Yet More Missing Olympic Links, Part II

Continuing the series that we revived last week, today Oldest Olympians is once again looking at cases for whom we believed to have identified their date of death but, for whatever reason, we were unable to connect the information, such as obituary or public record, conclusively to the athlete. As always, we present them here not only in the hopes of solving some of these cases, but to continue our commitment to transparency in our research.

Julían Velásquez – Member of Argentina’s fencing delegation to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

Julían Velásquez, born December 7, 1920, was a member of Argentina’s sabre fencing team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which was eliminated in round one of the tournament. He had better luck at the 1963 Pan American Games, where he took home a silver medal with the sabre team. This is the extent of what we know about him, but a user on Wikipedia added a date of death of November 12, 2010 and a place of death of Buenos Aires to his article. Unfortunately, we have been unable to confirm this in other sources.

Herman Kunnen – Member of Belgium’s track and field delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

Herman Kunnen, born March 28, 1925, was a three-time Belgian national champion in the 400 metres, from 1946 through 1948. During that time, he was sixth in that event at the 1946 European Championships and did not reach the final at the 1948 London Olympics. He was also sixth in the 4×100 metres at the 1946 Europeans. As with the Velásquez, our only clue about his later life comes from a Wikipedia user, who claimed that Kunnen died in August 2001 in Gent, but we have been unable to find additional evidence to back this up.

Masood Ahmed – Member of Pakistan’s field hockey squad at the 1948 London Olympics

One thing that can be said for certain about Masood Ahmed, born June 1918, is that he represented Pakistan in its fourth-place finish in the field hockey tournament at the 1948 London Olympics. Other information about him is difficult to ascertain, as his name is seen as both Masood Mirza Ahmed and Masood Ahmed Khan, and thus it is possible that two individuals are being conflated in our search for more information. One anonymous Wikipedia user, however, asserted that the Olympian in question died January 19, 2003, but unfortunately this has proven impossible for us to verify.

That is it for today, but we will continue this series next week as we explore even more Olympic Mysteries that we have uncovered. We hope that you will join us!

Yet More Olympic Missing Links

We here at Oldest Olympians have been doing much research as of late, and we have come up with a handful of new names for our Olympic Missing Links series. Thus, today we are once again looking at cases for whom we believed to have identified their date of death but, for whatever reason, we were unable to connect the information, such as obituary or public record, conclusively to the athlete. As always, we present them here not only in the hopes of solving some of these cases, but to continue our commitment to transparency in our research.

(An obituary for Humberto Del Valle Aspitia)

Humberto Aspitia – Member of Argentina’s shooting delegation to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

Humberto D. V. Aspitia, born December 12, 1928, represented Argentina in the 50 metres pistol event at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, where he was 41st among 52 competitors. Three years later he competed at the same event at the Pan American Games, but just missed the podium by coming in fourth. This is all we know about him, and our only clue to his later life comes in the form of an obituary for a Humberto Del Valle Aspitia who died July 11, 2003. Unfortunately, without the obituary mentioning any additional details about his life, or even the age at which he died, we cannot confirm that this is the Olympian, even though it seems likely.

(An obituary for John F K Hinde)

John Hinde – Member of Great Britain’s coxed eights squad at the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics

John Hinde, born October 3, 1928, was a member of two of Great Britain’s coxed eights squads. In 1952 in Helsinki, he just missed the podium in fourth, while in 1956 in Melbourne Britain was eliminated in the round one repêchage. He had more success at the 1951 World Championships, however, where he won a gold medal in the eights. We would have assumed that, given the stature of rowing in England, his death would have merited a noticeable obituary. Unfortunately, all we have been able to locate is a notice of a death for a man with his initials and age, but there are no details to connect him conclusively to the Olympian.

(An obituary for Pierre Brétéché)

Pierre Brétéché – Member of France’s 5.5 metres class sailing entry at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics

Pierre Brétéché, born July 2, 1928, represented France in the 5.5 metres class competition at the 1968 Mexico City Games, where he finished 10th out of 14 nations. Like many Olympic sailors, this is all we know about him and, like our other entries today, our only clue to his fate comes from a brief obituary we found online. It lists a Pierre Brétéché as having died in March 2017 at the age of 88, which would be correct for the athlete. Unfortunately, without more information, we cannot be sure that this is the Olympian.

(Cover of a skiing guide to which Otto Beyeler contributed)

Otto Beyeler – Member of Switzerland’s cross-country skiing delegation to the 1952 Oslo Olympics

Otto Beyeler, born July 21, 1926, was a relatively well-known figure on Switzerland’s ski scene, but represented his country only once at the Olympics. At the 1952 Oslo Games, he came in 15th out of 36 competitors in the 50 km event, the highest placement for the four Swiss participants. As with the rest of today’s missing links, we came across an obituary with too few details to indicate that its subject was the Olympian. It simply lists an Otto Beyeler, born 1926, as having died on January 30, 2016 in Rothrist, with nothing that could identify him for certain as the Olympian.

We have a few more names to cover but, in order to prevent this post from going on too long, we have decided to discuss the rest next week. In the meantime, we wanted to end on a more positive note: an anonymous user on Wikipedia was able to point us to a post from a relative of Chilean basketball player Eduardo Cordero, featured previously on Olympic Missing Links, confirming that Cordero died in September 1991. We want to convey our thanks to that user for helping us solve another Olympic mystery!

Jackie LaVine

Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to cover an Olympian who we believe to be alive, but whose situation requires a little more than the cursory overview than we normally give to our Olympians of the Day. This will, consequently, be a short post, as well as a mystery that will probably be easily and quickly resolved but, as always, we are committed to transparency in both our research and our claims.

The subject of our inquiry is American swimmer Jackie LaVine, born October 4, 1929, whom we believe to have turned 90 recently. LaVine was first slated to represent the United States in the 4×100 metres freestyle relay at the 1948 London Olympics, but she remained an unused reserve in the team’s gold-medal victory. On her way to the 1952 Helsinki Games, she won five national titles, a gold medal in the 4×100 metres freestyle relay at the 1951 Pan American Games, and silver in the 100 metres freestyle at the same tournament. In Helsinki, she helped the Americans take home bronze in the 4×100 metres freestyle relay.

(Mention of Jackie LaVine’s marriage from the June 13, 1957 edition of the Muncie, Indiana Star Press)

LaVine continued her swimming career for a short time after earning her medal, but soon disappeared from the newspapers. The only trace of her were able to uncover was a brief mention in the Muncie, Indiana Star Press that she had married a handball player by the name of Philip Collins. This allowed us to discover that she was listed in American public records as having lived in Chicago, Illinois from August 1, 1993 through January 1, 2009 as Jacqueline Collins. A last update in 2009 is just on the edge of the range of when we would list someone as living on our tables.

Unfortunately, even this mention is not guaranteed to be entirely accurate, as many individuals are listed as having “resided” in their last place of residence in public records for years after their death. Regardless, even with a “last known living” date of 2009, she would be slated for removal from our lists at the end of 2020 if there were to be no further update. This, therefore, is why we have turned to the Olympic Mysteries blog to reach out to our readers, as we find it likely that someone out there could solve this case rather easily. Unfortunately, names like Jacqueline, and especially Phil, Collins make it difficult for standard Google, and even broader public record, searches to be useful. At the very least, however, we hope that we have done our job of highlighting one of the oldest Olympians and bringing more clarity and nuance to the results that we produce.