Josy Barthel

Joseph ("Josy") Barthel (24 April 1927 7 July 1992) was a Luxembourgish athlete. He was the surprise winner of the Men's 1500 metres at the 1952 Summer Olympics, and the only athlete representing Luxembourg to have won a gold medal at the Olympics.[1] Besides athletics, Barthel also led successful careers in both chemistry and politics.

Josy Barthel
Personal information
Born(1927-04-24)24 April 1927
Mamer, Luxembourg
Died7 July 1992(1992-07-07) (aged 65)
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg


Born in Mamer, Josy Barthel's abilities as a middle-distance runner was discovered during World War II. His first fame came by winning the 800 m at the Military World Championships in Berlin in 1947. The next year at Military World Championships in Brussels he won both 800 m and 1500 m.

At the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Barthel finished ninth at the 1500 m final. Then he won Student World Championships in 1949 (1500 m) and 1951 (800 m and 1500 m). The absolute high point of Barthel's career was the 1952 Summer Olympics, where he surprised the crowd and himself by winning the 1500 m with a very strong finish. He also participated at the 1956 Summer Olympics, after which he retired from running. He was also Luxembourg champion in 800 m and 1500 m from 1946 to 1956.

In 1962 Barthel became the president of the Luxembourg Athletics Federation, then from 1973 to 1977 he was the president of the Luxembourgish Olympic and Sporting Committee. He was also member of the Luxembourg government from 1977 to 1984.

Josy Barthel died in Luxembourg City after a severe illness.

The national stadium of Luxembourg, home to the Luxembourg national football team, was named Stade Josy Barthel in his honor. The Lycée Technique Josy Barthel in Mamer also bears his name.

In 2006, Barthel was accused of doping by sports journalist Erik Eggers in the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.[2] Eggers cited German physician Oskar Wegener who did research on methamphetamine and other doping substances in the 1950s. Wegener strongly denied saying Barthel had any connection with doping.[3] The use of such substances was neither prohibited nor controlled until the 1960s.[4]


  1. Luxembourger Michel Théato won the marathon in 1900, but the IOC officially credits him as having represented France, despite later research proving his nationality.
  2. Erik Eggers (2006-11-26). "Mit der Kraft der Panzerschokolade". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  3. "Enkelin verteidigt Barthel gegen Vorwürfe" (in German). Luxemburger Wort. 2006-11-29. Archived from the original on January 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  4. "("Es gibt keinen Dopingfall Barthel"" (in German). Luxemburger Wort. 2006-11-28. Archived from the original on September 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
Political offices
Preceded by
Marcel Mart
Minister for Energy
1977 – 1984
Succeeded by
Marcel Schlechter
Minister for Transport
1977 – 1984
Preceded by
Émile Krieps
Minister for the Environment
1977 – 1984
Succeeded by
Robert Krieps
Sporting positions
Preceded by
François Mersch
President of the FLA
1962 – 1972
Succeeded by
Norbert Haupert
Preceded by
Prosper Link
President of the COSL
1973 – 1977
Succeeded by
Gérard Rasquin
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