He was Britain's first Olympic champion; an imposing, moustachioed hulk of a man who attracted the attentions of the ladies of the world with his "uncommon type of beauty" and would go on to become the star act of a circus-style troupe which toured Europe and South America.

Launceston Elliot, the Scot who won weightlifting gold at the inaugural Games of the modern era in Athens back in 1896, lived a fascinating, fulfilling life yet, in death, one of British sport's early trailblazers was largely forgotten. For decades, since his passing at the age of 56 in 1930, Elliot lay in a grave marked with nothing more than the number 960 in a corner of the sprawling Fawkner cemetery in Melbourne, Australia.

On Sunday, a small gathering, consisting of Elliot's granddaughter, Ann Elliot Smith, and great-grandson Ian Smith, as well as various Olympic dignitaries, witnessed the righting of a nation's sporting history as his achievements were commemorated at a special ceremony during which a headstone outlining his accomplishments was unveiled.

"As our first Olympic champion from the inaugural modern Olympic Games, Launceston Elliot will always hold a very special place in British Olympic history and it is appropriate that we are recognising this remarkable Olympian's unique achievement," said Lord Colin Moynihan, the chairman of the British Olympic Association.

"We were honoured to be joined by Launceston's granddaughter and great-grandson, and we greatly appreciate the support and friendship of our counterparts in the Australian Olympic Committee and the wider Olympic family." Elliot had Scottish aristocratic blood coursing through his veins. He came from a redoubtable Borders family and was a descendant of the Earl of Minto. Although born in India, in June of 1874, he was given the name Launceston after the capital of Tasmania, the city in which he was conceived. The Elliot's were the Beckhams of their time.

After his father, Gilbert, retired as a magistrate in Bombay, the Elliot family returned to the UK and settled in Essex. As an exceptionally well-built teenager, Launceston swiftly came under the influence of Eugen Sandow, the pioneering Prussian known as the 'father of modern bodybuilding', and developed into a highly talented weightlifter.

By the age of 16, he had performed admirably at what is now recognised as the British Championships in London and three years later he would be crowned champion. Buoyed by his successes, Elliot decided to join a hardy gathering of athletes aboard the SS Congo for the voyage to the Athens Games as a 21-year-old. He entered the 100 metres sprint, rope climbing and Greco-Roman wrestling but sparkled in the discipline that he was trained. In the two-handed lift, he hoisted a weight of 111.5kg, the same as Denmark's Viggo Jensen, but the judges deemed the Dane's effort had more "style" as Elliot had moved a foot in the process of heaving.

The Scot swiftly responded in the one-handed event, however, and lifted 71kg to Jensen's 57. The gold medal, and a place in the history books, was his. Britain has only won seven medals in Olympic weightlifting and Elliot has two of them.

He contested the Games of 1900 in Paris before embarking on a new career as a showman with a lavish strongman act which gained instant acclaim. Despite his international upbringing, he was a fiercely proud Scot – his daughter Nancy described him as "Scottish to the bone" and he was an inaugural inductee into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.