Olympic Baby Names: Gold medal winners of the past

Olympic Baby Names: Gold medal winners of the past

Nameberry’s Olympic baby names coverage continues, this time with a look back to Games of the past.  We perused the records going back to 1896, in search of the most unusual and interesting of past Gold Medalists’ names.

With such a wide-ranging international roster, we were able to mine some pretty exotic (in our culture, anyway) nuggets. Girls

Annegret Richter—West Germany, track and field, 1972

Antonella Bellutti—Italy, racing cyclist, 1996

Beezie Madden (born Elizabeth)–US, equestrian show jumping team, 2008

Clover Maitland– Australia, field hockey, 1996 and 2000

Ellina Zvereva– Belarus, discus throwing, 2000

Faustine Merret—France, windsurfing, 2004

Fernanda Ribeiro—Portugal, 10,000 meter race (established a new record), 1996

Fleur Mellor—Australia, track and field, 1956

Janica Kostelic–Croatia, Alpine skiing, 2002

Jearl Miles–US, track and field, 1996 and 2000

Liliya Nuritdinova–Unified Team, track and field, 1992

Margitta Gummel—East Germany, shot put, 1968

Maritza Martén —Cuba, discus throwing, 1992

Mildrette Netter–US, track and field, 1968

Oksana Baiul—Ukraine, figure skating, 1994 (at age 16)

Ondina VallaItaly, track and field, 1936

Petra Felke–East Germany, javelin throw, 1988

Picabo Street–US, ski racing, 1998

Rhi (Rhiannon) Jeffrey—US, swimming, 2004

Sanya Richards–US, track and field, 2004 and 2008

Savatheda Fynos—Bahamas, track and field, 2000

Séverine Vandenhende—France, judo, 2000

Sonja Henie–ice  skating, Norway, 1928, 1932, 1936—became a movie star

Susi Susanti (born Lucia)—Indonesia, badminton, 1992

Tenley Albright—US, figure skating, 1956

Torah Bright—Australia, snowboarding, 2010

Viorica Viscopoleanu– Roumania, long jump, 1968

Wyomia TyusUS—track and field, 1968

Xenia Stad-de-Jong—Netherlands, track and field, 1948


Apolo Anton Ohno—US, speed skating, 2002 and 2006

Bevil Rudd—South Africa, track and field, 1920

Bode Miller (born Samuel Bode)—US, ski racing, 2010

Bruny Sorin—Canada, track and field, 1996 Cael Sanderson—US, wrestling, 2004

Commodore Cochran—US, track and field, 1924

Daley Johnson—(born Francis), UK, decathlon, 1980, 1984

Danyon Loader—New Zealand, swimming, 1996

Delfo Cabrera—Argentina, marathon racer, 1948

Duke Kahanamoku–Hawaii, swimming, 1912, 1920 (he was  named not for Hawaiian royalty, but after his father who had been christened “Duke” following the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to Hawaii in 1869).

Eero Lehtonen—Finland, pentathlon, 1920 and 1924

Foy Draper—US, track and field, 1936

Gaston Reiff—Belgium, track and field, 1948

Gillis Grafström—Sweden, figure skating, 1920, 1924, 1928

Guinn Smith (born Owen Guinn)—US, pole vault, 1948

Harri Larva (born Harry)—Finland, track and field, 1928

Ilia Kulik–Russia figure skating, 1998

Ilmari Salminen—Finland, track and field, 1936

Ingo Weissenborn—Germany, fencing, 1992

Ivano Brugnetti—Italy, race walking, 2004

Jaak Uudmae—Estonia, long jump, 1980

Jacobus “JimThorpe–US–decathlon, 1912

Jasey-Jay AndersonCanada, snowboarding, 2010

Josy Barthel (born Joseph)—Luxembourg, track and field, 1952

Kiko Sanchez (born Francis)—Spain, sailing, 1992

Livio Berruti—Italy, track and field, 1960

Lones Wigger–US, shooting, 1965

Maurizio Damiliano—Italy, race walking, 1980

Mikio Oda—Japan, triple jump, 1928

Million Wolde—Ethiopia, track and field, 2000

Ollan Cassell—US, track and field, 1964

Paavo Nuirmi—Finland, track and field, 1920, 1924, 1928

Parry O’Brien—US, shot put, 1952, 1956

Rafer Johnson—US, decathlon, 1960

Sabin Carr—US, pole vault, 1927

Spyridon Louis—Greek, marathon, 1896 (first modern day Olympic marathon)

Tamio Kono–US, weight lifting, 1952, 1956

Thane Baker (born Walter Thane)–US, track and field, 1956

Usain Bolt–Jamaica, track and field, 2008

Xeno Müller—Swiss, rowing, 1996

Any names here that were unfamiliar to you but that you might consider?  Any others that you’d like to add to the list?–remember Gold Medalists only.

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.