The Romanian athlete Lia Manoliu was a leading figure of the past century’s international sports. A top athlete in the discus throw track and field event, she participated in no less than 6 editions of the Olympic Games, starting with the 1952 Helsinki Games and ending with the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
Lia Manoliu was born on April 25, 1932 in Chişinău, the present capital of the Republic of Moldova. In 1949, at only 17, she managed to break the national record in the discus throw event. She was the top Romanian athlete in the discus throw event until 1971.
She became famous in international competitions only in 1960, when she got the bronze medal at the Rome Olympic Games. Lia Manoliu repeated the performance at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games when, during the competition, she managed to break the Olympic record. She managed to break the Olympic record again in 1968, in Ciudad de Mexico, when she won the gold medal.
After withdrawing from competition in 1973 Lia Manoliu was a member of the boards of several Romanian and international sports bodies. Between 1973 and 1990 she was the vice-president of the Romanian Olympic Committee and of the National Council for Physical Education and Sports, which is currently the Youth and Sports Ministry.
In 1990 Lia Manoliu was elected president of the Romanian Olympic Committee. She was at the helm of this body in a difficult period for Romanian sports, given the dismantling of the Communist structures and the advent of the free market rules in the world of sports. She managed to successfully deal with all the challenges of the moment and to maintain the Romanian Olympic movement at the top of world rankings.
The International Olympic Committee granted her several insignias along her entire career among which the Olympic Order of Merit in 1975 and the Women and Sports Award in 1990. Lia Manoliu passed away on January 9, 1998. (translation by L. Simion)