Olympic Missing Links, Part 12

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 Austria, a nation that happens to have three mysteries left for us to discuss.


Adam Bischof – Member of Austria’s field hockey squad at the 1948 London Olympics

Like many Olympic field hockey players, there is very little that we know about Adam Bischof, born October 13, 1915, other than the fact that he was a member of the Austrian field hockey team that was eliminated in the preliminary round of the tournament at the 1948 London Olympics, after losing one game and tying two. Without information on his club, coupled with his not entirely uncommon name, we have been unable to uncover more details, although Viennese cemetery records indicate that an Adam Bischof died in September 1977 at the age of 62, which would have made him only one year older than he Olympian. Without further corroborating evidence, however, we cannot make a certain determination that this individual is the Olympian.


Walter Niederle – Member of Austria’s field hockey squad at the 1948 London Olympics

Bischof’s teammate Walter Niederle, born February 17, 1921, is equally mysterious. With a much less common name, one might suspect that information on Niederle would be easier to come across, but the best we could find is another Viennese cemetery record that listed a Walter Niederle as having died on November 28, 1962 at the age of 42. Although in this case the age aligns correctly with the Olympian, we still do not possess independent confirmation that the two are one and the same.


(Pictured as the individual furthest to the back whose face is visible, according to RV Albatros)

Theodor Obrietan – Member of Austria’s coxed fours rowing squad at the 1948 London Olympics

Austria was represented by a team from RV Albatros, Klagenfurt in the coxed fours event at the 1948 London Olympics, where the squad was eliminated in the quarterfinals. There is little information on the team as a whole, with the only clue about the future lives of any of the members being a Find-A-Grave listing of a Theodor Obrietan who died in 2004 and was buried in Klagenfurt. Given the rarity of his name, we are fairly certain that this is the Olympian, although we cannot prove it with certainty without additional information.



That is all we have for today, but we hope that you will join us next week, as we journey ever closer to the end of this series!

All Olympic Doping Positives – the Count by Games

For those keeping score at home, here are the number of doping positives and disqualifications at the Olympic Games, that we know of (we = myself and @OlympicStatman). In total, there are 418 known cases.

Year City ###
2012 London 121
2008 Beijing 86
2000 Sydney 42
2004 Athínai 41
2006 Torino 19
2016 Rio de Janeiro 17
1996 Atlanta 13
1984 Los Angeles 12
2014 Sochi 12
1976 Montréal 11
1988 Seoul 10
1972 München 7
2002 Salt Lake City 7
1992 Barcelona 5
2018 PyeongChang 5
2010 Vancouver 3
1976 Innsbruck 2
1968 Ciudad de México 1
1972 Sapporo 1
1984 Sarajevo 1
1988 Calgary 1
1998 Nagano 1
Totals 418

An Update on London 2012 Doping Positives

There have been a number of tweets and other comments about the current number of doping positives from London 2012. Here are the correct numbers, to the best of our knowledge (our = myself and @OlympicStatman = Hilary Evans).

There have been 121 doping positives recorded from London 2012. 114 of these are confirmed and 7 of these are pending cases that are not fully confirmed yet.

Of the 121, 11 of these were original positives, that is, they were revealed during the London Olympics or at the time of those Olympics. Four (4) of them were pre-Games positives that were found in testing just prior to the Games with those athletes disqualified from competing. The remainder (106) of the positives have been found in re-testing.

Of the 121, 76 were in women, and 45 in men. Here are the nations that have been implicated:

NOC Doping Positives 2012
Russia 38
Ukraine 16
Belarus 12
Turkey 12
Kazakhstan 6
Moldova 4
Armenia 3
Azerbaijan 3
Morocco 3
Colombia 2
Georgia 2
Saudi Arabia 2
United States 2
Albania 1
Brazil 1
China 1
Spain 1
France 1
Italy 1
Latvia 1
Qatar 1
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1
Slovenia 1
Syria 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1
United Arab Emirates 1

Note that 85 of the 121 are from countries derived from the former Soviet Union.

And here are the sports that have been involved:

Sport Doping Positives 2012
Athletics 80
Weightlifting 30
Cycling 3
Wrestling 3
Boxing 1
Gymnastics 1
Judo 1
Rowing 1
Swimming 1

Finally, here are the violations, including the drugs used and the other violations of the WADA code:

Violations / Drugs Doping Positives 2012
Biological passport offense 37
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) 32
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) and Stanozolol 14
Never announced 7
Erythropoietin (EPO) 5
Stanozolol (anabolic steroid) 4
Furosemide (Lasix) (diuretic = masking agent) 3
Methylhexanamine 2
Oxandrolone 2
Testosterone (anabolic steroid) 2
Blast-Off Red (ingredients are unclear) 1
Blood doping 1
Clenbuterol; Methandienone and Oxandrolone 1
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) and Drostanolone 1
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) and Ipamorelin 1
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol) and Tamoxifen 1
Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (Turinabol; Oxandrolone; and Stanozolol 1
Drostanolone and Stanozolol 1
Marijuana 1
Methandienone metabolite (anabolic steroid) 1
Methenolone and metabolites (anabolic steroid) 1
Oxandrolone and Stanozolol 1
Tampering with doping control samples 1

Of the announced violations (114), fully 50 of them are for Turinabol (dehydrochloromethyltestosterone = DHCMT), often combined with other drugs. Why Turinabol? Turinabol was developed in the former East Germany, by the pharmaceutical company Jenapharm. It was originally only detectable for a few days after administration, but a test developed in 2012 by Grigory Rodchenkov (a familiar name in the Russian doping scandal) enabled it to be detected for up to 50 days after administration. Thus, many athletes who thought they were safe in 2012 were later detected by the use of that test.

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.



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.



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.



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:


All the Olympic Stats You'll Ever Need