FC Barcelona's storied history at the Olympic Games

FC Barcelona's storied history at the Olympic Games

The Club's athletes have won a total of 57 medals dating back to the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium

There are many reasons why FC Barcelona's credo is 'més que un club' (more than a club).

And one strand of history that contributes it's aura as a beacon of social and sporting excellence is that its relationship with the Olympic Games.

With this year's Summer Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro about to kick off, it's a great time to take a look back at the links between the Catalan club and the quadrennial competition, at which Barça's athletes have garnered an impressive all-time take of 7 gold, 22 silver, and 28 bronze medals.

The 21 Barça athletes present in Rio bring the Club's all-time representation to 221 entries in 19 different events.

The first came in the 1920 Summer Olympics held in Antwerp, Belgium. Taking place just after the World War I, six Barça athletes took part, including footballers Josep Samitier, Agustí Sancho, Félix Sesúmaga and Ricard Zamora, who returned home with the silver medal.

Barça was also represented in Paris in 1924, in Amsterdam in 1928, and in London in 1948, the first year after World War II prevented the 1940 and 1944 Olympics from being organised.

After Albert Piera and Oriol Ysamat won field hockey medals in Rome in 1960, it wasn't until the Los Angeles Games in 1984 that Barça would bag further Olympic hardware, when the track and field athlete José Manuel Abascal won a bronze and the basketball players Juan De la Cruz, Nacho Solozabal and Juan Antoni San Epifanio won silver. San Epifanio would go on to appear at four Olympic Games— a Club feat equalled only by David Barrufet and Juan Carlos Navarro, who will break that record in Brazil. In addition, San Epifanio will long be remembered for being the final carrier of the Olympic Torch for the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Plenty of Barça at Barcelona '92

The Barcelona Games shined a fitting spotlight on Barça's prominence. Albert Ferrer, Pep Guardiola and Antoni Pinilla won the gold in football at Camp Nou, while the Palau Blaugrana hosted judo and roller hockey, in which Josep Benito and Joan Carles won silver medals.

Barça athletes bagged 7 more medals in Atlanta in 1996, and upped the ante to 13 in Sydney in 2000.

The turn of the century brought even more success to those affiliated with Barça. The Spanish handball team won bronze in Sydney and again in Beijing in 2008, with eight and seven Barça players, respectively. The French handball players Jerome Fernández (Beijing 2008) and Sorhaindo (London 2012) won Olympic gold, as well as the Argentinian football players Javier Saviola (Athens 2004) and Leo Messi (Beijing 2008).

But regardless of which medals are won in Rio de Janeiro, the relationship between two global institutions such as the Olympics and FC Barcelona will never cease to transmit the most positive values of sport.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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