Costa Rica officially entered the Olympic stage for the first time in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, with the participation of the Costa Rican Bernardo de la Guardia, in saber category of the fencing discipline.
However, it is not until the Olympic Games in Tokyo 1964 that the country has participated continuously in the summer Olympics. To date, Costa Rica has won four Olympic medals, one gold, one silver, and two bronze, all in the discipline of women’s swimming competition.
The first Olympic medal that the nation conquered was at the hands of Sylvia Poll at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, just 3 days before her 18th birthday. This achievement was obtained in the 200 m freestyle swimming category. “In sports it doesn’t matter if a person belongs to a specific religion or if your parents are rich or poor, that is, sports democratizes a lot and the stopwatch cannot know if it is a person from one place or another, just the one who trained better, the one who had the best strategy, the best training plan,” said Sylvia Poll at that time.
On the other hand, her sister Claudia Poll was the first Costa Rican athlete to win a gold medal in its history, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, in the same event her sister had competed eight years earlier, and to this day continues to be the only Costa Rican athlete to conquer an Olympic gold medal. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, this same athlete won two bronze medals in the 200m and 400m freestyle events. In summary, the Poll family so far is responsible for obtaining the Olympic medals that Costa Rica has.
It is important to highlight that apart from these medals, other Costa Rican athletes have had outstanding participation. Such is the case of Andrés Brenes, who placed sixth in the mountain biking modality at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Also, the Costa Rican athlete María Del Milagro Paris obtained the seventh place in the 100 m butterfly in the swimming discipline at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. These have been the best performances of Costa Rican athletes over time in all editions of the Olympic Games.
So far Costa Rica has participated with a total of 185 athletes since it began to be present in the Olympic Games, in the disciplines of Track and field, Boxing, Cycling, Diving, Fencing, Soccer, Weightlifting, Judo, Swimming, Canoeing, Taekwondo, Tennis, Shooting, Archery, and Triathlon. Being the Moscow Olympics in 1980 that had the greatest number of Ticos, a total of 29 athletes.
It is expected that for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 games, our athletes can obtain various medals and give that joy to the nation. While it is true that there is less than a year remaining, Costa Rican athletes continue to train hard for this the top sporting event of all. The Tica Andrea Vargas already has her ticket to Tokyo guaranteed, in the discipline of track and field in the 100-meter hurdles.
The president of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Costa Rica, Henry Núñez, expressed the interest of the organization in fully supporting our athletes, “As we have been doing in the last four years, the idea is to exceed in the number of athletes classified for the event. For London 2012 we achieved eight athletes, for Rio 2016 we achieved twelve classified and now we expect to reach about 15 for Tokyo 2020 ”, the President of the NOC affirmed.
It is important to mention that the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado in a ceremony recently held with the athletes who participated in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima said: “We have a country that being small has proven to be very capable in sports”. Also, he announced that the government will invest 1 million colonies to ensure the participation of Costa Rica in the XXXII Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.