Pyrros Dimas was a member of the Greek ethnic minority in Albania and competed for Albania at the 1990 European Championships. The following year, he crossed the border and became a Greek citizen.
He emigrated to Greece from Albania just before the 1992 Olympics and promptly won the gold medal, shouting “For Greece!” as he made the winning lift. He set two world records at his second Olympics and won gold again.
He won his third gold in Sydney in 2000. And then, though no weightlifter had ever won medals in four straight Olympics, he was compelled to compete in Athens for love of country. He was too old. He was hurt. But in the moment, he found a way to make the lift that won him the bronze medal. And as I wrote then: “He left his shoes on the stage — shoes for someone else to fill — while the Greek crowd cheered and cried and danced and hugged.”
Dimas is the most decorated Greek athlete in the Olympics and is widely considered as one of the greatest weightlifters of all time, having been three times Olympic Gold Medalist (in his fourth Olympiad, a knee injury notwithstanding, he won the bronze medal), and three times World Champion.