Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo, First Female Olympic Oath Taker, Dies at 88

Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo, the first female athlete to deliver the Olympic oath, in 1956, and the first woman to win a Winter Games medal for Italy four years earlier, has died at the age of 88. The Italian was hailed by her country’s alpine skiing federation as “one of the greatest post-war champions.” Chenal-Minuzzo won downhill bronze in the 1952 Oslo Olympics, going on to claim a second bronze at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games, that time in the giant slalom. FILE – Italian Alpine skier Giuliana Chenal-Minuzzo reads the Olympic oath, on behalf of all the athletes taking part, at the opening ceremony of the seventh Winter Olympic Games, at Cortina, Italy, Jan.26, 1956.At the intervening 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Games, she broke ground by delivering the Olympic oath. First pronounced by Belgian athlete Victor Boin (water polo, swimming and fencing) at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games, the Olympic oath of modern times was similar to that taken by the Olympic athletes of ancient times – but at the modern Olympic Games, the athletes swear on the Olympic flag, not on the entrails of a sacrificed animal. The modern Olympic oath, originally written by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president and founder Pierre de Coubertin, has been modified over time to reflect the changing nature of the sporting competition. The oath taker is from the host nation and takes the oath on behalf of all athletes participating at those Olympic Games. Oaths for officials and coaches were added in 1972 and 2010 respectively. 

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