg participant was part of the French delegation! Michel Théato, although born in Luxembourg City in 1878, took the start of the marathon for France, having immigrated there at the age of 12. Thus, at the time of his victory under a blazing sun, he did not yet have the French nationality, a fact that was not discovered until in the late 20th century. However, Luxembourg never claimed the title and thus the first gold medal in athletics remains awarded to France.
It was only in 1912, at the V Summer Olympics, that Luxembourg participated with its own delegation and it ws during the following Games in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium, that a Luxembourg athlete succeeded in winning a medal. By lifting 260kg, weight lifter Joseph 'Jos' Alzin managed to win a silver medal.
It was not until 1952 that another Luxembourg athlete made a notable appearance. At the XV Olympic Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland, Luxembourg runner Jospeh 'Josy' Barthel ran the 1,500m in 3 minutes, 45.1 seconds, making the headlines in the Grand Duchy and beyond. Added to this are 2 silver medals won by skier Marc Girardelli at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France.
Let's not forget that the first editions of the Olympic Games also comprised artistic contests. Thus, painter Jean Jacoby managed to win two gold medals for his works, in 1924 in Paris and in 1928 in Amsterdam. Sculptor Frantz Heldenstein was awarded a silver medal in 1924 in Paris for his opus 'Vers l'Olympiade'.
In 2016, Luxembourg participates in the Olympic Games for the 24th time. The Luxembourg delegation is being supported by the Luxembourg National Olympic Committee (Comité olympique et sportif luxembourgeois, COSL), which is the governance body for privately organised sports in Luxembourg. Founded in 1912, it is recognised by the International Olympic Committee. Placed under the high patronage of HRH Grand Duke Henri, it groups together 61 sports federations, olympic or non-olympic.
(Article written by the editorial team of the portal www.luxembourg.lu/ Source: www.cosl.lu)