Daphne Robb-Hasenjäger

Today Oldest Olympians is presenting the story of another Olympic medalist about whom we could find little of their post-athletic life: South African sprinter Daphne Hasenjäger, born July 2, 1929, who would have recently turned 90 if still alive.

(Hasenjäger, pictured far left, in the Life Photo Collection)

Hasenjäger began her career in the aftermath of World War II as Daphne Robb. Her first major international appearance came at the 1948 London Olympics, where she was eliminated in the semifinals of the 100 metres and placed sixth in the 200 metres. In 1949 she ran the 100 yards in 10.7 seconds, then a world record, but it was not recognized due to assistance from the wind. Robb’s achievements became more notable in the 1950s, as she won a bronze medal in the 220 yards event at the 1950 British Empire Games and then, after marrying a fellow athlete and becoming Daphne Hasenjäger, earned a silver medal in the 100 metres at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

After this, we have been unable to find much trace of her, let alone information on whether or not she is still alive. We know that a street in Windhoek, Namibia was named after her no later than 1997, but as this honor is not exclusive to deceased individuals, this fact does not tell us much. In this case, we have no language barrier, nor any real reason that we should not be able to find at least some information on her after her athletic career. The sheer death of material, we feel, is an Olympic Mystery of its own, one that we hope our readers will find relatively easy to solve.

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