The Most Famous

ATHLETES from Lithuania

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This page contains a list of the greatest Lithuanian Athletes. The pantheon dataset contains 6,025 Athletes, 25 of which were born in Lithuania. This makes Lithuania the birth place of the 38th most number of Athletes behind Latvia, and Estonia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Lithuanian Athletes of all time. This list of famous Lithuanian Athletes is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Lithuanian Athletes.

Photo of Władysław Kozakiewicz

1. Władysław Kozakiewicz (b. 1953)

With an HPI of 51.02, Władysław Kozakiewicz is the most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages on wikipedia.

Władysław Kozakiewicz (born 8 December 1953) is a retired Polish athlete who specialised in the pole vault. He is best known for winning the gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and the bras d'honneur gesture which he showed to the hostile Soviet crowd. In Poland, where the gesture was viewed as a symbol of resistance against Soviet dominance, it became known as "Kozakiewicz's gesture" (gest Kozakiewicza). In addition, he won several medals at continental level, won two Summer Universiades and broke the pole vault world record three times, twice outdoors and once indoors. He is also a ten-time Polish champion.

Photo of Virgilijus Alekna

2. Virgilijus Alekna (b. 1972)

With an HPI of 50.84, Virgilijus Alekna is the 2nd most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Virgilijus Alekna (Lithuanian pronunciation: [vʲɪrʲˈɡʲɪlʲɪjʊs ɐlʲɛkˈnɐ]; 13 February 1972) is a Lithuanian former discus thrower and politician. He won medals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics, including two golds. After retiring from athletics, Alekna was elected to the national parliament, the Seimas, in 2016.He has 3 children - Martynas Alekna, the discus world record holder Mykolas Alekna, and Gabrielė Aleknaite.

Photo of Władysław Komar

3. Władysław Komar (1940 - 1998)

With an HPI of 48.80, Władysław Komar is the 3rd most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Władysław Stefan Komar (11 April 1940 – 17 August 1998) was a Polish shot putter, actor and cabaretist. Competing in three Summer Olympics between 1964 and 1972, he won the gold medal at the Munich Games in 1972 with a throw of 21.18 metres. His nickname was "King Kong" Komar as attributed to a Sports Illustrated article. His personal bests in the shot put were 21.19 metres outdoors (Warsaw 1974) and 20.32 metres indoors (Grenoble 1972), both being national records during his career.

Photo of Remigijus Valiulis

4. Remigijus Valiulis (1958 - 2023)

With an HPI of 48.52, Remigijus Valiulis is the 4th most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Remigijus Valiulis (20 September 1958 – 19 July 2023) was a Lithuanian athlete. He was a gold medalist in the men's 4x400 meter relay at the 1980 Summer Olympics for the Soviet Union and as a singles runner he took the bronze medal at the 1980 European Athletics Indoor Championships. Valiulis died on 19 July 2023, at the age of 64.

Photo of Hans-Georg Reimann

5. Hans-Georg Reimann (b. 1941)

With an HPI of 45.81, Hans-Georg Reimann is the 5th most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Hans-Georg Reimann (born 24 August 1941 in Starrischken, Municipality Heydekrug) is a former East German race walker, who started for the SC Dynamo Berlin and the GDR and won two Olympic medals in 20 km racewalking. He finished third at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich in (1:27:17 hours) and finished second at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal in (1:25:14 hours).He won the silver medal (1:36:14.2 hours) at the 1962 European Championships. He - synchronously with Peter Frenkel - went a world record (1:25:19.4 hours). Four years later and he was flag bearer of the GDR team at the opening of the 1976 Summer Olympics. Reimann became first an engineer for measuring and automatic control. After the end of his sporting career he worked as a trainer for racewalkers. After the end of the GDR he became a pharmacy representative and lived in Neufahrn bei Freising. Reimann started for SC Dynamo Berlin and trained with Max Weber. In his athletic career he was 1.80 meters large and weighed 65 kg.

Photo of Romas Ubartas

6. Romas Ubartas (b. 1960)

With an HPI of 45.39, Romas Ubartas is the 6th most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Romas Ubartas (born 26 May 1960 in Panevėžys) is a retired male discus thrower from Lithuania who won a silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics for the USSR and a gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics for Lithuania, the nation's first gold. |- His personal best was 70.06m. He also became European champion, in 1986. When Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union, he trained at Dynamo in Vilnius. In 1993, after finishing fourth at the World Track and Field Championships last month in Germany, Ubartas failed a doping test and was disqualified for four years.

Photo of Kęstutis Šapka

7. Kęstutis Šapka (b. 1949)

With an HPI of 44.02, Kęstutis Šapka is the 7th most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Kęstutis Šapka (born 15 November 1949) is a retired Lithuanian high jumper who represented the Soviet Union. He was inspired to become a professional high jumper after the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico and became one of the early adopters of Fosbury Flop. He retired due to recurring injuries. After retiring from competitions he worked as a trainer in Vilnius. In 2007, he was ranked as top 16 trainer in track and field athletics.

Photo of Nijolė Sabaitė

8. Nijolė Sabaitė (b. 1950)

With an HPI of 43.36, Nijolė Sabaitė is the 8th most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Nijolė Sabaitė (born August 12, 1950 in Raseiniai, Lithuanian SSR) is a retired Lithuanian middle distance runner who represented internationally the USSR. She trained at VSS Nemunas in Vilnius. Sabaitė began athletics in 1967 and was a member of the USSR National Team since 1970. She competed mainly in the 800 metres, and won an Olympic silver medal in 1972, between Germans Hildegard Falck (gold) and Gunhild Hoffmeister (bronze). She also won 800m silver at the 1973 Summer Universiade behind Lilyana Tomova from Bulgaria, studying in Vilnius Pedagogical Institute. In 1972 she was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor.

Photo of Galina Murašova

9. Galina Murašova (b. 1955)

With an HPI of 41.03, Galina Murašova is the 9th most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  Her biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Galina Murašova (Russian: Галина Мурашова; born December 22, 1955, in Vilnius, Lithuania) is a retired female discus thrower, who competed for the Soviet Union at two Summer Olympics: 1980 and 1988. Her last name is sometimes also spelled as Murashova. Murašova set the Lithuanian national record in the women's discus throw on August 18, 1984, in Prague, by throwing 72.14 metres. She claimed the silver medal in the women's discus throw event at the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, behind East Germany's Martina Opitz.

Photo of Darius Kasparaitis

10. Darius Kasparaitis (b. 1972)

With an HPI of 39.83, Darius Kasparaitis is the 10th most famous Lithuanian Athlete.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Darius Kasparaitis (born October 16, 1972) is a Lithuanian-American former professional ice hockey defenceman. He mainly played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche, and New York Rangers. He is a four-time Olympian and three-time medalist, winning one gold medal, one silver medal, and one bronze medal. He received the title of Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR in 1992 and was inducted into the Russian and Soviet Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016. His 28 career Olympic games is a record among Russian national team's players.

People

Pantheon has 27 people classified as Lithuanian athletes born between 1940 and 2002. Of these 27, 25 (92.59%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Lithuanian athletes include Władysław Kozakiewicz, Virgilijus Alekna, and Hans-Georg Reimann. The most famous deceased Lithuanian athletes include Władysław Komar, and Remigijus Valiulis. As of April 2024, 2 new Lithuanian athletes have been added to Pantheon including Galina Murašova, and Mykolas Alekna.

Living Lithuanian Athletes

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Deceased Lithuanian Athletes

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Newly Added Lithuanian Athletes (2024)

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