Hélène de Pourtalès
|Birth name||Helen Barbey|
|Born||28 April 1868|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||2 November 1945 (aged 77)|
|Class(es)||1 — 2 ton|
|Club||Union des Yachtsmen|
|Updated on 8 May 2015.|
Countess Hélène de Pourtalès (April 28, 1868 – November 2, 1945) born as Helen Barbey, was an American who became a Swiss sailor who competed in the 1900 Summer Olympics and becoming the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
Helen Barbey was born on April 28, 1868 in New York City, 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 was married to André Poupart, Baron de Neuflize in 1903, the older brother of 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, as that was the first time women were allowed to compete. She was very well known after her gold medal, becoming the first woman to win a gold medal two months before Charlotte Cooper.
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.
- "Hélène de Pourtalès Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympic Sports. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
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- Karl Lennartz; Walter Teutenberg. "THE COUNTESS DE POURTALES - AFTER ALL THE FIRST MODERN FEMALE OLYMPIC STARTER" (PDF). Citius - Altius - Fortius.