SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

Greece

King Constantine II of Greece’s relationship with the Olympics


PHOTO: HOLGER MOTZKAU VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

King Constantine of Greece has a long list of connections to the Olympic Games. Aside from being an Olympic athlete and an International Olympic Committee member himself, Constantine’s family is full of other Olympic competitors.

His Majesty is currently an Honorary Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after becoming a member of the IOC in 1963; his time as an active member ended in 1974. Additionally, he was a member of the Commission for the International Olympic Academy from 1967-1973. The King also holds the position of Honorary President of the International Olympic Academy.

Constantine and his sister, Queen Sofía of Spain (born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark), were Olympians competing for Greece in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. Princess Sophia and Constantine were on the Greek sailing team. At just the age of 21, on her brother’s crew, Sophia was a reserve member who did not actively participate when they competed in the Dragon class. The Greek team went on to win gold.

His brother-in-law, when he was just Prince Juan Carlos, took part in the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany. A sailor, he competed in the Dragon class. Juan Carlos and his crew, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba Larios and Félix Gancedo, did not medal; the trio ended in 15th place. Unfortunately, 1972 was the last year the Dragon class event was in the Olympics.

Constantine also has a niece and a nephew through his sister Sofía who competed in the Olympic Games. Like her parents and uncle years before, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía’s middle child, Infanta Cristina, participated in sailing in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympic Games for Spain. Cristina had the honour of being the flag bearer for Spain in the Opening Ceremony, but she only appeared in the Tornado class competition as a substitute in the last of the seven races. The boat was unable to finish, and Spain ended in 20th place. The 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, would be where Cristina would meet her future husband, Spanish Olympic handball player Iñaki Urdangarín.

The then Prince Felipe also competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games in sailing in the Soling class. Felipe and his team finished in sixth place. The future King of Spain, like his sister four years before him, was the standard-bearer for Spain in the Opening Ceremony.

One last connection to the Olympics for King Constantine is through his nephew by marriage, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, who is the son of his Danish-born wife, Queen Anne-Marie’s older sister Queen Margrethe of Denmark. Crown Prince Frederik has been part of the IOC since 2009 and regularly attends the Olympic Games to cheer on Danish athletes. His Royal Highness was on the commission for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in PyeongChang. Other positions he has held in the IOC were cited on the IOC’s website as Sport for All (2010-2015), Olympic Programme (2014-2015), Sport and Environment (2014-2015), Sustainability and Legacy (2015-), Sport and Active Society (2015-), Coordination for the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2020 in Lausanne (2015-), Coordination for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad Paris 2024 (2017-).

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.