Joseph ("Josy") Barthel
(24 April 1927 – 7 July 1992) was a great Luxembourgish athlete
. He was the surprise winner of the Men's 1500 metres
at the 1952 Summer Olympics
, and the only athlete from Luxembourg to have won a gold medal
at the Olympics.Luxembourger Michel Théato
won the marathon
, but the IOC officially credits him as having represented France, despite later research proving his nationality. Besides athletics, Barthel also led successful careers in both chemistry and politics.
Born in Mamer
, Josy Barthel's abilities as a middle-distance runner
was discovered during World War II
. His first fame came by winning the 800 m at the Military World Championships in Berlin
in 1947. The next year at Military World Championships in Brussels
he won both 800 m and 1500 m.
At the 1948 Summer Olympics
, Barthel finished ninth at the 1500 m final. Then he won Student World Championships in 1949 (1500 m) and 1951 (800 m and 1500 m). The absolute high point of Barthel's career was the 1952 Summer Olympics
, where he surprised the crowd and himself by winning the 1500 m with a very strong finish. He also participated at the 1956 Summer Olympics
, after which he retired from running. He was also Luxembourg champion in 800 m and 1500 m from 1946 to 1956.
In 1962 Barthel became the president of the Luxembourg Athletics Federation
, then from 1973 to 1977 he was the president of the Luxembourgish Olympic and Sporting Committee
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