Roberto Mieres

Sailor, race-car driver, Ferraris, Maseratis



Full Name,Roberto Casimiro Mieres

Used Name,Roberto Mieres


Born,3 December 1924; Mar del Plata (ARG)

Died,26 January 2012; Punta del Este (URU)

Measurements,165 cm / 64 kg




1960,Sailing,2-Person Keelboat (Star),Víctor Fragola,17


Roberto C. Mieres, colloquially known as “Bitito”, was born in Mar de Plata, on 3 December 1924. He belonged to a wealthy family, and was active in many sports, including tennis, rugby, rowing and yachting. In 1948, he drove his first racing car, a Mercedes.
In 1950, after having won the Argentine sportscar championship, he was invited to join his fellow countrymen, Juan Manuel Fangio and Froilán González, for some races in Europe. Driving a Ferrari, he placed fourth in the Geneva GP, a non-championship race. After that, Mieres was absent from the European circuits for several years, until Gordini offered him a ride for the 1953 season. Mieres drove three races, placing sixth in the Italian GP. For the next season, he entered the first five races of the season as a privateer, racing his own Maserati. Following the death of the Argentine Maserati driver Onofre Marimón at the German GP, Mieres was invited to join the Maserati factory team. This move immediately proved successful, with Mieres scoring fourth places in both Switzerland and Spain, and eventually sharing eighth place in the championship.

He stayed with the Maserati team for 1955. During the season opener, in front of his home crowd in Buenos Aires, Mieres briefly lead the race, but eventually finished fifth . But Maserati was no match to the strong Mercedes-Benz cars, and Mieres again placed eighth in the championship. The Dutch GP at Zandvoort was his best race, placing fourth, but recording the fastest lap. After the season, Mieres went back to Argentina, not to appear in the European racing scene again, although he would make appearances in the Buenos Aires 1000 km sportscar race in 1957 and 1958.

Mieres switched his focus from racing to sailing, and this resulted in qualification for the Olympic Games of Rome, 1960. Together with Víctor Fragola, he entered the Star class. His final classification was 17th, two spots before Prince Bira, who had also raced a Maserati in the 1954 season. Mieres later settled in the Uruguayan city of Punta del Este, where he lived until his death.

Posthumous Olympians

OK, we know, you read the title of the post and thought we had lost our minds. And “competing” in the Olympics is probably a bit of a misnomer. But the title is correct and there have been Olympians who were deceased at the time of their Olympic participation or when they were honored at the Olympics.

Not well known is that from 1912-48 there were Arts Competitions held at the Olympic Games. Artists, musicians, and writers entered their works into competitions and received medals for their work. In a number of cases the artists entered their works, but died before the Olympics and the Arts Competitions started. So effectively they competed posthumously.

Also in 1924 and 1936 the IOC awarded Alpinism Medals for the best feats of Alpinism since the previous Olympics. This is also not well-known but it is interesting that this concept was set forth by Pierre, Baron de Coubertin in his original list of events for the Olympics at the Sorbonne Congress in 1894. In several cases, some of the climbers were killed during their Olympian climbing feats, notably several members of George Mallory’s Everest expeditions in the early 1920s (see our previous post on Olympstats about Olympians Atop Everest).

So, yes, there have been posthumous Olympians. Here is the complete list:



George Bellows,USA,ART,1932

Karl Borschke,AUT,ART,1936-48

Glenn Coleman,USA,ART,1932

Alois Dryák,TCH,ART,1932

Jozuë Dupon,BEL,ART,1936

Thomas Eakins,USA,ART,1932

Frank Gillett,GBR,ART,1928

Philip Hale,USA,ART,1932

Otto Hofner,AUT,ART,1932-48

Ulrich Hübner,GER,ART,1932

Tait McKenzie,CAN,ART,1912-48

Luc Albert Moreau,FRA,ART,1948

Charles Rumsey,USA,ART,1928

Ladislav Toman,TCH,ART,1936


George Mallory,GBR,ALP,1924

Toni Schmid,GER,ALP,1932

Antarge Sherpa,IND,ALP,1924

Lhakpa Sherpa,IND,ALP,1924

Narbu Sherpa,IND,ALP,1924

Pasang Sherpa,IND,ALP,1924

Pembra Sherpa,IND,ALP,1924

Sange Sherpa,IND,ALP,1924

Temba Sherpa,IND,ALP,1924


Nations With Most Olympic Medals But No Golds

So which nations have won the most Olympic medals but never managed a gold medal? For many years, the answer to this question was Mongolia, which had won 15 medals through the 2000 Olympics, before breaking thru with 2 gold medals at Athens in 2004.

But the answer is now The Philippines, which has won 9 medals – 2 silvers and 7 bronzes, but has never won a gold medal. Well, in a sense. If we include demonstration sports, in 1988, Arianne Cerdena won the women’s bowling demonstration event at Seoul. But in full medal events, no Filipino has ever mounted the top step of the podium.

Here are all the nations that have won 2 or more Olympic medals without winning a gold medal:



The Philippines,-,2,7,9

Puerto Rico,-,2,6,8










Independent Olympic Athletes,-,1,2,3


Saudi Arabia,-,1,2,3


Sri Lanka,-,2,-,2




United Arab Republic,-,1,1,2




West Indies Federation,-,-,2,2


Two “nations” above no longer exist and will not be moving off the list. The United Arab Republic was a team formed from Egypt and Syria in 1960. Syria left the alliance in 1961, but Egypt continued to use the name at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. The West Indies Federation competed only in 1960, with athletes from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Barbados.

If we limit ourselves only to the Summer Olympics, the above list still holds – none of those nations have won a Winter Olympic medal. If we look at only the Winter Olympics, the leader is Latvia, which has won 7 Winter Olympic medals – 4 silver and 3 bronze – without winning gold. The Winter list of those winning 2 or more medals without a gold is as follows:







Korea DPR (North),-,1,1,2


Now breaking this down by gender, the following nations have won the most medals in men’s event without winning gold, which is again very similar to the overall and summer lists given above, although now Colombia is tied with The Philippines:




The Philippines,-,2,7,9

Puerto Rico,-,2,6,8
















United Arab Republic,-,1,1,2




West Indies Federation,-,-,2,2


Among women, Argentina is a big leader, with 11 female medals, but no golds. The full list is as follows:







Independent Olympic Athletes,-,1,1,2



And just to be fully anal about this, we’ll look at medals won in mixed events without a gold. Once again, Argentina leads this list with 5:











The Ukraine,-,1,1,2

Saudi Arabia,-,-,2,2


Will be fun to see which of these nations come off these lists in Rio and Pyeongchang.

Peter Camejo

Venezuelan Sailor, US Presidential Candidate, Social Activist

Full Name       Pedro Miguel “Peter” Camejo Guanche

Used Name    Peter Camejo

Born                   31 December 1939; Queens, New York (USA)

Died                   13 September 2008; Folsom, California (USA)

Vitals                179 cm / 65 kg



1960 Summer,Sailing,Two-Person Keelboat (Star),21


Although he competed in sailing for Venezuela (with his father Daniel Camejo) at the 1960 Rome Olympics, Peter Camejo is one of only four Olympians to have run for President of the United States (along with Bob Richards, Bill Bradley, and Benjamin Spock). Born to a wealthy Venezuelan family, his mother had Peter born in New York, because of the better health care, and he thus earned dual citizenship. He later attended MIT but dropped out to pursue civil rights work in the American south, and participated in civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama. He returned to school at U Cal Berkeley but was expelled in the 1960s, amazingly for Berkeley, for his vocal criticism of the Vietnam War, although ostensibly it was for “using an unauthorized microphone.” In 1968, while still a student he was placed on Governor Ronald Reagan’s list of the 10 most dangerous Californians because of his anti-war protests.

In 1976, Camejo ran for President as a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, a Trotskyist organization. On the ballot in 18 states, he received 90,986 votes nationwide. He later was tossed from the party after he alleged corruption among the leadership. In 1991 he helped establish the Californian Green Party, and he ran for Governor of California in both 2002 and 2003 as a member of that party. In 2002 he received 393,000 votes, or 5.3% of the electorate, the largest total vote by a third-party candidate for California governor since 1946. In 2004, Ralph Nader had Camejo on his ticket as a Vice-Presidential candidate. Nader and Camejo came in third in the Presidential election, after the Republican and Democratic candidates, receiving 460,000 votes, or 0.4% of the national vote.

In the last decade of his life Camejo served as the CEO of a financial investment firm that focused on socially responsible investments. He died in 2008 after a two-year struggle with lymphoma.

Olympian Suicides

Olympians have usually achieved great success in sports, but such success does not always translate to other fields, nor does it guarantee happiness in one’s life. Unfortunately a number of Olympians were unable to deal with the realities of everyday life and chose to end their own. Here is the list of Olympians who have committed suicide.



Bill Agee,USA,ATH,1928,Committed suicide by slashing his wrist.

John Albrechtson,SWE,SAI,1968-76,

Percy Almstedt,SWE,SAI,1920,Committed suicide by shooting himself.

Charles Aman,USA,ROW,1904,

Alfred Annan,USA,GOL,1904,

Yevgeny Babich,URS,ICH,1956,Committed suicide by hanging himself.

Eugène Balme,FRA,SHO,1908,

Heidi Becker-Ramlow,GDR,DIV,1972-76,

Yevgeny Belosheykin (DNS),URS,ICH,1988,

Ahmet Bilek,TUR,WRE,1960,

Edith Bonlieu,FRA,ASK,1956,Committed suicide as member of the Order of the Solar Temple.

Franco Bontadini,ITA,FTB,1912,Committed suicide after a disappointment in love.

Erich Borchmeyer,GER,ATH,1932-36,

Hugo Borja,MEX,BAS,1936,Committed suicide after his daughter died of an infection; date unknown

Günter Böttcher,FRG,HAN,1976,Committed suicide in a hospital.

Enrico Bovone,ITA,BAS,1968,

Walter Brödel,SAA,FEN,1952,

Jürgen Brümmer,FRG,GYM,1988,Committed suicide by jumping from a bridge after having killed his son.

Ricardo Cardoso,BRA,JUD,1988,Committed suicide in 1991 after a love disappointment.

Edwin Everett Codman,USA,ART,1932,

Richard Corts,GER,ATH,1928,

Ivan Viscount d’Oyley,USA,FEN,1900,Died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Sigi Denk,AUT,CYC,1972,Committed suicide by hanging.

Jacques Dimont,FRA,FEN,1968,

Christophe Dupouey,FRA,CYC,1996-00,

Knut Torbjørn Eggen,NOR,FTB,1984,Committed suicide. Noted of him that he “had come to the point of life where he was more afraid to live than to die”

István Énekes,HUN,BOX,1932,

Jackson Fear,AUS,ARC,1996,

Ragnar Fogelmark,SWE,WRE,1912,

Lucien Gaudin,FRA,FEN,1920-28,

Oskar Gloeckler,GER,ART,1928-32,

Daan de Groot,Ned NED,CYC,1952,

David Guttman,SWE,ATH,1912,Committed suicide by hanging himself.

Jerry Heidenreich,USA,SWI,1972,

Claudia Heill,AUT,JUD,2004-08,Fell from the sixth floor of her flat. It is possible that she committed suicide per original press reports.

Gabriel Hernández,DOM,BOX,1996,He committed suicide by hanging (aged 27) nine days after his last bout against Ralph Monday.

Lutz Hoffmann,GDR,GYM,1980,

Robert Howard,USA,ATH,1996-00,Committed suicide after murdering his wife.

Herbert Huber,AUT,ASK,1968,Committed suicide by hanging.

Yelena Ivashchenko,RUS,JUD,2012,Jumped from her apartment window which was on the 15th floor.

Peter Jaks,SUI,ICH,1988-92,Committed suicide by train.

Hamilton Jukes,GBR,ICH,1924,

Jo Kaiser,GER,ATH,1960,

Anneliese Kapp,GER,DIV,1936,

Kentaro Kawatsu,JPN,SWI,1932,

Per Kinde,SWE,SHO,1920,Committed suicide by hanging himself.

František Kobzík,TCH,ROW,1936,Committed suicide to avoid capture during World War II.

Yoshio Kojima,JPN,ATH,1956,

Clive Longe,GBR,ATH,1968,Committed suicide after murdering his girlfriend.

Frank Mackey,USA,POL,1900,Committed suicide – shot himself while suffering from a terminal illness.

Kersten Meier,FRG,SWI,1972,Committed suicide by jumping from a bridge.

Eugenio Monti,ITA,BOB,1956-68,

Mika Myllylä,FIN,CCS,1992-98,

Takeichi Baron Nishi,JPN,EQU,1932-36,Possibly committed suicide during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Marco Pantani,ITA,CYC,2000,

Dušan Pašek,TCH,ICH,1984-88,Committed suicide by shooting himself.

Víctor Peralta,ARG,BOX,1928,Committed suicide; shot himself while suffering from terminal prostate cancer

Nils Persson,SWE,SAI,1912,Committed suicide by hanging himself.

Jeret Peterson,USA,FRS,2002-10,Died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head; found in Lambs Canyon (Utah).

Antonio Pettigrew,USA,ATH,2000,Committed suicide by an overdose of pills containing diphenhydramine.

Dan Pippin,USA,BAS,1952,

Vladimír Podzimek,Tch TCH,SKJ,1984,Committed suicide by hanging himself.

Andrey Prokofyev,URS,ATH,1980,Committed suicide by hanging himself.

Pierre Quinon,FRA,ATH,1984,

Fausto Radici,ITA,ASK,1976,Committed suicide by shooting himself with a handgun.

Rhoda Rennie,RSA,SWI,1928,

Guy Revell,CAN,FSK,1964,

Jesús Miguel Rollán,ESP,WAP,1988-04,Died after a fall from a balcony of a rehabilitation clinic where he was treated for depression – possibly he committed suicide.

Ludwig Count von Salm-Hoogstraeten,AUT,TEN,1912,Committed suicide by jumping to avoid capture by Nazis.

Stephen Scherer,USA,SHO,2008,Committed suicide by shooting himself.

Thomas Schleicher,AUT,JUD,1996,Committed suicide while in prison.

Shamil Serikov,URS,WRE,1980,

Christine Smith,AUS,ASK,1964,

Boris Strel,YUG,ASK,1980-84,

Doc Strong,USA,WRE,1936,Committed suicide in a jail cell where he sat for public drunkenness.

Willy Sulzbacher,FRA,FEN,1900,Committed suicide by shooting himself.

Darren Sutherland,IRL,BOX,2008,

Gholam Reza Takhti,IRI,WRE,1952-64,Officially he committed suicide but a lot of sources mention theories about being murdered for his political activities.

Hidemitsu Tanaka,JPN,ROW,1932,

Harold Thomas,NZL,BOX,1932,Committed suicide by jumping from a train few hours after his fiancee’s death.

Adán Torres,ARG,ATH,1948,Committed suicide upon becoming disabled after being struck by a vehicle – date unknown.

Fritz Traun,GER,ATH/TEN,1896,

Kokichi Tsuburaya,JPN,ATH,1964,

Ernst Udet,GER,ART,1936,Committed suicide –  shot himself after years of alcoholism and drugs

Vladimír Vávra,TCH,WRE,1928,

Sammy Wanjiru,KEN,ATH,2008,Committed suicide after being found in love triangle by his wife.

Billy Ward,AUS,BOX,2012,

Mike Whitmarsh,USA,BVO,1996,

Percy Williams,CAN,ATH,1928-32,

John Wood,CAN,CAN,1968-76,

Hiromi Yamafuji,JPN,CYC,1964,

Ikuko Yoda,JPN,ATH,1964,

Masami Yoshida,JPN,ATH,1984-92,


TOP Sponsorship

It was announced recently that Bridgestone has signed with the IOC through 2024, renewing their commitment as a TOP Sponsor. TOP originally stood for The Olympic Programme, but was changed a few years ago to stand for The Olympic Partners. TOP was a program started in the early 1980s by Dick Pound and Juan Antonio Samaranch as a way to help make the IOC less dependent on the largesse of American television networks, which through the 1970s provided almost all the income received by the IOC and the Olympic Family. The principle of TOP was to have only a few sponsors who would pay high rights fees to be exclusive Olympic Sponsors within their category. Thus Coca-Cola could be a sponsor, but TOP exclusivity would prevent Pepsi-Cola from also joining the group.

Bridgestone TOP Sponsor

Over the years the IOC has had 29 different TOP Sponsors, starting with TOP I from 1985-1988. There have been a maximum of 12 companies in any Olympiad, after having 8 companies involved with TOP I. Below we provide a table of all the TOP Sponsors and the years they have been part of the program, along with numbers and estimates of the moneys generated by TOP. Originally the IOC announced how much money was generated by TOP, but the contracts have become somewhat more secretive so for the more recent years (and coming years), the numbers are estimates.

There have been commitments for TOP IX and TOP X through 2024 from both Panasonic and Bridgestone. Panasonic has been a TOP Sponsor for all 10 versions of the program, the only company to date with that distinction, although I suspect it is highly likely that both Coca-Cola and VISA will renew their sponsorship and join Panasonic as TOP Sponsors for every version of the program. Other long-running sponsors are McDonalds, now committed thru 6 TOP programs, and Samsung, committed thru 5 TOP programs. Of note, Coca-Cola’s Olympic sponsorship dates back thru 1928, as the longest running Olympic sponsor, well predating TOP.

A few companies have opted in for one Olympiad and never renewed. Included in this group are Acer, FedEx (then Federal Express), Johnson & Johnson, Lenovo, Manulife, Mars, Ricoh, and Schlumberger/SEMA.





Atos Origin,,,,,,x,x,x,x,,4

Bausch & Lomb,,x,x,,,,,,,,2




Dow Chemical,,,,,,,x,x,x,,3

Federal Express,x,,,,,,,,,,1

General Electric,,,,,,x,x,x,x,,4


John Hancock,,,x,x,x,,,,,,3

Johnson & Johnson,,,,,,x,,,,,1







Panasonic (Matsushita),x,x,x,x,x,x,x,x,x,x,10


Proctor & Gamble,,,,,,,x,x,x,,3



Schlumberger SEMA,,,,,x,,,,,,1

Time/Sports Illustrated,,x,x,x,x,,,,,,4




Number of Sponsors,8,12,10,11,10,12,11,11,10,2,29

Money (millions $US),$96,$172,$279,$579,$663,$866,$958,$1155,$1150,$250,$6168





Did an eight year old compete and win a medal at the Olympics?

When it comes to tracking down missing biographical details for Olympians who competed over a hundred years ago you might expect the trail to be pretty cold by now – and you’d be right. Without divulging too much of our methods, I’ll just say that it can be done if you’re willing to put in the hard yardage cross referencing known information with newspaper reports, censuses, birth records and even ships’ manifests. The best person I know at this is my Estonian colleague Taavi Kalju and it was while researching some French and Belgian Olympians from the early part of the last century that he found a surprising piece of information. The star of this story is about as obscure an Olympian as you could possibly find, a Belgian coxswain who steered the Royal Club Nautique de Gand (Dutch Koninklijke Roeivereniging Club Gent) rowing eight in the Olympic Games of 1900 and 1908 by the name of Alfred Van Landeghem.

Taavi searched the birth registers of Ghent for a possible match and found only one. Now this is where things get interesting because this Alfred Van Landeghem was born on the 26th October 1891 which would make him 8 years and 316 days old when he competed at the Paris Olympic Games of 1900. Not surprisingly that would make him the youngest known Olympian ever and, since his team placed second in the final, the youngest known Olympic medallist ever as well. The 1900 Olympic rowing events were notable for the use of very young coxswain. Some, like the mysterious young French boy picked out of the crowd as a replacement cox for the Dutch pair, have vanished into history without their name or age being recorded for posterity. (There is a name we have seen but we don’t trust it, and won’t even publish it here.) A picture of the late substitute exists which suggests he may be in his early teens or possible as young as 10.

So what of Van Landeghem? Was he really an 8-year-old Olympic medallist? No pictures seem to exist of his Olympic exploits but a postcard was published of the Belgian crew at the 1909 Henley Regatta.

Offical result of the final 1909
Van Landeghem is sitting directly in front of the trophy.

The Van Landeghem born in 1891 would be 17 in 1909 and this appears to tally with the appearance of the man in the picture. Van Landeghem was a cox of Royal Club Nautique de Gand from 1900-1903 winning multiple European titles in coxed pairs, fours and eights.
In the following years Royal Club Nautique de Gand used other coxes (Raphael Van der Waerden & Rodolphe Colpaert), but in 1908 and1909 again Van Landeghem was against used as cox for his club, including at the 1909 Henley Regatta. Ghent crews were very prominent in European rowing circles in early 1900s, winning multiple European titles and the Henley Regatta Grand Challenge Cup in 1906, 1907 and 1909.

Sadly there is a tragic postscript to this story as he died on 19 October 1914, a week shy of his 23rd birthday. It may well be that he was killed in action, as 19 October was the first day of the Battle of Ypres although his name does not appear on the lists of Belgian war dead that we have so far found.

We have been in touch with his club who are helping us with our enquiries but, at the moment, all we can say it that seems likely that we have the right man though we don’t have that final piece of conclusive evidence.
If anyone can help on this matter feel free to contact us via this blog or by contacting

Farhang Mohtadi



Full name,Farhang Mohtadi

Original name,فرهنگ مهتدی

DOB,6 January 1926






Farhang Mohtadi played basketball for Iran at the 1948 Olympics. He had earned a B.E. degree from Teheran University in 1945 but in 1948 was studying at Birmingham University in England. Mohtadi was better known as a tennis player and during his years in England played at Wimbledon seven consecutive years (1949-55), although he lost in the first round each year. In 1954 he lost in the final of the North England Hardcourts Championships to Polish player Ignacy Tłoczyński.

He eventually earned a B.Sc. degree and later a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Birmingham. Mohtadi finally settled in Canada where he taught at the University of Calgary, where he served as chairman of the department of chemical and petroleum engineering and director of public relations in the engineering department.

His son, Nick Mohtadi, played briefly on the professional tennis tour, including a bronze medal win at the 1979 World University Games in mixed doubles and one doubles appearance at Wimbledon. Nick Mohtadi later became a renowned orthopaedic surgeon, with special expertise in sports medicine and clinical epidemiology.

Olympians Swimming the English Channel

The best known long-distance swim in the world is a crossing of the English Channel, connecting Dover, England and either Calais or Cap Griz Nez, France. It was first done in 1875 by Matthew Webb, but it was another 36 years before the feat was repeated, this time by Bill Burgess, a British swimmer who had competed at the 1900 Olympics, making him the first Olympian to swim the Channel.

Since that time, it has been performed multiple times by Olympians, as one would expect. In 1926 Trudy Ederle, who had won 2 bronze medals and a gold medal at the 1924 Olympics, became the first woman to make the crossing, swimming from Cap Griz Nez in France to Dover. Ederle was trained for her swim by Bill Burgess.

The most successful Olympic swimmer to have swum the English Channel was likely John Kinsella, who won a silver medal in the 1968 1,500 freestyle and a gold medal in the 1972 4×200 free relay. Kinsella crossed the Channel in 1979, swimming from England-to-France.


Athlete,Nation(s),Sport(s),Era,Channel Swims

Greta Andersen,DEN,SWI,1948-52,1957/58/59/64/65 Five successful attempts (Best 13:40). France-to-England in 1957/58/59; England-to-France in 1964/65.

Miguel Arrobas,POR,SWI,1992,2008 England-to-France (9:30).

Bill Burgess,GBR,SWI/WAP,1900,1911 England-to-France (22:35). Second swimmer to cross English Channel in 1911.

Bimal Chandra,IND,SWI,1948,1959 France-to-England (13:50).

Edith van Dijk,NED,SWI,2008,2003 France-to-England (9:08)

Trudy Ederle,USA,SWI,1924,1926 France-to-England (14:39). First woman to swim English Channel. Third person to swim France-to-England.

Jo O-Ryeon,KOR,SWI,1972,1982 England-to-France (9:35).

John Kinsella,USA,SWI,1968-72,1979 England-to-France (9:10).

Yury Kudinov,KAZ,SWI,2012,2007 (7:05)

Linda McGill,AUS,SWI,1964,1965/1967 [3] All France-to-England (Best 9:59 (1967)). Three crossings in 1967. 9:59 at the time a record for women.

Eva Mortensen,DEN,SWI,1988,1996 England-to-France (10:46).

Veljko Rogošić,YUG,SWI,1960-64,2004 England-to-France (11:27) at the age of 63.

Gilles Rondy,FRA,SWI,2008,2004 England-to-France (7:54)

Arati Saha,IND,SWI,1952,1959 France-to-England (16:20).

Petar Stoychev,BUL,SWI,2000-12,2006 England-to-France (7:21); 2007 England-to-France (6:57) – first crossing under 7 hours and record time from 2007-2012.

Edward Temme,GBR,WAP,1928-36,1927 France-to-England and 1934 England-to-France (15:34). First swimmer to cross English channel in both ways.

Rostislav Vítek,CZE,SWI,2008,2009 England-to-France (7:16)


Olympian Names

So we got asked what was the most common name for an Olympic athlete, which led to a little research into the names of Olympians.

First off, the answer to that question is Kim, the most common Korean name, with fully 597 Olympians so-named. Kim is followed by the second most common Korean name – Lee, although that name is used in other English-speaking nations as well. There have been 423 Lee Olympians. The remainder of the names used by more than 100 Olympians are as follows:





















Smith is the most common Anglo-Saxon name with 260 Olympians, although if we count the variants of Anderson (85) / Andersen (100) / Andersson (117), there are 302 of them. Another name that should be higher on the above list is Singh. Singh is the common male surname for Indian Sikhs, but it is often a compound surname, such as Singh Grewal. If you include all the Singhs with the compounds, there are 186 such Singh Olympians.

So what’s the shortest name of any Olympian. The award goes to North Korean table tennis player O Il who competed at the 2004 Athens Games. His name has only 3 letters. The only 4-letter names are E Jie, a 1992 Chinese female fencer, and Li Na, the well-known female Chinese tennis player. In all, there have been 48 Olympians with a single-letter surname, all vowels, and every vowel is represented, as follows:









All 48 are from either China, Hong Kong, DPR Korea (North), or Chinese Taipei (Taiwan).

So which Olympian has had the longest name? This is a more difficult question with multiple sub-categories. If we include titles, such as the Duchess of Cambridge, who is not an Olympian, the answer is easy. The longest name belongs to 1920 Spanish polo player Jacobo Fitz-James. Fitz-James has a title, in fact, he has a few titles, or more properly, he’s got a whole slew of them. His title is fully: XVII Duque de Alba de Tormes, 10th Duke of Berwick, Duque de Arjona, XVII Duque de Huescar, X Duque de Liria y Jérica, Duque de Montoro, XIII Conde-Duque de Olivares, Marqués del Carpio, Conde de Baños, Conde de Lemos, Conde de Lerín, Conde de Miranda del Castanar, Conde de Monterrey, Conde de Osorno, Conde de Siruela, Condestable de Navarra, XI Marqués de la Algaba, Marqués de Andrade, Marqués de Ardales, Marqués de Ayala, XIII Marqués de Barcarrota, Marqués de Casarrubios del Monte, XVIII Marqués de Coria, Marqués de Eliche, Marqués de Fuentes de Valdepero, Marqués de Fuentiduena, Marqués de Galve, Marqués de los Gelves, Marqués de Mirallo, Marqués de Modica, Marqués de la Mota, Marqués de Moya, Marqués de Osera, Marqués de Piedrahita, Marqués de Salvatierra, Marqués de San Esteban de Gormaz, Marqués de San Leonardo, Marqués de Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Marqués de Sárria, Marqués de Tarazona, Marqués de Valdunquillo, Marqués de Villalba, Marqués de Villanueva del Fresno, Marqués de Villanueva del Río, 10th Earl of Tinmouth, Vizconde de la Calzada, 10th Baron of Bosworth, Caballero del Orden del Toisón de Oro. Which takes up 1,126 characters – and most of a page on this blog.

So let’s omit titles. Now we have to look at what we term Used Names and Full Names. A Used Name is something like Carl Lewis, while his Full Name is Frederick Carleton “Carl” Lewis. Again we have a problem defining terms – should we include the female athletes with multiple hyphenated married names? If we do, the Olympian with the longest Used Name is Slovakian biathlete Martina Jašicová-Schwarzbacherová-Halinárová – 36 characters long.

If we omit hyphenated names, the longest used names are Patricia Galvin de la Tour d’Auvergne, an American equestrienne from 1960-64, and Jacques De Wykerslooth De Rooyesteyn, a 1924 Belgian modern pentathlete. But Galvin de la Tour d’Auvergne is her name after marriage (she was born Patricia Galvin), so De Wykerslooth De Rooyesteyn becomes the longest Used Name (28 characters).

But looking at non-hyphenated and non-compound names, we have three women with Used Names of 20+ characters, led by the Malagasy swimmer (2004-08) Tojohanitra Andriamanjatoarimanana (22), then the Thai weightlifter (2008) Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon (21), and finally the 1992 Fijian judoka Asenaca Lesivakaruakitotoiya (20). Among men, the two longest are 1972-76 Indian hockey player Govinda Billimogaputtaswamy (19) and 1948 Greek fencer Nikolaos Khristogiannopoulos (19).

Looking at Full Names, the two longest are two Liechtensteiner alpine skiiers – Max Emanuel Maria Alexander Vicot Bruno de la Santisima Trinidad y Todos los Santos von Hohenlohe Langenburg (107), and Konstantin Franz Nikolaus Karl Heinrich Dagobert Anton von Padua Ildefons Maria von Liechtenstein (96). For the record, their surnames are, respectively, von Hohenlohe Langenburg and von Padua Ildefons Maria von Liechtenstein.

If we again try to be restrictive and omit compound surnames, or those with particles (de, von, etc.), the longest full name belongs to an Austrian shooter from 1952-64 – Ladislaus Peter Maria Gabriel Antonius Benedikt Bonaventura Szapáry (66). The American record belongs to the renowned swimmer Duke Paoa Kahino Makoe Hulikohoa Kahanamoku, with a 42-character name.

So there you have it. Which proves, if nothing else, that its dangerous to ask the OlyMADMen a seemingly simple question about Olympic statistics.