All posts by Paul Tchir

Olympic Missing Links, Part 11

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. This week we are looking into the Olympians who participated most recently, yet still remain part of our Olympic Mysteries series.

 

Andrés Amador – Member of El Salvador’s shooting delegations to the 1968 and 1972 Summer Olympics

Andrés Amador Velasco, born November 22, 1924, represented El Salvador at two editions of the Olympic skeet shooting tournament, in 1968 and 1972, finishing 43rd and 47th respectively. This is all we know about him for a certain, but one report noted that a moment of silence was held in honor of a man by the same in September 2013. Given how uncommon his (full) name is, we suspect that this deceased individual is the Olympian, but we are unable to confirm it at this time.

http://www.observatoriolegislativo.org.sv/index.php/sesiones-plenarias/sp12-15/item/239/239

 

Mariano Ninonuevo – Member of the Philippines shooting delegation to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

Like Amador, all we know about Mariano Ninonuevo, born August 15, 1921, is his sport shooting record at the Olympics. He represented the Philippines in the free pistol, 50 metres event at the 1964 Tokyo Games, where he placed 48th. The only other clue we have been able to locate is an anonymous Wikipedia edit, which listed him as dying on May 7, 1993, but we have been unable to verify this date in any other sources.

 

Jindřich Kinský – Member of the Czechoslovakian basketball squad at the 1960 Rome Olympics

On the other hand, we know much about Jindřich Kinský, born June 27, 1927, who represented Czechoslovakia at the 1960 Rome Olympics, where his nation finished fifth. In addition to taking a silver medal at the 1951 Eurobasket, he won eleven medals at the national championships, including gold in 1954 and 1960. He played primarily for Sparta Praha, but had a stint with ATK (now ÚDA) Praha from 1952 to 1954. Following his retirement from active competition in 1963, he had a brief career as a coach during the 1960s. The Czech-language Wikipedia lists him as dying on April 8, 2008 and, while we have no reason to doubt this, we also have seen no outside confirmation.

Finally, when we did our review of the 1936 Berlin Olympics a while back, we forgot to raise the case of Gerda Gantz, born December 17, 1915, who represented Romania in the foil competition at those Games, where she was eliminated in round one. At the end of 2017, an anonymous user suggested that she died February 2, 2001 in Jerusalem, but, as is often the case, we were unable to verify this elsewhere.

That brings us to the end of this blog entry, but we hope that you will join us next week, when we start wrapping up this series so that we can move on to other mysteries!

Olympic Missing Links, Part 10

Happy New Year everyone! 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. Two weeks ago, we went north of the American border to look into Canadian Olympians; this week we are headed south, to examine some Mexican Olympic mysteries.

 

Rodolfo Flores – Member of Mexico’s shooting delegation to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

We know little about Rodolfo Flores, born 1921, who represented Mexico in two pistol shooting events 1956 Melbourne Olympics, finishing 19th and 26th in the rapid-fire pistol, 25 meters and free pistol, 50 metres respectively. An anonymous edit to Wikipedia claimed that he was born December 16, 1920 and died October 28, 1982 in Houston, Texas. While the Social Security Death Index does reveal that a Rodolfo Flores Sr. died on that date in Harris County, Texas, it does not contain a date of birth, let alone any facts that might connect the deceased individual to the Olympian, and we were unable to uncover an obituary that might turn up more clues.

 

Juan Frias – Member of Mexico’s sailing delegation to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

Much like Flores, we have limited information on Juan Frias, born September 24, 1918, who represented Mexico in Dragon class sailing at the 1964 Tokyo Games and finished 18th. Again, the Social Security Death Index gives us a lead, as a man by the name and with that date of birth died in Texas on August 13, 2004. In this case, we were able to locate an obituary, but it contained no information to help clarify whether or not the man who had died was the Olympian.

 

Juan Trejo – Member of Mexico’s water polo squad at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Juan Trejo, born May 12, 1927, represented Mexico in water polo at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, where his nation was defeated by upcoming gold medalists Hungary in the qualifying round. He was later involved in organizing and promoting the sport in his home country and with his full name – Juan Trejo Cid – being somewhat uncommon, it seemed likely that he would receive a clear obituary upon his death. All we could find, however, was a brief notice for a Juan Trejo Cid who died in Mexico City on November 6, 2012, which offered no details, not even an age at the time of death. We suspect that the individual mentioned in the Olympian, but we have thus far been unable to prove this.

http://bfc1c332b5c17ae20e62-6cbba7cfb59c65abd107ce24040b0bca.r14.cf2.rackcdn.com/flip-nacional/07-11-2012/07-11-2012_flip-nacional.pdf

 

Emma Ruiz – Member of Mexico’s fencing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

We are including one more individual than usual, Emma Ruiz Velásquez, born January 26, 1922, because it is a somewhat different case than our ordinary ones. Ruiz represented Mexico in foil fencing at the 1948 London Olympics, where she was eliminated in round one after losing all of her bouts. This was the last we heard about her until July 2014, when an anonymous user on Wikipedia claimed that she was alive and living in Caracas, Venezuela. That alone would be enough to merit an Olympic Mysteries post, but then we uncovered an obituary claiming that an Emma Ruiz Velásquez died in Caracas on December 9, 2014. Without an age or any substantial details, we could not verify that this was the Olympian, but it certainly does provide an interesting case.

http://obituariosenlinea.com/?module=obituarios&dia=11&mes=12&anyo=2014

 

A little bit extra today to start the new year off strong, and we will be back with more Olympic missing links next week. We hope that your new year is off to an equally strong start (or better) and hope to see you in a week’s time!

Olympic Missing Links, Part 9

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, when we looked into Canadians who fall into this category, we also hit upon the only mysteries from the 1932 Los Angeles Games. Today, therefore, we felt it fitting to look into the next oldest cohort: those who participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics:

 

Guillermo Chirichigno – Member of Peru’s track and field athletics delegation to the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Guillermo Chirichigno represented Peru in the pole vault at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he finished joint-29th and last in the qualifying round and did not advance to the final. He had had more luck at the previous year’s South American Championships, where he won the gold medal, and would later take silver at the 1938 Bolivarian Games. Traces of his activities disappear after World War II, although an entry in the Lima Death Index lists a Guillermo Chirichigno, born 1904, who died June 3, 1970. Despite the rarity of the name, however, without knowing the birth date, or even the age, of the Olympian, we cannot confirm that the individual in the registration and the athlete are one and the same.

 

Karl Lutz – Member of Austria’s boxing delegation to the 1936 Berlin Olympics

After winning the Austrian National Championship in the heavyweight division, boxer Karl Lutz, born February 23, 1914, was chosen to represent his country at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he was defeated in round two by Ernest Toussaint of Luxembourg. We do not know much else about him, although an anonymous user added a date of death of June 20, 1990 and a place of death Braunau am Inn to his Wikipedia page. We have, however, been unable to verify this information in any other source.

 

Roland Annen – Member of Switzerland’s field hockey squad at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

We known less about Roland Annen, born September 22, 1916, than we do about our other Olympians today. All we can be certain about is that, as a member of Stade-Lausanne, he helped represent Switzerland in the field hockey tournament at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where his nation was eliminated after winning one and losing two of its matches in the preliminary round. Once again, we turn to Wikipedia, where an anonymous user added a date of death of August 28, 2005 but, without further confirmation, we cannot consider this information a verified fact.

 

That is our final blog entry for the year, but we will be back in 2019 to continue our look into Olympic missing links and all other manner of Olympic mysteries. We hope you will join us, after a pleasurable New Year’s of course!

Olympic Missing Links, Part 8

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 took a look into the Middle East; today, we are focusing on our other area of expertise: Canada.

 

Dick Wyndham – Member of Canada’s swimming delegation to the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics

Dick Wyndham’s swimming career peaked in the early 1930s and, although funded privately, he was selected to represented Canada in the 200 metres breaststroke at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. There, he was eliminated in the opening round. Originally from British Columbia, Wyndham headed east after the Games to compete and train in Ottawa, but his career soon floundered and he disappeared from the headlines. By scanning the British Columbia Death Index, we found the registration of a Richard David Hayward Wyndham who died on December 12, 1991 at the age of 80, but the obituary we located for him in the Vancouver Sun was inconclusive. Since we do not know the swimmer Wyndham’s year of birth or full name, we cannot prove conclusively that this is the Olympian, particularly as he is known to have moved away from British Columbia at a young age.

 

Johnny Keller – Member of Canada’s boxing delegation to the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics

After winning a bronze medal in the bantamweight division of the boxing tournament at the 1930 British Empire Games, Montreal native Johnny Keller’s next major stop was the 1932 Los Angles Olympics, where he served as the team’s captain. There, he fought as a featherweight, but lost his first bout and was eliminated. He embarked upon a brief professional career after the Games, but it was not particularly successful and petered out relatively quickly. It was the Quebec Death Index that gave us a lead in this case, with the only Johnny Keller of appropriate age being born August 9, 1903 and dying December 15, 1985. His obituary in the Montreal Gazette, however, described him as a “[w]ell known interior decorator for the past forty-eight years” and made no mention of a boxing career, and thus we are able only to speculate on an Olympic connection, since we do not know Keller’s year of birth, let alone the exact date.

(Pictured on page 32 of the May 7, 1979 edition of the Montreal Gazette)

Larry McGuinness – Member of Canada’s equestrian delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Larry McGuinness, born June 5, 1921, represented Canada in equestrian’s three-day event at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and placed 29th individually. Although this was his only Olympic appearance, he had a long and distinguished international equestrian career and was also a businessman who ran the family distillery. In 1977, however, he went bankrupt and after that we had a difficult time tracing him with any certainty. We did uncover obituaries and records of a Lawrence Joseph McGuinness (which matches the Olympian’s full name) who died on December 27, 2017 in Florida. This Larry McGuinness, however, was born June 24, 1920, which would align with his age in many of the reports about him, but unfortunately the obituaries do not give any details that would help confirm that he was the equestrian.

 

Alfred Stefani – Member of Canada’s coxed eights squad at the 1948 London Olympics

Unlike the other three Olympians we have discussed today, we know relatively little about Alfred Stefani, born c. 1922, who represented Canada in the coxed eights tournament at the 1948 London Olympics and was eliminated in the semifinals. We could not uncover anything else about the Olympian, but we did find the relatively sparse obituary of an Alfred Stefani of Valencia, California, who died October 2, 1922. Death records indicate that this Alfred Stefani was born on August 28, 1926 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, but otherwise offer no other evidence. Shipping lists for the journey to the 1948 London Games do indicate that Stefani was born in 1926, rather than 1922, and while we have contacted a relative of the Alfred Stefani listed in the obituary, we have yet to receive definitive confirmation that the two are connected.

 

That is our entry for the day! We will continue our exploration of this topic next week but, in the meantime, we wish all our readers a Happy Holidays and hope that you will join us once again!

Olympic Missing Links, Part 7

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. Today we are going to focus on three athletes from one of our areas of expertise: The Middle East.

 

Jacques Ben Gualid – Member of Morocco’s fencing delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics

Jacques Ben Gualid, born May 3, 1918, was a member of the Jewish community in Morocco who represented his country in three events at the 1960 Rome Olympics – the team foil, team sabre, and individual sabre – but was eliminated in all three. As one might expect, we know very little else about him, but an anonymous user on Wikipedia claimed that he later moved to Canada and died in Toronto on May 3, 1976. A search of the obituary pages of major Toronto-area newspapers around that time yielded no results, suggesting that, if the edit were true, then perhaps he changed his name or his death was not published. Either way, we have been thus far unable to confirm these details.

 

Joseph Mesmar – Member of Syria’s sport shooting delegating to the 1972 Munich Olympics

Joseph Mesmar, born November 25, 1921, seems to have had a limited sport shooting career that was confined primarily to a single event at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the trap competition, where he placed 50th. One internet source lists a Joseph Mesmar as having died in September 1992 in London, England; according to the England and Wales Death Index, however, that Joseph Mesmar was born on October 29, 1921. While it seems like this is very likely to be the same individual, without a source to resolve the discrepancy in the birth date, we cannot be certain.

(Picture from Abdo Gedeon)

Tanios Harb – Member of Lebanon’s sport shooting delegation to the 1968 Mexico City Olympics

Tanios Harb, born in 1925, had a similarly limited international sporting career, with his career coming to a head at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, where he was 41st in the skeet event. Outside of the fact that he was still alive in the early 1980s, we know little else about him, although a now-removed genealogical site claimed that a Tanios Harb died August 3, 2014. A related obituary suggested that it was actually a relative of that Tanios who died on that date, but also listed Tanios as deceased. Given the uncertainties present, we cannot make a definitive determination.

 

As the holidays roll on, it’s another short blog entry for today, but we hope to continue bringing you more Olympic Mysteries in the weeks to come. We hope you’ll join us again!

Olympic Missing Links, Part 6

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. As we were deciding on a theme for this week, we noticed that there were three remaining Winter Olympians yet to be discussed who fall under these criteria, and decided that they would be good subjects to focus on for today’s blog entry, particularly as the holidays are approaching.

 

Walter Heinzl – Member of Czechoslovakia’s bobsleigh delegation to the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympics

Like many bobsledders of his era, there is very little that we can say for certain about Walter Heinzl, not even his year of birth, as many of these individuals did not have lengthy and dedicated careers in the sport. The only information that we know is that he represented Czechoslovakia as a member of one of its four-man bobsleigh teams at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympics and came in 12th. An anonymous user on Wikipedia suggested that he was shot down over Japan during World War II, but we cannot even confirm that this was not vandalism, let alone whether or not it was accurate and refers to the Olympian.

 

Emil and Herta Ratzenhofer – Representatives of Austria in pairs figure skating at the 1948 St. Moritz Winter Olympics

Emil and Herta Ratzenhofer had successful pair figure skating careers in their native Austria, winning the Austrian Championships every year from 1946 through 1949, as well as 1943, coming in third in 1950, and winning the German Championships in 1944. They also won bronze medals at the European Championships in 1948 and 1949 and came in 11th and 5th respectively in those years at the World Championships. In their sole Olympic appearance in 1948, they were ninth. Emil also won bronze in the singles championships in 1938 and 1939. Despite all of this, information on their later lives is scarce, with Emil, born August 2, 1914, listed as having died on December 17, 2005 by the German-language Wikipedia. As for Herta, born June 27, 1921, the Vienna grave index at http://www.friedhoefewien.at/ lists an Anna Ratzenhofer, born June 25, 1921, as dying on April 10, 2007, although it is unclear if Herta and Anna are the same individual. For both, we have been unable to locate additional sources to confirm this information.

 

We are a bit busier this time of year than we usually are, so that is all we have for today, but we hope that you will join us next week, as we continue to look into these Olympic missing links!

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

Olympic Missing Links, Part 4

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. Unlike last time, where we looked into athletes over the age of 105, who were unlikely to be alive, today we are examining those who only turned 90 this year. As the latter is, as one might expect, a longer list than the former, we are going to be splitting our post across two days.

(Pictured on page 12 of the March 10, 1958 edition of The Ottawa Citizen)

Jacques Carbonneau– Member of Canada’s cross-country skiing delegation to the 1952 Oslo Olympics

Jacques Carbonneau, born May 11, 1928, represented Canada as one of the nation’s two cross-country skiers at the 1952 Oslo Olympics, where he finished 70th in the 18 km event. He was a relatively prominent skier on the national scene in the 1950s, but, as cross-country skiing has been a less-followed sport in the country, he faded from attention after that. We did find an obituary in the March 15, 2007 edition of La Presse, stating that a Jacques Carbonneau, born in 1928, had died two days earlier, but the information provided in the article was not sufficient to positively identify the athlete.

(Image from the Alamy Stock Photo Library)

Peter Esiri – Member of Nigeria’s track and field athletics delegation to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Peter Esiri, born September 11, 1928, won a silver medal in the triple jump at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, which earned him a spot on Nigeria’s ten-man delegation to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. There he reached the final, but was unable to record a valid attempt. Information on his later years is scant, but we did find a (now removed) personal page of photos that suggested that he died on October 3, 1998, but we were unable to confirm this information.

 

Mohammad Ja’far Kalani – Member of Iran’s shooting delegation to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

The sport shooting career of Mohammad Ja’far Kalani, born May 1, 1928, did not begin until he was in his 30s, but he nonetheless had a substantial international career that took him to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics (where he was 64th in the rifle, prone, 50 metres event) and the 1970 Asian Games. He also had an extensive career in sports administration. In 2008, a user created his Wikipedia article and included the information that he died in 1987 at the age of 59. We have been unable to verify this information, however, in any other sources.

 

We will (hopefully) be completing this list in the very near future, so we hope you will come back soon, as we continue looking into 1928’s mysteries. We also want to reiterate our thanks to Ralf Regnitter, who was able to confirm that two-time Olympic medalist Marianne Werner of Germany, born January 4, 1924, whom we profiled in an earlier blog entry, is still alive at the age of 94! We also want to thank the relative of Robert Christmas, born c. 1924, who confirmed that the obituary we located in Hamilton Spectator was indeed for the Olympian, and thus that he died in January 2000 at the age of 76, helping us solve another mystery.

Olympic Missing Links, Part 3

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. In particular, we are going to examine three Olympians who would be over the age of 105, thus making it very unlikely that they would still be alive regardless of whether or not they are connected to these death records.

 

Nelson Ribeiro – Member of Brazil’s coxed fours rowing squad at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

A member of the famous Clube de Regatas do Flamengo, Nelson Ribeiro, born January 14, 1910, was a member of the Brazilian coxed fours squad that was eliminated in the semi-finals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. His son later became prominent in rowing administration (among other things) and his granddaughter competed in gymnastics at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, but information on the 1936 competitor is scarce, perhaps clouded by the results for his son. The only suggestion we have for his death came from an entry, now removed, at a genealogical website showing someone with his name having a year of death of 1973. We were unable, however, to find any additional confirmation.

 

Bill Guillver – Rhodesia’s sole sport shooter at the 1960 Rome Olympics

All we know about England-born sport shooter Bill Guillver, born December 28, 1912, is that he took part in the trap event, as a representative of Rhodesia, at the 1960 Rome Olympics and was eliminated in the qualifying round. An anonymous editor to Wikipedia changed his page to reflect that he died in 1998 in Mazowe, Zimbabwe, but, perhaps due to his common name, we have been unable to confirm this.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

(Headstone picture from Find-a-Grave)

Rudolf Vilim – Member of Switzerland’s kayak doubles, 1000 meters duo at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

On the other hand, Switzerland’s Rudolf Vilim, born June 15, 1913, has a fairly uncommon name, yet we still know little about him. He did compete in the K-1 1000 at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he finished fifth in the event with his partner Werner Klingelfuss, but this is our only record of his international competition. Find-a-Grave lists a Rudolf Vilim, buried in Zurich, as having died in 1959, but the gravestone is missing the final digit of his birth year, thus leaving us unable to verify if this is the Olympian.

A busy week means a quick blog update on the weekend, but we hope to bring you even more mysteries next week, when we hope you will join us once again! We also want to send a special thank you to the contributor who pointed us to the obituary of Indian field hockey player Reginald Rodrigues in The Montreal Gazette, which confirms that he died August 15, 1995, at the age of 73. Those who are interested may view it here: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/24999004/reginald_rodrigues_obituary/

Another sincere thanks goes to Tomas Magnusson, who provided us a link to a newsletter that confirms Swiss gymnast Robert Lucy’s date of death as December 23, 2009:

https://btvbern.ch/images/content/BTVinfo/BTVInfo_2010_01.pdf

Olympic Missing Links, Part 2

Recently we added Olympic bronze medal-wining wrestler Francisc Horvath of Romania to our list of medalists who, if alive, would be over the age of 90, but for whom no confirmation of their living status has been located. Our blog entry for today begins by suggesting another name for that list: kayaker Gertrude Liebhart of Austria, who took silver in the K-1 500 at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Several sources, however, list her as dying some time in October or November 2008, but we have been unable to confirm this; someone with this name was buried in Vienna on November 27 of that year, having died on October 31, but this person had a slightly different birthdate than the Olympian. Whatever the truth, Liebhart is not the only Olympic medalist for whom an unconfirmed date of death exists.

 

Jorge Alberto del Río – Silver medalist for Argentina in Dragon class sailing at the 1960 Rome Olympics

Related by marriage to the prominent Sieburger family of Olympic sailors, Jorge Alberto del Río of Argentina, born October 30, 1918, appeared in four editions of the Olympic Games: 1948, 1952, 1960, and 1964. He won his only medal, silver, in the Dragon class in 1960, although he came fourth in that same event in 1952. He also won the Pan American title in 1959. The Spanish Wikipedia lists him as having died in 2008, but we have seen no independent confirmation of this elsewhere.

(Image of the 1948 Indian field hockey team from Sheetu Deep)

Reginald Rodrigues – Olympic champion for India in field hockey at the 1948 London Olympics

As one of the lesser-known players on India’s gold medal-winning field hockey squad at the 1948 London Olympics, we do not have much concrete information on Reginald Rodrigues, born May 29, 1922. An anonymous editor on Wikipedia, however, claimed that he later moved to Canada, under the name of Reg Rodricks, and died in Montreal. We were able to find a notice that suggested that someone by that name died prior to 2004 in Quebec, but without any evidence to verify the original positing, the trail leads to a dead end.

(Image from Pic De)

Robert Lucy – Silver medalist for Switzerland in gymnastics at the 1948 London Olympics

Despite being able to locate a picture, the only information we have on Robert Lucy, born February 20, 1923, is that he won a silver medal with the Swiss squad in gymnastics’ team all-around event at the 1948 London Olympics. An anonymous Wikipedia editor added a date of death of December 23, 2009 to his English-language page but, perhaps because of his common name, we have been unable to confirm this information.

(Image of the 1952 Italian water polo team from H2Opolo.be)

Renato Traiola – Bronze medalist for Italy in water polo at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

As with our other Olympians today, we have very little information on Italian water polo player Renato Traiola, born December 19, 1924. A member of the Circolo Canottieri club of his native Napoli, he helped Italy win a bronze medal in the water polo tournament at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Several sources mention that he died January 18, 1988, but we have not seen any reliable sources to confirm this.

 

There are still plenty more Olympic mysteries to be had, and we are going to keep bringing them to you week by week. We thank you for stopping by today and hope that you’ll join us again! We also want to send a special thank you to Ian Taylor, who uncovered an obituary for Josl Gstrein, whom we covered in a previous entry. Thanks to him, we were able to confirm that Gstrein died September 11, 1980. Another Olympic mystery solved!