QCOSTARICA – On July 23, when Andrey Amador gets on his bicycle, Costa Rica will make official a new participation in the Olympic Games, a series of consecutive presentations that also started in the city of Tokyo.
Between the 1964 Olympics and the current one, Costa Ricans have never ceased to be part of the Olympic party.
The first time Costa Rica competed in the Olympics was in Berlin in 1936 when fencer Bernardo de la Guardia competed in the individual sabre event under the eye of the Third Reich.
It would not be until 1964 when the Costa Rican flag would fly again, with two “judocas” (judo martial artists) in competition.
Four years later in Mexico, for the first time, there were several sports represented, including boxing, cycling, athletics, and weightlifting.
The Olympic contingents continued to be made up of several representatives and even participated in two controversial competitions, in Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984, the first boycotted by the United States and the second by Russia, in years when the Cold War froze even sports.
In Russia, one of the few successful pages of our participation is written, with the swimmer María del Milagro Paris qualifying for the final of the 100 free meters.
She was the first Costa Rican athlete to reach a world final, occupying fifth place in the 1975 World Swimming Championships and the first Costa Rican male or female athlete to reach an Olympic final, taking eighth place at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
In 1984 was the achievement of by defeating Italy in soccer with a goal by Enrique Rivers, one of the most famous Costa Rican fútbol (soccer) players during the 1980s.
At the 1986 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, swimmer Sylvia Poll (born in Nicaragua) won Costa Rica’s first Olympic medal, when she garnered the silver in the women’s 200-meter freestyle. As of 2009, she and her younger sister Claudia are Costa Rica’s only Olympic medalists. Sylvia also swam for Costa Rica at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Boxer Humberto Aranda also stands out, who in the second round was judged by judges who unfairly gave victory to his opponent. He competed in the men’s welterweight event at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
In Atlanta 1996, Claudia Poll beat the favorites in the 200-meter freestyle, the Germans Franziska van Almsick and Dagmar Hase, to win the only Olympic gold. Claudia is Costa Rica’s only Olympic gold-medalist.
Claudia also competed at the 2000 Olympics, Sydney, Australia, where she won two bronze medals.
As of 2021, Claudia and Silvia are the only Costa Ricans to have won a medal at an Olympics.
For the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, which were due to be held from July 31 to August 9, 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the games have been postponed to 2021, Costa Rica is represented by 13 athletes, the majority (70%) are women.
- Ignacio Sancho
- Beatriz Padrón
- Leilani McGonagle
- Brisa Hennessy
- Luciana Alvarado
- María José Vargas
- Andrey Amador
- Arnoldo Herrera
- Noelia Vargas
- Andrea Carolina Vargas
- Gerald Drummond
- Kenneth Tencio
- Neshy Lee Lindo
Neshy Lee Lindo was called up last minute and was able to travel to Tokyo Wednesday night (July 21) to fulfill her dream of being in the Olympics, after the unfortunate news for the Chilean delegation, who will not be able to have their Taekwondo representative due to health issues, after testing positive for covid 19, opened the door to Costa Rica’s Neshy Lee Lindo.
Mor information on Costa Rica’s Tokyo Olympcis participation can be found at the Comité Olímpico Nacional de Costa Rica (CON) website.