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Michel Théato

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMichel Johann•Théato
Used nameMichel•Théato
Other namesMichel Theato
Born22 March 1878 in Luxembourg (LUX)
Died2 April 1923 in Paris, Paris (FRA)
AffiliationsClub Amical et Sportif de Saint-Mandé
NOC(s) Luxembourg


For a long time, Josy Barthel was considered Luxembourg’s first Olympic Champion, but 52 years before his title, Michel Théato won the Olympic marathon. As he represented a French club, it had always been assumed he was French. However, Luxembourgish sport historians discovered that he was born in Luxembourg. Although he moved to Paris and lived there until his death in 1923, he never filed for French citizenship. Théato is often listed as a baker’s delivery boy, who knew his way through the streets of Paris and took a short cut to the Olympic gold. No proof of this exists, and Théato was in fact a carpenter.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-42:44 (1901).


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1900 Summer Olympics Athletics Marathon, Men Olympic 1 Gold Representing Luxembourg    


Year of death also seen as 1919. Both forms of his surname (Théato/Theato) regularly appear on official documents and newspapers. It is impossible to say with certainty which is correct.