Josef Petersen

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJosef•Petersen
Used nameJosef•Petersen
Born16 September 1881 in Næstved, Sjælland (DEN)
Died22 November 1973 in København (Copenhagen), Hovedstaden (DEN)
NOC Denmark
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 3
Bronze 0
Total 3


Josef Petersen is the only Olympic Games art competitor who won a medal at three Olympic Games. He won the silver medals for his works Euryale (1924), The Argonauts (1932), and The Olympic Champion (1948). He was a Danish writer who often used antique or medieval motifs between 1910 and 1949. He was the son of a vicar and a maternal grandson of the Norwegian poet Johann Sebastian Welhaven. In his lifetime Petersen was better known for his work as a journalist and foreign correspondent. He also tried his hand at painting. Although he has never been fully recognized by Danish literary critics, his work was respected by contemporary historians for its knowledge of and identification with Antique cultures. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he won his Olympic Medals using antique Greek athlete motifs. He was always interested in sports and athletics and took part in the last Danish duel in 1913.

Euryale is a prose text about the mythical origins of Olympia. In Greek mythology, the figure is one of the three Gorgons, sister of Medusa and Stheno. The book was published in 1928, the year of the Olympics. His work submitted in 1932 was modeled on the Argonauts’ myth, which he retold in a literarily edited form. In the same year the work was released as a book. The title hero of The Olympiske Mester, published in 1948, was Euthymos of Lokroi, a town in southern Italy, who won the boxing contest three times at the Ancient Olympics: 484, 476 and 472 BC.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1924 Summer Olympics Art Competitions DEN Josef Petersen
Literature, Open (Olympic) =2 Silver
1932 Summer Olympics Art Competitions DEN Josef Petersen
Literature, Open (Olympic) 2 Silver
1948 Summer Olympics Art Competitions DEN Josef Petersen
Literature, Epic Works, Open (Olympic) 2 Silver