9 Olympic Baby Names From History

Name fashions come and go, and you can be sure that athletes making the headlines today will have children named after them soon. On the other hand, if you were inspired by the Rio Olympics but are looking for something a little more timeless, one of these Olympic baby names from history might be the right choice for you.

Plenty of people will end up with common names basically by definition (that's just what "common" means, after all), and there's nothing wrong with that. But I've always liked names with a certain classic appeal, as opposed to flavor-of-the-week names. You could do a lot worse than naming your baby after one of the Olympic greats of the past. It will make a good story to explain to your child later, and then you'll probably avoid the problem of there being multiple children with the same name in their classes.

Unless your parent gives you the weirdest possible name, you're going to be sharing it with somebody, so why not make that somebody accomplished? The connection to an historical Olympian might not be immediately obvious to people who hear your kid's name, but it will become a special piece of family knowledge for you and the kid to take pleasure in.

1. Nadia

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Legendary Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci earned the first perfect 10 at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal (she was just 14 years old at the time). Sophisticated-sounding "Nadia," meaning "hope," peaked in popularity predictably around that time but has remained more popular than pre-Comaneci ever since.

2. Frank

In 1904, Frank Kugler became the first athlete to medal in three different sports at the same games (wrestling, weightlifting, and tug of war). Give your baby this classic name in the hopes that he or she will grow up to be similarly versatile.

3. Jackie

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Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee is one of the greats, having competed at four Olympics in the 1980's and 1990's in long jump, hurdles, and the heptathlon. The name "Jackie" was at its peak popularity around the time Joyner-Kersee was born, but it's fallen off since then.

4. Daley

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Daley Thompson, a Nigerian and Scottish athlete born in Britain, was only the second decathlete to win Olympic gold twice (1980 and 1984). Though Thompson was certainly a character, his ability to overcome adversity to go on to have a long and successful athletic career remains admirable.

5. Birgit


German kayaker Birgit Fischer won her first Olympic gold at the age of 18 in Moscow in 1980. That is an achievement on its own, but 24 years later Fischer amazingly came out of retirement to win gold again, at 42, in 2004 in Athens. Meaning "splendid" or "strong," this Celtic name fit Fischer well.

6. Edwin

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Track and field star Edwin Moses achieved a decade-long streak of 122 consecutive victories beginning in 1977, ultimately winning two Olympic gold medals and a bronze during his career. This hurdle-jumper's name

7. Fanny

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Fanny Blankers-Koen, a Dutch track and field star, managed to win four gold medals in a single Olympics (London, 1948). Poor Fanny was publicly criticized for being "too old" during those games and for neglecting her two children to compete, but she still pulled out the stops, even though she was pregnant with her third at the time! Nicknamed "The Flying Housewife," Blankers-Koen would make a fine namesake for your daughter.

8. Carl


Carl Lewis, an American track and field hero, won nine medals in his Olympic career, including four golds in one Olympics and four consecutive long jump titles. The peak popularity of "Carl" in the United States was in 1910, but this solid name manages not to sound very old-fashioned.

9. Larisa

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Russian gymnast Larysa Semyonovna Latynina won eighteen Olympic medals between 1956 and 1964, in a stunning demonstration of her country's total dominance of the sport at the time. Possibly meaning "citadel," Larisa is a strong female name that never enjoyed much popularity in the United States, for no good reason.