Olympic Missing Links, Part 5

Today, we are continuing our look into Olympians for whom we believe to have identified their date of death but, for whatever reason, we are unable to connect the information, such as obituary or public record, conclusively to the athlete. Last week we began examining those who only turned 90 this year and thus today we intend to conclude our look into that group.

 

Robert Gausterer – Austria’s flyweight boxer at the 1948 London Olympics

Earning the title of Austrian flyweight boxing champion in 1948 led Robert Gausterer, born May 11, 1928, to be selected to represent his country in that event at the London Olympics, where he was defeated in the first round by upcoming bronze medalist Han Su-An of South Korea. We do not have any additional information about him, although we did find an Austrian grave memorial that listed a Robert Gausterer as having died in 1983. While the rarity of his name means that it is a distinct possibility that this is the Olympian, the memorial lacks even a year of birth, and thus we can only speculate.

 

Laurent Bernier – Member of Canada’s ski jumping delegation at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics

Laurent Bernier, born December 22, 1928, represented Canada in the ski jump at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics, finishing 46th and last among the jumpers who actually recorded a mark. His career nationally lasted through the 1940s and into 1950, when he competed at that year’s World Championships. As ski jumping, like cross-country skiing, is a lesser-followed sport in Canada, however, he faded from attention when he retired from active competition. Due to his common name, information on his later years is difficult to come by, and while we did locate a genealogical record for a Laurent Bernier born in 1928 who died April 27, 1998 in Quebec, without an exact date of birth, we cannot confirm that this is the Olympian.

 

As we managed to solve the remainder of the 1928 cases that we planned for today, here is one possibility from late December 1927 that recently came to our attention:

(Original Caption) Jesse Renick, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, captain of the U.S. Olympic basketball team (left) is congratulated by Maurice Chollet, captain of the Swiss team, after the Americans had whipped their opponents 86-21 at Harringay Stadium on July 30th. The American boys have since bettered a Czech five, 53-28.

(Pictured on the right at Getty Images)

Maurice Chollet – Member of Switzerland’s basketball squad at the 1948 London and 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Maurice Chollet, born December 23, 1927, represented Switzerland in the basketball tournaments at the 1948 London and 1952 Helsinki Olympics, where the nation finished 21st and joint-20th respectively. A user on Wikipedia pointed us to an obituary for a Maurice Chollet who died February 22, 2017 at the age of 89, which would be the correct age for the Olympian. As the obituary made no mention of a basketball career, and since his name is not so unusual as to be unique, we cannot verify that this obituary belongs to the athlete.

 

That is it for today but, as usual, we will continue to delve into this topic next week and hope that you will join us! We also want to thank the anonymous Wikipedia editor who uncovered an obituary for Austrian track and field athlete Ine Schäffer, born March 28, 1923, who won a bronze medal for her country in the shot put at the 1948 London Olympics and was covered as part of our “Bronze Medal Mysteries” series. Schäffer moved to Canada in 1952, married Karl Spreitz in 1953, and died in British Columbia in April 1999. More information can be found here:

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/timescolonist/obituary.aspx?n=ina-spreitz&pid=126023280

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