Golden Slams in Tennis

In some sports an Olympic title can be part of a greater achievement. In this blog we’ve already featured ice hockey’s Triple Gold Club and basketball’s Triple Crown winners but tennis also has its’ ultimate challenge – the Golden Slam.
The Golden slam consists of winning the 4 major championships, the Australian, French and US Opens as well as Wimbledon and an Olympic gold medal. It was never achieved during tennis’s original tenure as an Olympic sport (because of the French tournament being restricted to members of French clubs before 1925) but, since the sport returned to the Olympic fold in 1988, a dozen men and women have performed the feat in a mixture of singles and doubles.

Men’s singles

Athlete,Nation(s),Olympics,Australia,French, Wimbledon,USA
Andre Agassi, USA, 1996,4 wins,1 win,1 win,2 wins
Rafael Nadal,ESP,2008,1 win,9 wins,2 wins,2 wins


Men’s doubles
Athlete,Nation(s),Olympics,Australia,French, Wimbledon,USA
Bob Bryan,USA,2012,6 wins,2 wins,3 wins,4 wins
Mike Bryan,USA,2012,6 wins,2 wins,3 wins,4 wins
Daniel Nestor,CAN,2000,1 win,4 wins,2 wins, 1 win
Todd Woodbridge,AUS,1996,3 wins,1 win,9 wins,3 wins,
Mark Woodforde,AUS,1996,2 wins,1 win,6 wins,3 wins

Women’s singles

Athlete,Nation(s),Olympics,Australia,French, Wimbledon,USA
Steffi Graf,FRG/GER,1988,4 wins,6 wins,7 wins,5 wins
Serena Williams,USA,2012,5 wins,2 wins,5 wins,5 wins

Steffi Graf (right of picture)

Women’s doubles

Athlete,Nation(s),Olympics,Australia,French, Wimbledon,USA
Gigi Fernandez,PUR/USA,1992/1996,2 wins,6 wins,4 wins,5 wins
Pam Shriver,USA,1988,7 wins,3 wins,5 wins,5 wins
Serena Williams,USA,2000/2008/2012,4 wins,2 wins,5 wins,2 wins
Venus Williams,USA, 2000/2008/2012, 4 wins,2 wins,5 wins,2 wins

Williams sisters

Mixed doubles
Closest approach which includes an Olympic title is that of Vika Azarenko and Max Mirnyi of Belarus with Olympic, Wimbledon and US Open titles and an appearance in the final at the Australian Open.
Daniela Hantuchová has won all 4 major titles but did not compete in the event at the 2012 Olympics.

Serena Williams is unique in achieving this feat as both a singles and doubles player and has a record 34 wins across all five championships and both disciplines. Steffi Graf is the only player to win all 5 tournaments in the same calendar year whilst the Bryan brothers have also held all 5 titles at the same time although, in their case, it was spread over 2012 and 2013. Two of the premiere players of recent years, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova, still need an Olympic singles gold to complete their set.

100 Years Ago Today

On 28 June 1914, 100 years ago today, the inciting incident which led to World War I, occurred. This was the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia. World War I is considered to have officially started one month later, 28 July, when Austro-Hungary officially declared war on Serbia.

Although there had been only 5 celebrations of the Olympic Games to that date (6 if you count 1906), many of the Olympic athletes served in the military during the war and some of them did not return.

Canadian doctor-soldier John McCrae penned the poem “In Flanders Fields” in memory of the brave men who lost their lives in what has been called The Great War, as if any war could be great. McCrae wrote:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In their memory, here are the 131 Olympians that we have been able to identify as being killed, died, or missing in action as a result of World War I. RIP.



Andrey Akimov,RUS,FTB,1912,†1916. Killed during World War I.

Gordon Alexander,GBR,FEN,1912,†24 April 1917. Killed in action during World War I.

Laurie Anderson,GBR,ATH,1912,†9 November 1914. Killed in action while serving with the Cheshire Regiment.

William Anderson,GBR,ATH,1906,†April 1915. Killed in action in France.

Henry Ashington,GBR,ATH,1912,†31 January 1917. Killed in action in France.

Louis Bach,FRA,FTB,1900,†16 September 1914. Killed in action.

Fritz Bartholomae,GER,ROW,1912,†12 September 1915. Killed in action during World War I.

Georg Baumann,RUS,WRE,1912,Missing-in-action during World War I but date and place not known.

Béla Békessy,HUN,FEN,1912,†6 July 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

Isaac Bentham,GBR,WAP,1912,†15 May 1917. Killed in action during Battle of Arras.

Renon Boissière,FRA,ATH,1912,†25 September 1915. Killed in action in World War I.

Henri Bonnefoy,FRA,SHO,1908,†19 August 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Hermann von Bönninghausen,GER,ATH,1908-12,†26 January 1919. Died from wounds from being shot in the face in World War I.

Hermann Bosch,GER,FTB,1912,†16 July 1916. Killed in action in World War I.

Jean Bouin,FRA,ATH,1908-12,†29 September 1914. Killed in action by friendly fire.

Hanns Braun,GER,ATH,1908-12,†9 October 1918. Died as a fighter pilot near Saint-Quentin; Aisne; France in World War I.

Karl Braunsteiner,AUT,FTB,1912,†19 April 1916. Died as a prisoner of war.

Kurt Bretting,GER,SWI,1912,†30 May 1918. Killed in action during World War I.

Heinrich Burkowitz,GER,ATH,1912,†November 1918. Missing in action in November 1918 somewhere in Belgium.

Edmund Bury,GBR,RAQ,1908,†5 December 1915. With the 11th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps he was killed in action in France during World War I and is buried in Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery in Fleurbaix.

George Butterfield,GBR,ATH,1908,†24 September 1917. Killed in action in France.

Oswald Carver,GBR,ROW,1908,†7 June 1915. With the 1st/2nd East Lancashire Royal Engineers he was killed in action in Turkey in World War I and is buried in the Lancashire Landing Cemetery.

Joseph Caullé,FRA,ATH,1912,†1 October 1915. Killed in action during World War I.

Ralph Chalmers,GBR,FEN,1908,†8 May 1915. Killed in action during World War I.

Noel Chavasse,GBR,ATH,1908,†4 August 1917. He is one of only three men to have been awarded a bar to the Victoria Cross. Serving as a captain in the RAMC he was first awarded the VC in 1916 and a bar posthumously in 1917.

Geoffrey Coles,GBR,SHO,1908,†27 January 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

André Corvington,HAI,FEN,1900,†13 December 1918. Killed in action in World War I near Reims.

Percy Courtman,GBR,SWI,1908-12,†2 June 1917. Part of 6th Battalion Manchester Regiment he was killed in action in World War I. Buried at Neuville-Bourjonval British Cemetery.

Harry Crank,GBR,DIV,1908,†22 October 1917. Killed in action near Ypres Belgium.

Robert Davies,GBR,SHO,1912,†9 September 1916. A member of the 1st/9th Batallion; London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles) he was killed in action in the Somme in France in World War I.

Louis de Champsavin,FRA,EQU,1900,†20 December 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

Felix Debax,FRA,FEN,1900,†25 August 1914. Killed in action in World War I.

Alex Decouteau,CAN,ATH,1912,†17 October 1917. Killed in action in the Battle of Passchendale.

Oszkár Demján,HUN,SWI,1912,†4 September 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Charles Devendeville,FRA,SWI/WAP,1900,†19 September 1914. Killed in action.

Karl Baron von Diepurg,GER,IOC,1909-14,†25 October 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Joseph Dines,GBR,FTB,1912,†27 September 1918. He was killed in Pas de Calais as a second lieutenant on the Western front during World War I.

Jimmy Duffy,CAN,ATH,1912,†23 April 1915. In September 1913 he joined the Canadian Army and was assigned to the 91st Argyle Regiment. On 23 April 1915 he was fatally wounded near Ypres Belgium.

Hugh Durant,GBR,MOP/SHO,1912,†21 January 1916. With the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers he was killed in action in France in World War I and is buried in the Vermelles British Cemetery.

George Fairbairn,GBR,ROW,1908,†20 June 1915. Killed in action in the Somme in France during World War I.

René Fenouillière,FRA,FTB,1908,†4 November 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

Léon Flameng,FRA,CYC,1896,†2 January 1917. Killed in action during World War I.

Alfred Flaxman,GBR,ATH,1908,†1 July 1916. Killed in an attack on the enemy positions at Gommecourt.

Bert Gayler,GBR,CYC,1912,†23 June 1917. Killed by rifle fire during an ambush in a valley near Kotkai Bozi Khel.

Bernhard von Gaza,GER,ROW,1908,†25 September 1917. Killed in action during World War I in Belgium.

Thomas Gillespie,GBR,ROW,1912,†18 October 1914. A lieutenant with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers he was killed in action in France in World War I and is buried in Le Touret Memorial.

Henry Goldsmith,GBR,ROW,1908,†9 May 1915. Killed in action at Fromelles.

Lajos Gönczy,HUN,ATH,1900-06,†4 December 1915. Killed in action in area of Galicia and Lodomeria.

Carl Heinrich Goßler,GER,ROW,1900,†9 September 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Wyndham Halswelle,GBR,ATH,1906-08,†31 March 1915. Killed by a sniper’s bullet in France.

George Hawkins,GBR,ATH,1908,†22 September 1917. During World War I he served as a Gunner with the Royal Artillery and was killed in action when a shell exploded in the doorway of a dugout while he was on outpost duty.

Harold Hawkins,GBR,SHO,1908,†16 June 1917. Reported missing between Bullecourt and Croisilles. When last seen he was wounded; lying in a very forward position; which unfortunately had to be abandoned.

Cecil Healy,ANZ/AUS,SWI,1906-12,†29 August 1918. Killed in action in World War I.

Max Herrmann,GER,ATH,1912,†29 January 1915. Killed in action in World War I.

George Hutson,GBR,ATH,1912,†14 September 1914. Killed in action only five weeks after the outbreak of World War I.

Albert Jenicot,FRA,FTB,1908,†22 February 1916. An under-lieutenant with the 165th Regiment D Infantry he was killed in action in World War I.

Walther Jesinghaus,GER,GYM,1912,†1918. Killed in action during World War I.

Ernest Keeley,RSA,SHO,1912,†23 July 1918. A 2nd lieutenant with the 4th Regiment (South African Infantry Unit) he was killed in action in World War I and is buried in the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Frederick Kelly,GBR,ROW,1908,†13 November 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

Paul Kenna,GBR,EQU,1912,†30 August 1915. Killed in action at the Battle of Gallipoli.

Alister Kirby,GBR,ROW,1912,†29 March 1917. Served as a captain in the Rifle Brigade and died from illness in 1917.

Frederick Kitching,GBR,ATH,1908,†1914. Killed in action in World War I.

Adolf Kofler,AUT,CYC,1912,†13 April 1915. Killed in action during World War I.

Nikolay Kynin,RUS,FTB,1912,†1916. Killed during World War I.

Ivan Laing,GBR,HOK,1908,†30 November 1917. With the 2nd Battalion; Coldstream Guards he was killed in action in France during World War I and is buried in Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery; British Extension.

Octave Lapize,FRA,CYC,1908,†14 July 1917. Killed when his plane was shot down near Verdun.

Béla von Las-Torres,HUN,SWI,1908-12,†13 October 1915. Killed in action in Italy during World War I.

Henry Leeke,GBR,ATH,1908,†29 May 1915. Killed in action on the eve of his battalion’s departure for Gallipoli.

Erich Lehmann,GER,ATH,1912,†9 July 1918. Listed as missing in action in World War I.

Feliks Leparsky,RUS,FEN,1912,†10 January 1917. Killed in action in World War I.

Bertrand Count de Lesseps,FRA,FEN,1908,†28 August 1918. Killed in action during World War I.

Ismaël de Lesseps,FRA,FEN,1908,†30 September 1915. Killed in action during World War I.

Eduard von Lütcken,GER,EQU,1912,†15 September 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Georges Lutz,FRA,CYC,1908,†31 January 1915. Killed in action in World War I.

Willy Lützow,GER,SWI,1912,†1916. Killed in action during World War I.

William Lyshon,USA,WRE,1912,†13 October 1918. Killed in the final days of World War I.

Duncan Mackinnon,GBR,ROW,1908,†9 October 1917. Killed in action at Ypres in the Battle of Passchendaele.

Gilchrist Maclagan,GBR,ROW,1908,†25 April 1915. Killed in action in Pilckem Ridge at the Second Battle of Ypres.

Leopold Mayer,AUT,SWI,1906,†21 September 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Alphonse Meignant,FRA,ROW,1912,†4 November 1914. Killed at First Battle of Ypres during World War I.

Robert Merz,AUT,FTB,1912,†30 August 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Georg Mickler,GER,ATH,1912,†14 June 1915. Killed in action during World War I somewhere in Poland.

Felice Milano (DNS),ITA,FTB,1912,†11 November 1915. Killed at the Fourth Battle of the Isonzo during World War I.

Percival Molson,CAN,ATH,1904,†5 July 1917. Killed in action when hit by mortar fire while attempting to rescue a fallen friend on the outskirts of Avignon France.

Alfred Motté,FRA,ATH,1908-12,†31 October 1918. Killed in action in World War I.

István Mudin,HUN,ATH,1906-08,†22 July 1918. Killed in action during World War I.

Edward Nash,GBR,EQU,1912,†21 February 1915. Killed in action during World War I.

Georges de la Nézière,FRA,ATH,1896,†9 October 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Grigory Nikitin,RUS,FTB,1912,†1917. Killed during World War I.

Harcourt Ommundsen,GBR,SHO,1908-12,†19 September 1915. A Lieutenant in the Honourable Artillery Company when he was killed at the Battle of Ieper in World War I.

Alan Patterson,GBR,ATH,1908-12,†14 March 1916. Commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery he was killed in action only two days after his 30th birthday.

Árpád Pédery,HUN,GYM,1912,†21 October 1914. Killed in action during World War I.

Jacques Person,GER,ATH,1912,†15 July 1915. From Alsace; killed in action in Flanders as a member of the “7. Thüringische Infanterie Regiment Nr. 96”.

William Philo,GBR,BOX,1908,†7 July 1916. Killed in World War I during the battle of the Somme in France.

Hermann Plaskuda,GER,FEN,1912,†21 March 1918. Killed in action in World War II. His grave is in the war cemetary in St. Quentin France.

Léon Ponscarme,FRA,CYC,1900,†24 November 1916. Killed in action in World War I in Verdun.

Kenneth Powell,GBR,ATH/TEN,1908-12,†18 February 1915. Killed in action while serving as a private in the HAC.

Friedrich Karl Prince von Preußen,GER,EQU,1912,†6 April 1917. During a flight on 21 March 1917 he was forced to land with a bullet in his engine and a slight wound to his foot. He landed his Albatros aircraft in no-man’s land but while running towards his own lines he was severely wounded in the back by Australian troops. He was taken into Australian war captivity where he died from his injuries on 6 April 1917 at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.

Reggie Pridmore,GBR,HOK,1908,†13 March 1918. Served as a major in the Royal Horse & Field Artillery winning a Military Cross on the Somme before being killed in action in Italy.

Joseph Racine,FRA,CYC,1912,†28 October 1914. With the 113th Regiment Infantry he was killed in action in World War I.

Thomas Raddall,GBR,SHO,1908,†9 August 1918. With the 8th Battalion Canadian Infantry Manitoba Regiment he was killed in action in France in World War I and is buried in the Manitoba Cemetery in Caix.

Maurice Raoul-Duval,FRA,POL,1900,†5 May 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

Josef Rieder,GER,CYC,1912,†13 July 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

John Robinson,GBR,HOK,1908,†23 August 1916. Commissioned into the North Staffordshire Regiment he was soon promoted to captain but died from injuries received in the Mesopotamian campaign.

Patrick Roche,GBR,ATH,1908,†7 June 1917. A lieutenant in the Royal Engineers he won an MC in World War I and was later killed in action.

Albert Rowland,ANZ,ATH,1908,†23 July 1918. Killed in action during the Second Battle of The Marne.

Marius Royet (DNS),FRA,FTB,1908,†1915. Killed during World War I.

Maurice Salomez,FRA,ATH,1900,†7 August 1916. Killed in action in World War I.

Ronald Sanderson,GBR,ROW,1908,†17 April 1918. Killed in action near Ypres.

Heinrich Schneidereit,GER,TOW/WLT,1906,†30 September 1915. Killed in action as an artillery officer in France during World War I.

André Six,FRA,SWI,1900,†1914. Killed in action.

Pierre Six,FRA,FTB,1908,†7 July 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

Michel Soalhat,FRA,ATH,1906,†25 September 1915. Killed in action in World War I.

Robert Somers-Smith,GBR,ROW,1908,†1 July 1916. Killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Geoffrey Taylor,CAN,ROW,1908-12,†24 April 1915. Missing; presumed killed; during the Second Battle of Ypres.

Felix Tekusch (DNS),AUT,FTB,1912,†21 May 1916. Killed in action during World War I.

Waldemar Tietgens,GER,ROW,1900,†28 July 1917. Killed in action during World War I.

Dragutin Tomašević,SRB,ATH,1912,†1915. Killed in action during World War I in Serbia

Justin Vialaret,FRA,FTB,1908,†30 September 1916. Killed in action in World War I.

Charles Vigurs,GBR,GYM,1908-12,†22 February 1917. With the 11th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment he was killed in action in France in World War I and is buried in the Maroc British Cemetery in Grenay.

Amon Ritter von Gregurich,HUN,FEN,1900,†28 June 1915. Killed in action during World War I.

Edmond Wallace,FRA,FEN,1900,†18 August 1915. Killed in action in World War I.

Rudolf Watzl,AUT,WRE,1906,†15 August 1915. Died from illness during World War I.

Arthur Wear,USA,TEN,1904,†6 November 1918. As a result of refusing to obtain proper treatment for a probable perforated duodenal ulcer; he died; still commanding his battalion; during the Meuse-Argonne fighting.

Arthur Wilde,GBR,SHO,1908,†21 January 1916. With the 1st/6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment he was killed in action in World War I and is buried in the Arras Memorial.

Tony Wilding,ANZ,TEN,1912,†9 May 1915. Joined the British army and was leading an armoured car unit when he was killed at Aubers Ridge during the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle.

Victor Willems,BEL,FEN,1908-12,†1918. Killed in action during World War I.

Edward Williams,GBR,ROW,1908,†12 August 1915. With the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards he was killed in action in France in World War I and is buried in the St. Venant Communal Cemetery.

Herbert Wilson,GBR,POL,1908,†11 April 1917. Was a captain with the Royal Horse Guards near Arras. Died in the preliminary skirmishes leading up to the Battle of Paschendaele in Ypres Belgium.

Richard Yorke,GBR,ATH,1908-12,†22 December 1914. Killed in action in World War I while serving as a sergeant in the London Scottish.

Béla Zulawszky,HUN,FEN,1908-12,†24 October 1914. Killed in action during World War I.


The Vuarnet and Bonlieu Families

Metal Skis, Bar Fights, Cults, Suicides, and Sunglasses



Full Name,Jean Raoul Célina André Vuarnet

Used Name,Jean Vuarnet

Born,18 January 1938; Bardo (TUN)

Affiliations,Skiclub de Morzine




1960 Winter,Alpine Skiing,Downhill,1,Gold




Full name,François Bonlieu

Born,21 March 1937; Juvincourt-et-Damary; Aisne (FRA)

Died,18 August 1973; Cannes; Alpes-Maritimes (FRA)

Affiliations,CR Mont Blanc




1956 Winter,Alpine Skiing,Giant Slalom,9,

1960 Winter,Alpine Skiing,Giant Slalom,11,

,,Slalom,DQ Run 2/2,

1964 Winter,Alpine Skiing,Downhill,15,

,,Giant Slalom,1,Gold

,,Slalom,DQ Run 1/2,




Full Name,Marie Edith Bonlieu (-Vuarnet)

Used Name,Edith Bonlieu

Born,18 September 1934

Died,22 December 1995; Vercors; Isère (FRA)




1956 Winter,Alpine Skiing,Downhill,DNF,


The Vuarnet family has known the best of times and the worst of times. Jean Vuarnet first featured internationally when he won a bronze medal in the downhill at the 1958 World Championships. He was a pioneer downhiller, as he was really the first to use a deep tucked position, emphasizing its aerodynamic advantages. In 1960, he used the position to win the gold medal in the downhill at Squaw Valley, the only Olympic event in which he competed. Vuarnet also skied that year on Rossignol metal skis, and was the first skier to win a major championship using metal skis.

Jean Vuarnet

After the Olympics, Vuarnet endorsed a brand of sunglasses that took his name, and Vuarnet Sunglasses later became among the world’s most popular brands. He also spent time as a sports administrator with the French Skiing Association from 1962-71.

In 1958, Vuarnet had married Edith Bonlieu, who competed at the 1956 Olympics. Her brother was François Bonlieu, who had a much more extensive Olympic ski career than either his sister or Vuarnet. François Bonlieu competed at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Winter Olympics, competing in 6 events and winning the gold medal in giant slalom at the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics.

François Bonlieu became a member of the French ski team when he was only 15 years old. In 1954, when only 17, he won a silver medal in the giant slalom at the World Championships in Aare. In 1958, Bonlieu added a World bronze medal at the championships in Bad Gastein, Austria. He was also a two-time slalom winner at the Arlberg-Kandahar, in 1959 and 1963, and was a three-time French national champion. François Bonlieu eventually was killed in a fight in Cannes on the Promenade de la Croisette, after an argument, at only 36-years-old.

Edith Bonlieu-Vuarnet was a three-time French champion. She competed in the downhill at the 1956 Winter Olympics, but did not finish the race. Bonlieu-Vuarnet and their youngest son, Patrick, later joined the Order of the Solar Temple cult, known in France as the Ordre du Temple Solaire. The Order of the Solar Temple was founded in 1984 by Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret in Genève, Switzerland. The goals of the order were to establish the correct notions of authority and power in the world, affirm the primacy of the spiritual over the temporal, prepare for the Second Coming of Christ as a solar god-king, and assist in the unification of all Christian churches and Islam.

In 1994-95, the cult carried out mass suicides in several Swiss and French villages. The bodies were found in mass graves, dressed in ceremonial robes, lying in a circle, feet at the center, with plastic bags over their heads, and bullet wounds to the heads. Edith Bonlieu-Vuarnet and her son, Patrick Vuarnet, were among those who took their own lives.

The Undefeated Olympians

They never lost. Not once. Not when the odds were against them, not when somebody else was favored, not when the weather was bad, not when they caught a bad break along the way, not when they were not feeling so well that day. They simply never lost. They are the undefeated Olympians.

Twenty-one (21) Olympians have won 4 or more gold medals, while going undefeated at the Olympics, winning in every event in which they competed. The list is below but it deserves some closer examination.

First of all, it’s almost evenly divided – there are 10 women and 11 men on the list. But it is not evenly divided by Olympics, as only Canadian ice hockey player Caroline Ouellette has ever done this at the Winter Olympics, a feat she accomplished in Sochi with her fourth consecutive gold medal (with thanx to NBCOlympicTalk’s Nick Zaccardi for spotting this  – and inspiring this stat post)

Caroline Ouellette

Secondly, most people did this spread out over several Olympics. Only American tracksters Alvin Kraenzlein (1900) and Jesse Owens (1936) and East German swimmer Kristin Otto (1988) accomplished this at a single Olympics, with Otto winning six gold medals in 1988. Six on this list took four Olympics to pull this off – Ray Ewry (1900-08), Rudolf Kárpáti (1948-60), Al Oerter (1956-68), Lisa Leslie (1996-2008), Matthew Pinsent (1992-2004), and Ouellette (2002-14).


Al Oerter

Topping the list is Ray Ewry, and you could quibble and say that that includes 1906, but even if we skip 1906, he tops the list with 8 gold medals in 8 events in which he competed – all standing jumps.


Ray Ewry

Next comes Otto and Hungarian fencer Kárpáti with their six gold medals, followed by two names on the list that you may not have suspected, who won five gold medals – American shooter Bud Fisher, who competed in 1920-24, and Russian synchro swimmer Anastasiya Davydova, who competed 2004-12.

If we limit this list to undefeated in four individual events only, six names remain, five Americans and Otto. Ewry still leads the list with 10, or 8 if you are picky, followed by five athletes with 4 individual gold medals in 4 events – Kraenzlein (ATH; 1900), Oerter (ATH; 1956-68), Otto (SWI; 1988), Archie Hahn (ATH; 1904-06), and Pat McCormick (DIV; 1952-56).



10,10,Ray Ewry,M,S,USA,ATH

6,4,Kristin Otto,F,S,GDR,SWI

6,2,Rudolf Kárpáti,M,S,HUN,FEN

5,2,Bud Fisher,M,S,USA,SHO

5,0,Anastasiya Davydova,F,S,RUS,SYN

4,4,Archie Hahn,M,S,USA,ATH

4,4,Al Kraenzlein,M,S,USA,ATH

4,4,Pat McCormick,F,S,USA,DIV

4,4,Al Oerter,M,S,USA,ATH

4,3,Jesse Owens,M,S,USA,ATH

4,2,Chen Ruolin,F,S,CHN,DIV

4,2,Deng Yaping,F,S,CHN,TTN

4,2,Harrison Dillard,M,S,USA,ATH

4,2,Bärbel Eckert-Wöckel,F,S,GDR,ATH

4,2,Jenő Fuchs,M,S,HUN,FEN

4,2,Viktor Krovopuskov,M,S,URS,FEN

4,2,Zhang Yining,F,S,CHN,TTN

4,0,Lisa Leslie,F,S,USA,BAS

4,0,Caroline Ouellette,F,W,CAN,ICH

4,0,Matthew Pinsent,M,S,GBR,ROW

4,0,Anastasiya Yermakova,F,S,RUS,SYN


Quite a list containing many of the greatest Olympians ever. Bob Barney, Canadian Olympic historian, likes to end some of his tributes to athletes or scholars, by stating, “All honor to his/her name.” In this case, no finer acclamation could be given, so I’ll borrow from Bob. All honor to their names.

Wendell Anderson

Ice hockey player, silver medalist, governor, senator, lawyer

Full Name       Wendell Richard Anderson

Used Name    Wendell Anderson

Born                   1 February 1933; Saint Paul, Minnesota (USA)



1956 Winter,Ice hockey,2,Silver


Wendell Anderson played for the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1954, and won a silver medal in the 1956 Olympics, but his greatest fame came outside of sports. After the Olympics, Anderson entered the army where he spent the next two years. After his discharge he entered the University of Minnesota Law School, receiving an LL.B. in 1960. From then until 1970 he had a busy law practice in Minnesota, but he also became active in politics.
In 1962 Anderson was elected to the Minnesota Senate, and served until 1970. On 3 November 1970, Anderson was elected governor of Minnesota by a comfortable margin. He was re-elected governor in 1974 in a landslide victory. While in office, he expressed his concern for the environment and the family farmer by his support for new laws. He also signed into law several bills concerning judicial reform, and bills reforming existing laws on alcohol and drug use. In addition, in the inaugural World Hockey Association (WHA) draft of 1972, Anderson was drafted by the Minnesota Fighting Saints as a publicity stunt. He chose to remain governor.
With the election of Walter Mondale as Vice-President in 1976, Governor Anderson resigned to replace Mondale in the United States Senate. He served in the Senate until 29 December 1978, when he returned to the practice of law in Minnesota. From 1995-2001, Anderson was the director and head of the legal committee for Turbodyne Technologies in California.

National Abbreviations at the World Cup and Olympics

With the World Cup going on, some people have wondered about the 3-letter hashtags (#USA or #GER) used on twitter for the various competing nations. The first time that national identifying abbreviations formally appeared at the Olympics was in 1952 at Helsinki.  They were not used in the Official Report, but did appear in the Daily Programs from that year.  The abbreviations were not strictly of the 3-letter style.  A few had 4-letters (USSR, CHIN = China), while some had only 2-letters (Finland = SF, Saar = SR), and several had 2-letters separated by a dash (Czechoslovakia = T-S, Great Britain = G-B, Hong Kong = H-K, New Zealand = N-Z, Puerto Rico = P-R). They have varied greatly over the years – one can see the article on these in Journal of Olympic History (Mallon/Karlsson.  “IOC and OCOG Abbreviations for NOCs”. Journal of Olympic History 12 (2): 25–28, May 2004.)

But FIFA (the football federation) and the IAAF (the athletics federation) also have their own set of 3-letter abbreviations (3LA) – and they are not always the same.

The only time this has really come up at the World Cup is with Nigeria, which has a 3LA of NGR from the IOC and the IAAF, but is NGA per FIFA.

There are 269 “countries” recognized by the 3 organizations, although many are not technically nations, and some 30 of them are now defunct. The IOC has had 232 different recognized geo-political entities (GPEs), and currently recognizes 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs). FIFA has recognized 239 abbreviations, and currently recognizes 209 GPEs, while the IAAF has had 216 abbreviations, with 212 GPEs currently recognized. In addition, over the years, some nations change their IOC 3LA – such as Saudi Arabia, which used to be SAU, but is now KSA (=Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), and Iran, which was originally IRN by the IOC, but later changed to IRI = Islamic Republic of Iran. There are several other such examples – all noted in the article referenced above. The former Czechoslovakia alone had 8 different abbreviations used by varying Olympic Organizing Committees – T-S, CZS, CSL, CZE, CSV, CS, CZS, and TCH; and this does not include CZE and SVK after the nation split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Currently, there are 198 GPEs recognized by the IOC, FIFA, and the IAAF. Of these 23 of them differ among the organizations. In 19 cases, the IOC and IAAF agree, but FIFA has a different 3LA, while in 4 cases, the IOC and FIFA agree but the IAAF has a different 3LA. There are also 5 cases of GPEs not recognized by all 3 organizations, but which have different 3LAs. The entire list is as follows:



Antigua & Barbuda,ANT,ATG,ANT,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Bahrain,BRN,BHR,BRN,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Barbados,BAR,BRB,BAR,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Belize,BIZ,BLZ,BIZ,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

British Virgin Islands,IVB,VGB,IVB,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Burkina Faso,BUR,BFA,BUR,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Central African Republic,CAF,CTA,CAF,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

El Salvador,ESA,SLV,ESA,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Equatorial Guinea,GEQ,EQG,GEQ,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Guinea – Bissau,GBS,GNB,GBS,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Indonesia,INA,IDN,INA,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Iran,IRI,IRN,IRI,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Latvia,LAT,LVA,LAT,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Libya,LBA,LBY,LBA,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Malawi,MAW,MWI,MAW,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Nigeria,NGR,NGA,NGR,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Palestine,PLE,PAL,PLE,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

Slovenia,SLO,SVN,SLO,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF

United States Virgin Islands,ISV,VIR,ISV,FIFA differs from IOC/IAAF


Congo DR (Zaire),COD,COD,ZAI,IAAF differs from IOC/FIFA

East Timor,TLS,TLS,ETM,IAAF differs from IOC/FIFA

Romania,ROU,ROU,ROM,IAAF differs from IOC/FIFA

Serbia,SRB,SRB,SER,IAAF differs from IOC/FIFA


Anguilla,,AIA,ANG,IOC does not recognize

Faeroe Islands,,FRO,FAR,IOC does not recognize

Marshall Islands,MHL,,MSH,FIFA does not recognize

Montserrat,,MSR,MNT,IOC does not recognize

Turks & Caicos Islands,,TCA,TKS,IOC does not recognize


Paralympians in the Olympics

Has anyone ever competed in both the Olympics and the Paralympics? You probably know us well enough by now to know the answer is yes, and most people assume we are referring only to Oscar Pistorius, the South African blade runner now on trial for the murder of his girlfriend. In fact, it has happened 14 times, although 3 were sighted guides at the Paralympics. The first ever was Neroli Fairhall, the New Zealand archer who competed at the 1980 Paralympics and the 1984 Olympic Games. Fairhall was a paraplegic after a motorbike accident, and competed as an archer from her wheelchair.

Here are the 13 Olympians / Paralympians:



Orazio Fagone,ITA,STK,1988-94,2006

Neroli Fairhall,NZL,ARC,1984,1980

Paola Fantato,ITA,ARC,1996,1988-2004

Assunta Legnante,ITA,ATH,2008,2012

Craig MacLean,GBR,CYC,2000-04,2012 (sighted guide)

Robin McKeever,CAN,CCS,1998,2010 (sighted guide)

Natalia Partyka,POL,TTN,2008-12,2000-12

Oscar Pistorius,RSA,ATH,2012,2004-12

Marla Runyan,USA,ATH,2000-04,1992-96

Jeroen Straathof,NED,CYC/SSK,1994-2004,2000 (sighted guide)

Pál Szekeres,HUN,FEN,1988,1992-2012

Natalie du Toit,RSA,SWI,2008,2004-12

Sonia Vettenburg,BEL,SHO,1992,1984-88

Ilke Wyludda,GER,ATH,1992-2000,2012


See also

The Unluckiest Olympians

In 2002 at Salt Lake City I was approached by Rick Reilly, the well-known Sports Illustrated writer, who asked me if I knew who had come the closest to winning medals without actually ever winning one. He wanted to know who had been the unluckiest Olympian. Unfortunately, our database was not as strong then as it is now and I was unable to give him a quick and easy answer.

But now we can answer that question for you – who has been the unluckiest Olympian. It depends slightly on how you define “unlucky” but we’ll offer you a couple choices.

  • If you want the Olympian without a medal and the most 4th places – that would be Mariya Itkina, an early Soviet-era sprinter who placed 4th four times at the Olympics, but never mounted the podium. Itkina was 4th in the 1956 4×100 metre relay, and three times in 1960 at Rome – in the 100 metres, the 200 metres, and the 4×100 relay again. She also finished 5th in the 400 at the 1964 Olympics. She only missed the top 5 once, failing to get past the heats in the 1956 200 metres.
  • Itkina was better at other meets. She was a four-time European Champion, winning gold in the 200 and 4×1 in 1954, and winning the 400 in both 1958 and 1965. She was a 17-time Soviet Champion, and won the 200 metres at the 1957 Universiade. She also set multiple world records, especially so with 7 in the 400 metres, an event that was fairly new for women in the 1950s.
  • If Itkina does not please you as a choice, how about Lisa Curry-Kenny, an Australian swimmer. Curry-Kenny also finished 4th or 5th in 5 Olympic events, as did Itkina. She was 4th in the 1984 200 IM and 4×100 free relay, while she finished 5th in the 1980 100 metre butterfly and 4×100 free relay, and in the 1992 4×100 medley relay. Curry-Kenny also claimed a 6th place in the 1980 medley relay. In all, Curry-Kenny competed in 13 Olympic events – 7 individual and 6 relays – at the 1980, 1984, and 1992 Olympics, but never mounted a podium. Shed no tears for Curry-Kenny, though. She was a 7-time gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games, and won 10 Commonwealth medals in all. She married Grant Kenny, an Ironman competitor who also competed at the Olympics in canoeing, and did bring the family an Olympic medal with a bronze in 1984 kayak doubles.
  • Lisa Curry-Kenny became a well-known Australian television personality and product spokesperson, and has received numerous awards for her career. She has been named a Member of the Order of the British Empire, is a member of Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame, has received the Medal of the Order of Australia, the Australian Sports Medal, the Centenary Medal, and at the 2008 Australian Day Honours, was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.
  • Danish badminton player Rikke Olsen also came close without mounting the Olympic podium. Olsen competed in 6 Olympic events, and finished 4th, or =5th (losing quarter-finalist), in all of them, all in doubles or mixed doubles. Maddeningly, she competed in three bronze medal matches (1996 women’s doubles, 2000 and 2004 mixed doubles) but lost all of them to finish 4th three times. Olsen was a nine-time Danish champion in doubles events, but internationally her major win was in the mixed at the 1995 Nordic Championships. She also never managed a World Championship medal, but did win three medals at the All-England Championships, a major championship in badminton.
  • Another option could be Tie Ya Na, a Hong Kong table tennis player. She competed in 6 Olympic events from 2004-2012 and finished =5th fully five times, although in table tennis, that means she was a losing quarter-finalist each of those times. Still a frustrating Olympic career. A native Chinese who emigrated to Hong Kong, she still competes as of 2014 and has won 9 medals at the World Championships, all in doubles or team events, but all silver and bronze, never managing a world title. Her biggest international victories have been at the Asian Games, with titles in mixed doubles in 2002 and the team event in 2005.
  • Going way back, we can also mention Greek shooter Frangiskos Mavrommatis, who competed at the Olympics in 1906, 1908, and 1912. Because of the plethora of shooting events in that era, Mavrommatis competed in 24 different Olympic events (1906-9, 1908-4, 1912-11). He finished 4th twice, 5th twice, and 6th twice, for 6 appearances in the top 6. But he never managed an Olympic medal.
  • At the Winter Games, we have two athletes who have finished in the top 6 six times at the Olympics, but never won a medal. Japanese short-track speed skater Satoru Terao finished 4th in the 1994 1,000 metres, 6th in the 2006 500 metres, and 5th four times – the 2002 500 metres, and the 5K relay in 1994, 1998, and 2002. Because of the wild nature of short-track, Terao was twice eliminated in preliminary rounds because of disqualifications or falls when he and another skater collided.
  • Marie Johansson-Risby was a Swedish cross-country skiier who had two 4th-place finishes – the 1976 4×5 km relay and the 1984 5 km; two 5th-place finishes – the 1984 20 km and 4×5 km relay; and two 6th-place finishes – the 1980 4×5 km relay and the 1984 10 km. But she never managed to win an Olympic medal. Johansson-Risby was a solid international competitor for years but was never quite at the highest level. She won one World Cup race in her career, a 5 km race in Finland in 1985, her final year in competition.

So there you have it. Great competitors all, but never had the luck to win an Olympic medal, despite coming close multiple times. Salute them for their great careers nonetheless.

Olympic Flag 100th Anniversary – Not Exactly

Several tweets and blog posts have commented that 15 June 2014 was the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of the Olympic Flag. This is not actually true, as we will note below, although it is the 100th anniversary of when the now familiar flag was approved by the IOC as its official symbol, but it had actually been designed several months earlier and displayed in April 1914 in Alexandria, Egypt.

The Olympic Flag has a plain white background with no border.  In the center is what is termed the Olympic Symbol, which consists of five interconnected rings.  They form two rows of three rings above, and two below.  The rings of the upper row are, from left to right, blue, black, and red.  The rings of the lower row are yellow and green.  The rings are thought to symbolize the five continents – Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and America.  The colors of the rings are thought to have been chosen because at least one of these colors can be found in the flag of every nation. Despite some commentaries I have seen, there is no designation of any of the colors to be assigned to any specific continent.

The origin of the flag’s design is in some dispute.  It was designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin to honor and represent the 1914 Olympic Congress in Paris.  Some sources state that de Coubertin saw the rings at Delphi in 1913, but classics scholars believe this is highly unlikely and that they are of his own, modern invention. There is a picture of the rings at Delphi, but these were almost certainly added after the Olympic Flag had been unveiled. It is known that de Coubertin had written a letter in 1913 with his design for the five rings at the top of the letter.

The idea of a flag was raised by the IOC in 1910 and a special committee worked to plan it.  Several suggestions were made, notably by Theodore Cook (GBR) and Clarence von Rosen (SWE), but little progress was made until de Coubertin came up with his design.  He commented in the August 1913 edition of Revue Olympique, “These five rings represent the five parts of the world from this point on won over to Olympism and given to accepting fruitful rivalry.  Furthermore, the six colors [including the white background] thus combined reproduce the colors of all the nations, with no exception.” The flag was first flown at Chatsby Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt for the Pan-Egyptian Games on 5 April 1914.  It was presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by de Coubertin at the Olympic Congress in 1914 at the Sorbonne in Paris, where it was officially approved on 15 June 1914.  The flag was also flown in 1915 at the San Francisco Exhibition and at the 1919 IOC Session in Lausanne, before it made its début at the Olympic Games in 1920 at Antwerp, Belgium.  The “primary” Olympic Flag was thus known as “the Antwerp flag,” and has been the main Olympic Flag flown at the stadium at all Olympic Games through 1984.  In 1984, Seoul presented a new Olympic Flag to the IOC, made of fine Korean silk, which was first flown at the 1988 Olympics.  A second “primary” Olympic Flag is used for the Olympic Winter Games, which was donated in 1952 by the host city of Oslo, Norway.

The Olympic Flag is raised at the Opening Ceremony and flies over the main stadium throughout the Olympic Games.  It is lowered at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games.  The mayor of the Olympic Host City then presents the Olympic Flag to the mayor of the next Olympic Host City.  The flag is to be kept in the town hall of the host city until the next Olympic Games.

The Olympic Symbol of the five rings is now strictly regulated by the IOC, with strict design standards, and color regulations in Pantone© colors for the five rings. The Olympic Symbol and Olympic Flag are the exclusive property of the IOC and cannot be used without authorization.

NBA Champions/Medalists and the Olympics

With the San Antonio Spurs winning the NBA Title last night, here is a similar list to our Stanley Cup / Olympic Gold list. This is the list of basketball Triple Crown Winners – all those winning an NCAA Title, Olympic Gold, and NBA Championship. All 7 of the players are from the USA, as one would expect. And no, nobody on the Spurs was added to this list last night. American Tim Duncan (although he was born in the Virgin Islands and his sister, Tricia, swam for the Virgin Islands at the 1988 Olympics) on the team has an Olympic medal, playing on the bronze-medal winning 2004 team, and has won 5 NBA titles with the Spurs (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014), but Argentine Manu Ginóbili won a gold medal in 2004 and a bronze medal in 2008. He has played on NBA Champions with the Spurs in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014 and is one of the few non-Americans to have won an Olympic medal and an NBA Championship. The lists below show the 7 players to have won the Triple Crown and all non-Americans to have won an Olympic medal and an NBA title:


Name,Olympics,NCAA,NBA Titles

Quinn Buckner,1976,1976 Indiana Univ,1984 Boston Celtics

Magic Johnson,1992,1979 Michigan State Univ,1980/82/85/87-88 Los Angeles Lakers

K. C. Jones,1956,1955-56 Univ San Francisco,1959-66 Boston Celtics

Michael Jordan,1984/92,1982 Univ North Carolina,1991-93; 1996-98 Chicago Bulls

Clyde Lovelette,1952,1952 Univ Kansas,1954 Minneapolis Lakers; 1963-64 Boston Celtics

Jerry Lucas,1960,1960 Ohio State Univ,1973 New York Knicks

Bill Russell,1956,1955-56 Univ San Francisco,1957; 1959-66; 1968-69 Boston Celtics


For the record, unlike ice hockey, no player has ever won Olympic Gold, NBA/NHL Championship, and a World Championship (31 hockey players thru 2010).


Name,Olympics,NBA Titles

Toni Kukoc,1988/1992 silver (YUG/CRO),1996/97/98 Chicago Bulls

Zelly Rebrača,1996 silver (SCG),2004 Detroit Pistons

Manu Ginóbili,2004 gold/2008 bronze (ARG),2003/05/07/14 San Antonio Spurs

Fabricio Oberto,2004 gold/2008 bronze (ARG),2007 San Antonio Spurs

Pau Gasol,2008/12 silver (ESP),2009/10 Los Angeles Lakers


In addition, Hakeem Olajuwon won NBA Titles with the 1994/95 Houston Rockets and won an Olympic gold in 1996, but by then he had taken US citizenship and played for the USA. Two other foreign players who came close to this list were Luc Longley (AUS-1988/2000), Bill Wennington (CAN-1984), who both finished 4th at the Olympics (Longley twice), and played on NBA Champions – both with the Bulls from 1996-98.