13 Most Successful Olympic Players in Costa Rica of All Time

Tom Kershaw

Costa Rica is home to some of the most talented Olympic athletes in the world. From swimmer Claudia Poll to the legendary cyclist Andres Brenes, the country has a long and proud history of Olympic excellence.

Here, we will take a look at how some of the most successful and decorated Costa Rican Olympic athletes have made their mark on the world stage. From world records to gold medals, these athletes have achieved remarkable feats and helped to put Costa Rica on the global stage.

So, let’s get to know some of the best Olympic players in Costa Rica!.

1. Leilani McGonagle

Leilani McGonagle is a professional surfer from Costa Rica who is currently competing on the World Surf League circuit. She and her brother, Noe Mar McGonagle, are both professional surfers and have been a part of the surfing world for a number of years.

Leilani is a highly skilled surfer and has achieved various successes throughout her professional career. She has won numerous competitions, including multiple World Surf League titles, and is considered one of the top surfers in the world.

Her brother, Noe Mar, is also a professional surfer and has competed in a variety of events. Both siblings have achieved success in their respective careers and have established themselves as two of the top surfers in the world.

The McGonagle family is a testament to the power of hard work and dedication, and their success in the world of surfing is a testament to their strong work ethic.

2. Claudia Poll

Claudia María Poll Ahrens is a remarkable athlete who has competed at the highest level of swimming. Born in Costa Rica to a Nicaraguan father and a Costa Rican mother, she has represented both her countries in competitions.

She has competed in a wide range of events, including the 200 m to 800 m freestyle categories. Her most impressive achievement to date was winning gold at the 1996 Olympics in the 200 meter freestyle, which made her Costa Rica’s first ever gold medalist at the Olympics.

This momentous achievement was a great source of pride for both Costa Rica and Nicaragua, as well as for Claudia herself. The hard work and dedication she put into her training paid off, and her Olympic gold was a testament to her passion and skill in the pool.

Claudia María Poll Ahrens is an inspirational figure who will continue to be remembered for her tremendous accomplishments.

3. Andrea Vargas

Andrea Carolina Vargas Mena is a remarkable Costa Rican athlete who specializes in sprint hurdling. She is the current national record holder with a time of 12.64 seconds, which she set at the IAAF World Championships in Doha in 2019.

Her impressive feat of athleticism earned her the honor of representing her country at the 2018 World Indoor Championships. Unfortunately, she was unable to advance beyond the first round.

Nevertheless, her commitment to excellence has earned her respect and admiration in her home country.

Vargas Mena is a shining example of the potential of Costa Rican athletes and her impressive performance at the 2019 IAAF World Championships serves as a source of inspiration for aspiring athletes everywhere.

4. Luciana Alvarado

Luciana Alvarado Reid is an incredibly accomplished gymnast hailing from Costa Rica. She has achieved a great deal of success in her sport, competing in some of the most prestigious gymnastic competitions in the world.

In 2019, she had the honor of representing her country at the World Championships and the Pan American Games.At the World Championships, held in Stuttgart, Germany, Luciana competed in the all-around and the individual apparatus events.

Despite having to compete against some of the best gymnasts in the world, she rose to the challenge and put on an incredible show. Luciana also competed in the Pan American Games, held in Lima, Peru.

She was able to showcase her talent and show the world what she was made of. Throughout her career, Luciana has been a great ambassador for Costa Rican gymnastics. Her impressive performances have brought great attention to the country and have helped to raise its profile.

With her determination and hard work, she has helped to inspire the next generation of gymnasts to reach for their goals and follow their dreams. Luciana Alvarado Reid is a wonderful example of the greatness that can be achieved when passion and dedication are combined.

5. Silvia Poll

Sylvia Úrsula Poll Ahrens is an extraordinary swimmer from Costa Rica. She made history in 1988 when she won Costa Rica’s first Olympic medal, a silver in the women’s 200m freestyle.

Her success was remarkable considering Costa Rica has a relatively small pool of elite swimmers to draw from. As of 2009, Sylvia and her sister Claudia remain the only Olympic medalists from Costa Rica, making them both national heroes.

Sylvia has had an impressive career in swimming, setting both Olympic and National Records in the sport. At the 1988 Olympic Games, she shocked the world when she won the silver medal in the women’s 200m freestyle.

Her success was a major milestone for Costa Rica, as she was the first athlete from the nation to win an Olympic medal. She also set a new National Record in the same event, cementing her place in Costa Rican sports history.

In the years following her Olympic success, Sylvia has remained an important figure in Costa Rican swimming. She has been an advocate for the sport, encouraging young athletes to pursue their dreams and strive for excellence.

She also continues to mentor and coach aspiring swimmers, many of whom have gone on to achieve success in the sport. The success of Sylvia Úrsula Poll Ahrens is an inspiring story for athletes of all backgrounds.

She has set an example of how hard work and determination can lead to great success, and her Olympic medal has become a symbol of hope for Costa Ricans everywhere. Her legacy in the sport of swimming will be remembered for generations to come.

6. Noelia Vargas

Noelia Vargas Mena is an accomplished racewalker from Costa Rica. She recently participated in the 2020 Summer Olympics that were held in Tokyo, Japan.

Vargas Mena has been an avid competitor in racewalking events, as she also participated in the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. She competed in the women’s 20 kilometers walk during the Championships, proving her dedication to the sport.

Her success in the events has gained her recognition in the international racewalking community. Vargas Mena is an inspiring athlete who shows dedication and commitment to the sport.

7. Ian Sancho

Ian Sancho Chincila is an accomplished Costa Rican judoka who has achieved great success in his sport. He has competed in the 2020 Summer Olympics, making him the first Costa Rican judoka to do so in 36 years.

His father, Andrés, has also represented Costa Rica in judo at the 1984 Summer Olympics, making them the first father-son duo to represent the country in the sport.

This legacy of excellence is a testament to the hard work and dedication that both father and son have put into the sport. It is an inspiring story of perseverance and determination, and a reminder of the importance of passing on knowledge and skills to the next generation.

8. Andrés Sancho

Andrés Sancho is a Costa Rican judoka, an athlete who practices the Japanese martial art of judo. He is from the Central American country of Costa Rica and is a high-level judoka.

Sancho had the honor of representing Costa Rica in the 1984 Summer Olympics, where he competed in the men’s half-lightweight event. This is a weight class that is contested between athletes who weigh 61 and 66 kilograms.

Sancho was part of the judo competition, which was held in Los Angeles, California, and he was among the 286 athletes from around the world who competed in this event. Despite putting in a strong effort, Sancho did not make it to the medal rounds and failed to place.

However, he can still be proud of his achievement of representing his homeland of Costa Rica at the Summer Olympics.

9. Nery Brenes

Nery Antonio Brenes Cárdenas is a renowned track and field athlete from Costa Rica who has achieved a great deal of success in the sport. He has been a dominant force in the 400m sprint for many years and is widely regarded as one of the top sprinters in Costa Rica.

In 2008, he had the opportunity to represent his country at the Olympic Games in Beijing, where he made it to the semi-finals in the 400m sprint.

This result further cemented his status as an elite athlete and demonstrated his ability to compete at the highest level. In addition to his success in the 400m sprint, Nery Antonio Brenes Cárdenas has also achieved success in a variety of other track and field events.

He has won a number of medals at both the Central American and Pan American Games, displaying his ability to compete and excel in a variety of events.

His achievements have made him one of the most recognizable athletes in Costa Rica and have earned him the admiration of his fellow countrymen. Nery Antonio Brenes Cárdenas continues to train and compete at a high level, and he is determined to build on his success in the future.

He is an inspiration to other athletes in Costa Rica, and his dedication to the sport serves as a reminder of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.

He is a true example of what it means to be a successful athlete, and his accomplishments will continue to serve as an example of excellence for athletes for years to come.

10. Brisa Hennessy

Brisa Hennessy is an incredible athlete who has made a name for herself in the world of professional surfing. She is from Costa Rica and competes in the World Surf League (WSL).

Her hard work and dedication to the sport has paid off, as she has achieved a great standing in the WSL, allowing her to represent Costa Rica in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

She will be one of the few surfers to ever compete in the Olympics, as surfing is a relatively new sport to be included in the Olympics.

Hennessy is an incredible role model for aspiring surfers and athletes alike, as she is a testament to the fact that hard work and dedication can really pay off.

She will be a great representative for Costa Rica in the 2020 Summer Olympics and will surely make her mark in the world of professional surfing.

11. Maureen Stewart

Maureen Stewart was a talented middle-distance runner from Costa Rica who competed in the women’s 800 metres at the 1988 Summer Olympics. She was a dedicated athlete who strived to reach her goals and represent her country in international competitions.

Sadly, her life was cut short far too soon. In 2020, at the young age of 51, Maureen Stewart passed away in Anguilla due to cardiac arrest. Her untimely death was a shock to the Costa Rican athletics community, who had been inspired by her drive and determination.

Maureen had been a strong advocate for female athletes in her home country and had worked hard to promote equal opportunities for female athletes in Costa Rica.

She was a beloved role model to many aspiring athletes in the country, and her legacy will continue to inspire future generations. Maureen’s death serves as a reminder that life can be unpredictable, and that we must make the most of every day we have.

Her drive and passion for running had a lasting impact on those around her, and her memory will endure in the hearts of her family and friends. Maureen Stewart was an incredible athlete and a true inspiration to all who knew her.

12. Alex Foster

Alex Foster is an Olympic hurdler from Costa Rica. He participated in the men’s 400 metres hurdles at the 1992 Summer Olympics, and he achieved a time of 52.93 seconds.

He is the brother of Randolph Foster, also an Olympic athlete. Alex Foster is a champion of his country, as he has represented Costa Rica in the Olympics.

His accomplishment of running the 400 metres hurdles in under 53 seconds is an incredible feat, and it proves his dedication and hard work. He is an inspiration to aspiring athletes in his country. His brother, Randolph Foster, is also an Olympic athlete.

It is likely that Alex Foster was motivated and inspired to compete in the Olympics by his brother’s success. The two of them have shown that with hard work and determination, anything is possible. Alex Foster is an Olympic hurdler from Costa Rica.

He represented his country in the 1992 Summer Olympics, where he achieved an impressive time of 52.93 seconds. His brother, Randolph Foster, is also an Olympic athlete, which likely inspired Alex to compete.

Alex Foster is a champion of his country and an inspiration to aspiring athletes everywhere.

13. Zoila Stewart

Zoila Rosa Stewart Lee is a remarkable woman who has achieved great success in the world of athletics. She was born in Costa Rica and spent her career as a sprinter competing in the 400 metres.

Lee’s career highlights include representing her country at two Olympic Games in 1992 and 1996, as well as four World Championships. Throughout her career, she was a consistent presence in the international track and field scene, making her mark in the world of athletics.

One of her most impressive accomplishments was making it to the semi-finals in the 400 metres at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Her success as a sprinter earned her recognition and respect in the athletic community, and she is now a retired Costa Rican sprinter.

Despite no longer competing, her legacy of strength, dedication, and success will live on.


The best Olympic athletes from Costa Rica have shown that hard work and dedication can pay off. These athletes have achieved great success on the world stage, and their accomplishments have been an inspiration to the people of Costa Rica.

Through their dedication and perseverance, they have served as a reminder of the power of determination and hard work..

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Tom Kershaw

As a sports reporter at The Times & The Sunday Times, my passion lies in covering Olympic sports. With years of experience in the field, I have had the privilege of witnessing and reporting on some of the most thrilling moments in sporting history. From the adrenaline-pumping races on the track to the intense battles in the pool, I strive to capture every moment with accuracy and enthusiasm. My goal is to provide readers with comprehensive coverage that goes beyond mere scores and statistics, delving into the stories behind each athlete's journey and showcasing their triumphs and challenges. Having covered multiple Olympic Games, I understand the importance of delivering timely and engaging content that keeps readers informed and entertained. Whether it's a feature article highlighting an underdog's remarkable rise or a live blog capturing the excitement of a nail-biting final, I am committed to delivering top-notch reporting that brings the Olympic experience to life. With my deep knowledge of various Olympic sports, coupled with my strong storytelling skills, I aim to provide readers with a unique perspective on these incredible athletes and their pursuit of greatness. As a sports reporter at The Times & The Sunday Times, I am dedicated to bringing you all the latest news, insights, and memorable moments from the world of Olympic sports.