Farid Abou-Shadi

Today Oldest Olympians is resuming its focus on individual athletes. In this case, we are raising the mystery of Egyptian fencer, Farid Abou-Shadi, and how he might have been confused with another similarly-named fencer of his era.

(Farid Abou-Shadi, the Olympian)

This is what we know for certain. A man by the name of Ahmed Farid Abou-Shadi, born November 28, 1909, from Shibin El Kom, represented Egypt twice in sabre fencing at the Olympic Games, in 1948 and 1952, in both the individual and team tournaments. He was eliminated in the opening round of each event, except for the team sabre in 1952, where the squad survived to the quarterfinals. This individual also won three bronze medals at the World Championships (team sabre in 1949 and 1950, and team foil in 1951) and a silver medal in team sabre at the inaugural Mediterranean Games in 1951. He was a member of Cairo’s Cercle Royal d’Escrime and Haras Galalat Al-Malik (The King’s Bodyguards). We do not know what happened to the Olympian after this, although, given his date of birth, he is certainly deceased.

(M. Shafik Farid from the University of Texas Yearbook)

At the same time, however, there was another Egyptian fencer with a similar name active in sabre fencing. We first heard about him in the July 19, 1948 edition of the Egyptian Gazette, in an article titled “Egyptian Wins Sabre Tourney in Texas”:

“Shafik Farid of Cairo, won the first annual W.A. Franks Memorial Sabre tournament in Texas. Farid attends the University of Texas but his home is in Cairo where he is a member of the Royal Fencing Academy. He scored four wins and one loss.”

We then scanned through some old newspapers and discovered that his fencing exploits were covered eclectically in Texas newspapers. We learned that he founded a fencing club at the University shortly after his victory, that he had been fencing for approximately ten years as of 1947, that he was a member of the national Egyptian fencing team, that he was a graduate of Cairo University, and that his full name included an “M.” among the initials.

(Clipping from the August 14, 1947 Austin American, page 10)

It should be noted at this point that, despite the differences in name, “M. Shafik Farid” and “Farid Abou-Shadi” could indeed be the same individual. “Abou-Shadi” is an honorific, which, in Arabic, simply means “father of Shadi”, so it is a reference to his status as a parent. Since Arabic names do not follow strictly the formula of “given name, family name”, it would be entirely possible that “M. Shafik Farid” was known as “Farid, the Father of Shadi” once he had a son, but that in America he was known by his “legal” name. Many Egyptians also have multiple parts to their name, so the fact that Farid Abou-Shadi included the name “Ahmed” while Shafik Farid did not is not necessarily an indicator that they are different people.

Our next stop was contacting expert fencing historian and two-time Olympian George Masin with our findings to see if we could tease out any smoking guns that would connect these two individuals. He found information that a Mohamed Shafik Farid, born in Alexandria on November 30, 1920, was residing in Houston when he applied for US Citizenship in 1957 and changed his name to Steven Shafik Farid. Steven Farid was active in fencing in both Kansas and Texas during the 1960s, and had married Dorothy Rawls in 1953. He also provided a picture of Farid, who was a chemical engineering major, from the 1949 University of Texas Yearbook.

(Picture from Find-A-Grave)

Unfortunately, despite numerous references to his fencing career, neither of us were able to find any mention of his Olympic participation, with the closest clue being the note above that mentioned his membership in the Egyptian national team. His wife Dorothy died April 2, 1978 in Texas, but we were unable to find a record of Shafik’s death. A Shafik B. Farid born November 20, 1929 died in Florida on November 8, 2010, but although this person had lived in Texas, the date of birth makes it unlikely that this was the fencer, as having 10 years of experience in 1947 would have required him to take up fencing at the age of eight. “Steve Fared”, born November 30, 1920, was apparently living in Houston as of 2008, although these public records have noted deceased individuals incorrectly as living in the past.

Of course, if the Olympian and the Texas fencer were one and the same, then obviously there would be an error somewhere in the year of birth, as both were born in November on different dates and allegedly 10 years apart. Date of birth errors are common, so it is not outside the realm of possibility, but it is also worth noting that public records only acknowledge one son, Robert, and of course no wife other than Dorothy. So unless “Abou-Shadi” was an honorific for a non-biological son, or he left his previous family back in Egypt, it seems ultimately that all of this is just a confusing coincidence. Regardless, it demonstrates just how complicated matters can get when trying to decipher Olympic mysteries.

More Olympic Missing Links

Today on Oldest Olympians we are taking a break from focusing on individual athletes in order to bring back a past feature for a day. Since we concluded our Olympic Missing Links series several months ago, we have come across a handful of new candidates and decided that it was an appropriate time to review them. Thus, today we are once again looking at cases for whom we believed to have identified their date of death but, for whatever reason, we were unable to connect the information, such as obituary or public record, conclusively to the athlete. As always, we present them here not only in the hopes of solving some of these cases, but to continue our commitment to transparency in our research.

01AH8CER; Bozena Moserova

(Picture from Diomedia)

Božena Moserová – Member of Czechoslovakia’s alpine skiing team at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics

The international skiing career of Božena Moserová, born June 30, 1926, was relatively limited, with her most significant appearance coming at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics. There, she finished 18th in the combined, 19th in the slalom, and 25th in the downhill. She later became an obstetrician and took the married name Žemličková. The Czech-language Wikipedia lists her as dying in either 2016 or 2017, presumably at the age of 90, but although we were able to confirm that she was still alive in the 2000s, we have not been able to verify when (or even if) she died.


Kazuhiko Sugawara – Member of Japan’s speed skating delegation to the 1952 Oslo Olympics

Kazuhiko Sugawara, born May 1, 1927, was one of Japan’s top speed skaters in the immediate aftermath of World War II and won numerous national titles in the late 1940s. The peak of his career came in 1952, when he finished 15th and 7th in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres events respectively at the Oslo Olympics. By career he was an engineer at a paper factory, and the Japanese Wikipedia lists him as dying on October 27, 1962 at the age of only 35, due to kidney disease. We have thus far been unable, however, to confirm this information in other sources.

(The Brazilian team attacking the referee from Water Polo Legends)

Pedro Theberge – Member of Brazil’s water polo squad at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics

As is often the case with our Olympic missing links, we know very little about Pedro Theberge, born January 1911, especially as he was a member of a team sport rather than an individual athlete. We know nothing of his life other than that he was a member of Brazil’s water polo squad at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, which placed fifth after being suspended for attacking a referee. We were able to find a death record for a Pedro Theberge who died June 24, 1972 in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 63. This would make him born c. 1909 rather than 1911, and thus we cannot conclude for certain that this is the Olympian, despite the fact that his name is not particularly common in Brazil.


Eulogio Quiroz – Member of Peru’s boxing delegation to the 1936 Berlin Olympics

To round out our entry today, we have a particularly obscure Olympic contributor: Eulogio Quiroz, born March 11, 1914. Quiroz was slated to represent Peru in boxing’s light-heavyweight division at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but did not ultimately take part in the competition. His first bout would have been against upcoming gold medalist Roger Michelot of France, however, and thus it seems unlikely that he would have advanced. We do not know anything else about his boxing career or later life, but we did find the record of a Eulogio Quiroz Andrade born March 11, 1913 in Huacho. This individual died October 7, 1976 in Lima, but without further corroborating details on his life, we cannot verify that the person in the record and the Olympian are one and the same, despite how likely it seems.


That is it for today, but we hope that you will come back next week, when we will have even more Olympic mysteries to share with you all!

Motoo Tatsuhara

Today on Oldest Olympians, we are continuing our series of posts that are looking at a single athlete. In this case, our subject is Japanese footballer Motoo Tatsuhara, born January 14, 1913. Like Korean, Japanese is not a language in which we are able to work, but it appears that even if we were fluent, the mystery would remain.

(The 1936 Japanese football team from the Japanese Football Hall of Fame)

Tatsuhara played football at Waseda University, which was well-known at the time for its sporting culture. He made his début for the national team at the 1934 Far Eastern Championship Games and followed this up with his participation at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. There, Japan defeated Sweden 3-2 in round one, but was then bested 8-0 by the upcoming gold medalist squad from Italy. This was the end of Tatsuhara’s international career, but he continued playing through at least 1942.

After that is where the mystery begins, as there seems to be no further information on his life after World War II. In September 2014, a user added a date of death of November 1984 to Tatsuhara’s Japanese Wikipedia page:


The source, however, was not explicitly stated, although the talk page suggested it might have come from a book. This, however, was contested as being related possibly to a different individual, and the information on the Japanese Wikipedia was removed in April 2016. We here at Oldest Olympians have been unable to confirm this information elsewhere and thus we are taking it to our blog. We know that Tatsuhara is deceased, but the question is whether or not he is the individual who died in November 1984. If not, then when did he die? Like many other Olympians we have profiled, it seems that he has been unfortunately lost to history… and not just in the English language either.

Kim Nam-gu

This week on our Oldest Olympians blog, we are going to be taking a look at our third sport shooter in a row: South Korea’s Kim Nam-gu, born October 8, 1923. We here at Oldest Olympians can work with many languages, but unfortunately Korean is not one of them. Nonetheless, we were able to do enough to produce an Olympic mystery for today.

(Kim, as pictured in the article described below)

Kim’s participation at the Games was limited to one event, the trap competition in Munich in 1972, where he placed 41st in a field of 57 competitors. He had more luck at the 1974 Asian Games, however, where he took home a bronze medal from the team trap shooting tournament. He also competed at the 1966 World Championships and, by career, was a successful businessman.

Our mystery here is simple, and likely related to our inability to work effectively within the Korean language. We located an article from 2007 about Kim, then aged 84, which highlighted his status as the oldest active shooter in the South Korean federation.


We have been unable, however, to find any updates after this date, whether about his continued participation or his death, likely because his name is not an uncommon one in his country. A “last update” from 2007 is just outside of the boundaries where we would list someone in our charts as living, but usually such cases resolve themselves one way or another within a decade. Thus we are sharing this information with the internet in the hopes that someone may be able to locate additional information on what happened to him, and help us solve another one of our Olympic mysteries.