|Olympic medal record|
|Competitor for Romania|
|Gold||1968 Mexico City||Discus Throw|
|Bronze||1960 Rome||Discus Throw|
|Bronze||1964 Tokyo||Discus Throw|
Lia Manoliu (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈli.a manoˈli.u]; April 25, 1932 in Chişinău, now Republic of Moldova – January 9, 1998 in Bucharest) was a Romanian discus thrower who won three Olympic medals, including one gold. She was the first Track & Field athlete to compete at six Olympics.
She bettered this distance at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, throwing 43.90m for a ninth place finish. At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, she held the lead after the first round with a throw of 52.36m, and although she was unable to improve upon this in subsequent rounds, the throw was sufficient to earn her the bronze medal. At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Manoliu was lying in fourth place after round four, but she produced a throw of 56.96m on her fifth attempt to gain her second Olympic bronze medal.
In the winter of 1967–68, the Romanian Athletics Federation informed the 35 year-old Manoliu that she was too old to try for the Olympics again and that she need not bother turning out for their training camp sessions. This only served to increase Manoliu's determination, and after months of hard and lonely training, she qualified for the Romanian team to the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. In Mexico, she carried an injury to her throwing arm sustained in a shot-putting accident into the competition, and the team doctor warned her that it was good for only one good throw. One throw was all Manoliu needed, registering a distance of 58.28m on her first attempt, which proved good enough for the gold medal.
On 19 July 1969, Manoliu won the UK national WAAA discus title at the Crystal Palace, and in 1972, in her final year of competition, she finished 9th in the discus final at the 1972 Summer Olympics. In 1972, she was awarded the UNESCO Fair Play Prize, for her support to the ideals of fair and loyal competition.
Manoliu competed at her sixth Olympics in 1972, coming ninth in the Final. Ironically, her throw of 58.50m was longer than the 58.28m that had won her Gold four years earlier. In any case, it would be another 24 years until another Track & Field athlete would compete at six Olympics – javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson in 1996. (Sprinter Merlene Ottey would compete in her sixth Olympics in 2000 and her seventh in 2004.)
She died of a heart attack in January 1998 after lapsing into a coma during surgery for a brain tumor the week before. She was buried at Bellu Cemetery.