Our 12-strong Team Lëtzebuerg has athletes competing in athletics, cycling, swimming, equestrianism, table tennis, triathlon and archery. (tenth of twelve)
FYI: The so-called “cadre élite” comprises those athletes who have both participated in a certain number of high-level competitions and either achieved, or been close to achieving, the specific standard set to enter the “high performance” category of their sport (distinguished from “mass sport” or “recreational sport”).
The “cadre promotion” includes athletes who have not yet made the “elite” category but have a realistic chance of doing so within the first 6 years upon admission. This is not achieved by meeting specific criteria, but by their general performance as well as participation in high performance international competitions (within respective age categories and 5th and 6th years of performance).
Charles Grethen is a Luxembourgish middle-distance runner competing in 800m and 1500m races. An elite-category athlete since 2013, these are Grethen’s second Olympic Games after Rio 2016. Despite 18 months out of action after an operation on his Achilles tendon, Grethen came back with a vengeance: breaking one national record after the other and earning himself a world ranking that qualified him for the Olympics.
Born in Luxembourg, Charles Grethen will be 29 this year. Training with CSL and coach Camille Schmit, Grethen recently beat his own record and hit a new national record in the season opener in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He completed the 1500m Golden Spike Meeting in the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold, ranking 5th with a time of 3:36.75. Grethen also came first in the Men's 1500 metres at the 2019 Games of the Small States of Europe.
With parallels drawn to Josy Barthel himself (surprise winner of the Men's 1500 metres at the 1952 Summer Olympics, and the only Luxembourgish athlete to ever win an Olympic gold medal), Grethen’s ability to suddenly catapult himself forward in the last round of a race with incredible speed has not gone unrecognised.
In terms of the upcoming championships, he highlighted how unpredictable the last year has been: “The biggest challenge was that we prepared for the 2020s but then they were cancelled after all. […] I expect it will be a little quieter than Rio but I can accept that because I’ve already been. It’s the second time I’m going, so this time I can fully concentrate on the competition and on my race.”
“I will do everything I can to get into the semi-final,” Grethen said about the challenge ahead, “but of course even that is a really hard goal to achieve.”