Hélène de Pourtalès
|Birth name||Helen Barbey|
28 April 1868|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||2 November 1945
|Class(es)||1 — 2 ton|
|Club||Union des Yachtsmen|
|Updated on 8 May 2015.|
Helen was born on April 28, 1868 in New York City. Helen was the daughter of Henry Isaac Barbey and Mary (née Lorillard) Barbey. Her maternal grandparents were Pierre Lorillard III and Catherine Anne (née Griswold) Lorillard. Her sister, Eva Barbey was married to André Poupart, Baron de Neuflize in 1903. His younger sister was Roberte Ponsonby, Countess of Bessborough.
Her family included her uncle Pierre Lorillard IV; aunt Catherine Lorillard; uncle George Lyndes Lorillard; who married Marie Louise La Farge, the daughter of John La Farge and the sister of Christopher Grant La Farge, who later became the Countess de Agreda after she married Count de Agreda; and Louis Lasher Lorillard, who married Katherine Livingston Beeckman, sister of Governor Robert Livingston Beeckman.
She was a crewmember of the Swiss boat Lérina, which won the gold medal in the first race of 2-3 ton class and silver medal in the second race of 2-3 ton class. She also participated in the open class but did not finish. Her husband Hermann as helmsman and her husband's nephew Bernard were also crew members. She was also one of the first women to take part in the Olympics. She was very well known after her gold medal in the Olympics where women were allowed to take part for the very first time, becoming the first woman to win a gold medal 2 months before Charlotte Cooper.
In 1888, she was married to Hermann Alexander, Count von Pourtalès (1847–1904), after the death of his first wife, Marguerite Marcet. They both competed in the 1900 Summer Olympics, when Hélène became the first woman to win a gold medal. Pourtalès was a captain of the Cuirassiers of the Guard.
From his first marriage, she became the stepmother of Count Guy de Pourtalès (1881–1941), the author, and Count Raimond Pourtalès (1882–1914), attache of the German embassy, who married Countess Luise Alexandra von Bernstorff (1888–1971), daughter of Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff, the German Ambassador to the United States in 1911. The wedding, which took place in Washington, D.C. was attended by William Howard Taft, who was then the President of the United States. After his death in 1914, she remarried to Prince Johannes Baptista of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1880-1956), the youngest son of Charles, 6th Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.
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- Exposition Universelle Internationale de 1900, Concours D'Exercices Physiques et de Sports (PDF) (in French). Imprimerie Nationale. 1901. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Karl Lennartz; Walter Teutenberg. "THE COUNTESS DE POURTALES - AFTER ALL THE FIRST MODERN FEMALE OLYMPIC STARTER" (PDF). Citius - Altius - Fortius.