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Michel Théato

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
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 France
Nationality Luxembourg

Biography

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, Club Amical et Sportif de Saint-Mandé, it had always been assumed that Théato was French. Athletics historian Alain Bouillé, however, discovered that he was born in Luxembourg. Although Théato moved to Paris and lived there until his death in 1923, there is no record that he ever 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, but later in life, he worked as a longshoreman.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-42:44 (1901).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1900 Summer Olympics Athletics FRA LUX Michel Théato
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Errata

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.