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!