Olympic Birthday Medalists

Many people celebrate their birthday. What better way to celebrate it than to win an Olympic medal on one’s birthday? And this has happened at the Olympics, in fact, 86 athletes have done it 90 times.

Only one athlete has won 3 Olympic medals on his/her birthday and that was French archer Eugène Richez, who won 2 silvers and a bronze in team target archery events at the 1900 Olympics. Those Olympics were so unusual, and the archery events were especially so, so let’s look at the 2 athletes who have won 2 medals on his/her birthday.

The first was Sidney Merlin, a British shooter who won a gold and bronze medal in 2 trap shooting events at the 1906 Olympics and, again, the 1906 Olympics are somewhat controversial.

So that leaves only German equestrian Michael Jung who won 2 gold medals on 31 July 2012 in eventing, the day he turned 30-years-old. Jung is the only Olympian to have won 2 gold medals on his/her birthday – a fact that seemed to escape most of the world’s media in London, including our OlympStats group, to be fair.

How many athletes have won gold medals on their birthday, the ultimate celebration? That has been done 32 times, by 31 Olympians, with Jung winning 2 in 2012. That has been done 6 times at the Winter Olympics, and 26 times at the Summer Games. Seven women have won an Olympic gold medal on their birthday, two at the Winter Olympics – Madeleine Chamot-Berthod (SUI) in downhill skiing at the 1956 Cortina Olympics, and Cathrine Lindahl (SWE) in 2010 curling.

So Lindahl won her gold medal in a team event. How often have Olympians won medals or gold medals in individual events, probably the uber-ultimate birthday present? That has been done 29 times, by 28 athletes, with Merlin winning two in 1906 on his 26 April birthday.

Winning an individual gold medal on your birthday is fairly rare, done only 13 times by 13 Olympians. The only woman to have done it is Chamot-Berthod at the 1956 Winter Olympics – no woman has done it at the Summer Olympics. Only 4 Winter Olympians have pulled this off while it has been done 9 times at the Summer Olympics.

The youngest birthday medalist was Mariya Filatova, actually a gold medalist in the 1976 gymnastics team all-around, on her 15th birthday. The oldest was Richez, who was 56-years-old when he won his 3 medals in 1900 archery on 5 August. Again, discounting him, the next oldest was Merlin in 1906, who was 50-years-old, so we’ll look further, and find that William Dod was 41-years-old in 1908 when he won a gold medal on his birthday (18 July) in Double York Round archery. The oldest female to pull this off was Lindahl in curling, who was 40-years-old on 26 February 2010. The youngest man was Jamaican Greg Meghoo, a silver medalist in the 4×100 relay, when he turned 19 on 11 August 1984.

Not easy to do and if you want to do this, in addition to being a great athlete, you better hope to have been born in February, July, or August anymore.

Here is the complete list of the 90 birthday medals:

 

  • Sidney Merlin (M / GBR / Summer) (1906 Shooting; Trap, Double Shot, 14 metres) (Gold / Individual) (*26 April 1856; 50-years-old)
  • William Dod (M / GBR / Summer) (1908 Archery; Double York Round) (Gold / Individual) (*18 July 1867; 41-years-old)
  • Henri Anspach (M / BEL / Summer) (1912 Fencing; Épée, Team) (Gold / Team) (*10 July 1882; 30-years-old)
  • Erik Herseth (M / NOR / Summer) (1920 Sailing; 10 metres, 1907 Rating) (Gold / Team) (*9 July 1892; 28-years-old)
  • Charles Bugbee (M / GBR / Summer) (1920 Water Polo) (Gold / Team) (*29 August 1887; 33-years-old)
  • István Barta (M / HUN / Summer) (1932 Water Polo) (Gold / Team) (*13 August 1895; 37-years-old)
  • Dieter Arend (M / GER / Summer) (1936 Rowing; Coxed Pairs) (Gold / Team) (*14 August 1914; 22-years-old)
  • Miklós Sárkány (M / HUN / Summer) (1936 Water Polo) (Gold / Team) (*15 August 1908; 28-years-old)
  • Sammy Lee (M / USA / Summer) (1952 Diving; Platform) (Gold / Individual) (*1 August 1920; 32-years-old)
  • Madeleine Chamot-Berthod (F / SUI / Winter) (1956 Alpine Skiing; Downhill) (Gold / Individual) (*1 February 1931; 25-years-old)
  • Viktor Kosichkin (M / URS / Winter) (1960 Speedskating; 5,000 metres) (Gold / Individual) (*25 February 1938; 22-years-old)
  • Vladimir Shmelyov (M / URS / Summer) (1972 Modern Pentathlon; Team) (Gold / Team) (*31 August 1946; 26-years-old)
  • Jan Egil Storholt (M / NOR / Winter) (1976 Speedskating; 1,500 metres) (Gold / Individual) (*13 February 1949; 27-years-old)
  • Mariya Filatova (F / URS / Summer) (1976 Gymnastics; Team All-Around) (Gold / Team) (*19 July 1961; 15-years-old)
  • Yelena Novikova-Belova (F / URS / Summer) (1976 Fencing; Foil, Team) (Gold / Team) (*28 July 1947; 29-years-old)
  • Vakht’ang Blagidze (M / URS / Summer) (1980 Wrestling; Flyweight, Greco-Roman (≤52 kg)) (Gold / Individual) (*23 July 1954; 26-years-old)
  • Pascal Jolyot (M / FRA / Summer) (1980 Fencing; Foil, Team) (Gold / Team) (*26 July 1958; 22-years-old)
  • Angel Herrera (M / CUB / Summer) (1980 Boxing; Lightweight (≤60 kg)) (Gold / Individual) (*2 August 1957; 23-years-old)
  • Chris Jacobs (M / USA / Summer) (1988 Swimming; 4 x 100 metres Medley Relay) (Gold / Team) (*25 September 1964; 24-years-old)
  • Nazim Hüseynov (M / EUN / Summer) (1992 Judo; Extra-Lightweight (≤60 kg)) (Gold / Individual) (*2 August 1969; 23-years-old)
  • Ana Ivis Fernández (F / CUB / Summer) (1996 Volleyball) (Gold / Team) (*3 August 1973; 23-years-old)
  • Jon Rauch (M / USA / Summer) (2000 Baseball) (Gold / Team) (*27 September 1978; 22-years-old)
  • Guillermo Rigondeaux (M / CUB / Summer) (2000 Boxing; Bantamweight (≤54 kg)) (Gold / Individual) (*30 September 1980; 20-years-old)
  • Ruth Riley (F / USA / Summer) (2004 Basketball) (Gold / Team) (*28 August 1979; 25-years-old)
  • Per-Johan Axelsson (M / SWE / Winter) (2006 Ice Hockey) (Gold / Team) (*26 February 1975; 31-years-old)
  • Mari (F / BRA / Summer) (2008 Volleyball) (Gold / Team) (*23 August 1983; 25-years-old)
  • Michael Redd (M / USA / Summer) (2008 Basketball) (Gold / Team) (*24 August 1979; 29-years-old)
  • Mo Tae-Beom (M / KOR / Winter) (2010 Speedskating; 500 metres) (Gold / Individual) (*15 February 1989; 21-years-old)
  • Cathrine Lindahl (F / SWE / Winter) (2010 Curling) (Gold / Team) (*26 February 1970; 40-years-old)
  • Michael Jung (M / GER / Summer) (2012 Equestrian Events; 3-Day Event, Individual) (Gold / Individual) (*31 July 1982; 30-years-old)
  • Michael Jung (M / GER / Summer) (2012 Equestrian Events; 3-Day Event, Team) (Gold / Team) (*31 July 1982; 30-years-old)
  • Daniele Molmenti (M / ITA / Summer) (2012 Canoeing; Kayak Singles, Slalom) (Gold / Individual) (*1 August 1984; 28-years-old)

 

  • John Svanberg (M / SWE / Summer) (1906 Athletics; Marathon) (Silver / Individual) (*1 May 1881; 25-years-old)
  • Nils Thomas (M / NOR / Summer) (1920 Sailing; 8 metres, 1919 Rating) (Silver / Team) (*9 July 1889; 31-years-old)
  • Eugène Richez (M / FRA / Summer) (1920 Archery; Target Archery, 33 metres, Team) (Silver / Team) (*5 August 1864; 56-years-old)
  • Eugène Richez (M / FRA / Summer) (1920 Archery; Target Archery, 50 metres, Team) (Silver / Team) (*5 August 1864; 56-years-old)
  • John Garrison (M / USA / Winter) (1932 Ice Hockey) (Silver / Team) (*13 February 1909; 23-years-old)
  • Dante Secchi (M / ITA / Summer) (1936 Rowing; Coxed Eights) (Silver / Team) (*14 August 1910; 26-years-old)
  • Eugenio Monti (M / ITA / Winter) (1956 Bobsledding; Two) (Silver / Team) (*28 January 1928; 28-years-old)
  • Teresa Ciepły-Wieczorek (F / POL / Summer) (1964 Athletics; 80 metres Hurdles) (Silver / Individual) (*19 October 1937; 27-years-old)
  • Manfred Schumann (M / FRG / Winter) (1976 Bobsledding; Two) (Silver / Team) (*7 February 1951; 25-years-old)
  • Daniel Morelon (M / FRA / Summer) (1976 Cycling; Sprint) (Silver / Individual) (*24 July 1944; 32-years-old)
  • Dave Ottley (M / GBR / Summer) (1984 Athletics; Javelin Throw) (Silver / Individual) (*5 August 1955; 29-years-old)
  • Jeong Sun-Bok (F / KOR / Summer) (1984 Handball) (Silver / Team) (*9 August 1960; 24-years-old)
  • Greg Meghoo (M / JAM / Summer) (1984 Athletics; 4 x 100 metres Relay) (Silver / Team) (*11 August 1965; 19-years-old)
  • Mark Phillips (M / GBR / Summer) (1988 Equestrian Events; 3-Day Event, Team) (Silver / Team) (*22 September 1948; 40-years-old)
  • Andreas Keller (M / FRG / Summer) (1988 Hockey) (Silver / Team) (*1 October 1965; 23-years-old)
  • Nataliya Shikolenko (F / EUN / Summer) (1992 Athletics; Javelin Throw) (Silver / Individual) (*1 August 1964; 28-years-old)
  • Sergey Tarasov (M / RUS / Winter) (1994 Biathlon; 4 x 7.5 kilometres Relay) (Silver / Team) (*15 February 1965; 29-years-old)
  • Tommy Moe (M / USA / Winter) (1994 Alpine Skiing; Super G) (Silver / Individual) (*17 February 1970; 24-years-old)
  • Peter Leone (M / USA / Summer) (1996 Equestrian Events; Jumping, Team) (Silver / Team) (*1 August 1960; 36-years-old)
  • Paolo Tofoli (M / ITA / Summer) (1996 Volleyball) (Silver / Team) (*4 August 1966; 30-years-old)
  • George Karrys (M / CAN / Winter) (1998 Curling) (Silver / Team) (*15 February 1967; 31-years-old)
  • Yelena Zamolodchikova (F / RUS / Summer) (2000 Gymnastics; Team All-Around) (Silver / Team) (*19 September 1982; 18-years-old)
  • Gillian Lindsay (F / GBR / Summer) (2000 Rowing; Quadruple Sculls) (Silver / Team) (*24 September 1973; 27-years-old)
  • Miguel Caldés (M / CUB / Summer) (2000 Baseball) (Silver / Team) (*27 September 1970; 30-years-old)
  • Kateřina Neumannová (F / CZE / Winter) (2002 Cross-Country Skiing; 5/5 kilometres Pursuit) (Silver / Individual) (*15 February 1973; 29-years-old)
  • Irina Lobacheva (F / RUS / Winter) (2002 Figure Skating; Ice Dancing) (Silver / Team) (*18 February 1973; 29-years-old)
  • Brendan Hansen (M / USA / Summer) (2004 Swimming; 100 metres Breaststroke) (Silver / Individual) (*15 August 1981; 23-years-old)
  • Jens Arne Svartedal (M / NOR / Winter) (2006 Cross-Country Skiing; Team Sprint) (Silver / Team) (*14 February 1976; 30-years-old)
  • Park Gyeong-Mo (M / KOR / Summer) (2008 Archery; Individual) (Silver / Individual) (*15 August 1975; 33-years-old)
  • Rohanee Cox (F / AUS / Summer) (2008 Basketball) (Silver / Team) (*23 August 1980; 28-years-old)
  • Marianne St-Gelais (F / CAN / Winter) (2010 Short-Track Speedskating; 500 metres) (Silver / Individual) (*17 February 1990; 20-years-old)
  • Paola Espinosa (F / MEX / Summer) (2012 Diving; Synchronized Platform) (Silver / Team) (*31 July 1986; 26-years-old)
  • Lucha Aymar (F / ARG / Summer) (2012 Hockey) (Silver / Team) (*10 August 1977; 35-years-old)

 

  • Sidney Merlin (M / GBR / Summer) (1906 Shooting; Trap, Single Shot, 16 metres) (Bronze / Individual) (*26 April 1856; 50-years-old)
  • Charles Vigurs (M / GBR / Summer) (1912 Gymnastics; Team All-Around, European System) (Bronze / Team) (*11 July 1888; 24-years-old)
  • Eugène Richez (M / FRA / Summer) (1920 Archery; Target Archery, 28 metres, Team) (Bronze / Team) (*5 August 1864; 56-years-old)
  • Freddie McEvoy (M / GBR / Winter) (1936 Bobsledding; Four) (Bronze / Team) (*12 February 1907; 29-years-old)
  • Göpf Kottmann (M / SUI / Summer) (1964 Rowing; Single Sculls) (Bronze / Individual) (*15 October 1932; 32-years-old)
  • Viktor Borshch (M / URS / Summer) (1972 Volleyball) (Bronze / Team) (*9 September 1948; 24-years-old)
  • Silvia Chivás (F / CUB / Summer) (1972 Athletics; 4 x 100 metres Relay) (Bronze / Team) (*10 September 1954; 18-years-old)
  • Henry Glaß (M / GDR / Winter) (1976 Ski Jumping; Large Hill, Individual) (Bronze / Individual) (*15 February 1953; 23-years-old)
  • Valery Dolinin (M / URS / Summer) (1976 Rowing; Coxless Fours) (Bronze / Team) (*25 July 1953; 23-years-old)
  • Pertti Teurajärvi (M / FIN / Winter) (1980 Cross-Country Skiing; 4 x 10 kilometres Relay) (Bronze / Team) (*20 February 1951; 29-years-old)
  • László Kuncz (M / HUN / Summer) (1980 Water Polo) (Bronze / Team) (*29 July 1957; 23-years-old)
  • Tsutomu Sakamoto (M / JPN / Summer) (1984 Cycling; Sprint) (Bronze / Individual) (*3 August 1962; 22-years-old)
  • Mark Kerry (M / AUS / Summer) (1984 Swimming; 4 x 100 metres Medley Relay) (Bronze / Team) (*4 August 1959; 25-years-old)
  • Tomislav Ivković (M / YUG / Summer) (1984 Football) (Bronze / Team) (*11 August 1960; 24-years-old)
  • Seth Bauer (M / USA / Summer) (1988 Rowing; Coxed Eights) (Bronze / Team) (*25 September 1959; 29-years-old)
  • Yevgeny Grishin (M / URS / Summer) (1988 Water Polo) (Bronze / Team) (*1 October 1959; 29-years-old)
  • Chris Johnson (M / CAN / Summer) (1992 Boxing; Middleweight (≤75 kg)) (Bronze / Individual) (*8 August 1971; 21-years-old)
  • Park Hae-Jeong (F / KOR / Summer) (1996 Table Tennis; Doubles) (Bronze / Team) (*29 July 1972; 24-years-old)
  • Matteo Bisiani (M / ITA / Summer) (1996 Archery; Team) (Bronze / Team) (*2 August 1976; 20-years-old)
  • \N Leila (F / BRA / Summer) (2000 Volleyball) (Bronze / Team) (*30 September 1971; 29-years-old)
  • Aleksey Kovalyov (M / RUS / Winter) (2002 Ice Hockey) (Bronze / Team) (*24 February 1973; 29-years-old)
  • Helen Tanger (F / NED / Summer) (2004 Rowing; Coxed Eights) (Bronze / Team) (*22 August 1978; 26-years-old)
  • Norman Bröckl (M / GER / Summer) (2008 Canoeing; Kayak Fours, 1,000 metres) (Bronze / Team) (*22 August 1986; 22-years-old)
  • Luke Doerner (M / AUS / Summer) (2008 Hockey) (Bronze / Team) (*23 August 1979; 29-years-old)
  • Felipe Kitadai (M / BRA / Summer) (2012 Judo; Extra-Lightweight (≤60 kg)) (Bronze / Individual) (*28 July 1989; 23-years-old)

With thanx to David Clark, an Australian frequent reader of OlympStats, for suggesting this post.

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