1930 Olympic Missing Links

It is the start of a new year and, for us here at Oldest Olympians, time to examine the subject of 1930 missing links, which looks 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. These cases in particular examine those who were born in 1930 and who would otherwise be the newest possibilities for our list of oldest living Olympians. We have a significant number of these individuals this year, and thus we will be splitting this topic across several blog entries over the next few weeks.

(Marcel Troupel, pictured at a 2014 ceremony at the Société des Régates d’Antibes)

Marcel Troupel – Member of France’s sailing delegation to the 1972 Munich Olympics

Marcel Troupel, born May 6, 1930, represented France in the Tempest class sailing tournament at the 1972 Munich Games, where he and his partner Yves Devillers, 18 years his junior, placed ninth in a field of 21 teams, having won the first race, but falling further behind as the competition progressed. While sometimes knowledge about Olympic sailors can be obscure, Troupel distinguished himself as a World Champion by winning the 505 class in 1968 alongside the non-Olympian Philippe Lanaverre. He was honored for this feat (among others) in 2014, so we know that he was still alive at this point, but the only trace we have been able to locate since then is a handful of obituaries for a man with the same name from October 2019. We suspect that this is the Olympian, given the uncommonness of his name, but without an age, let alone mention of his sailing career, we are unable to confirm this fact.

Hugo Vonlanthen – Member of Switzerland’s field hockey squad at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Hugo Vonlanthen, born June 12, 1930, represented Switzerland in the field hockey tournament at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where the nation lost its round one match against Austria, but defeated France in the consolation round to place ninth overall. Like many field hockey players, this is the extent of what we know about him, although we did locate an obituary for someone with his uncommon name who died April 28, 2009. While the age of this individual was one year off, an archival website notes that person who died on that date was born in 1930. Unfortunately, neither source gives a full date of birth or any indication that he was the field hockey player, and thus he remains for now a missing link.

William Fajardo – Member of Mexico’s fencing delegation to the 1960 and 1968 Summer Olympics

William Fajardo, born October 15, 1930, was a member of two Mexican Olympic fencing delegations. In 1960 in Rome he took part in the individual foil and sabre, but was eliminated in the first round of both competitions. In 1968 in Mexico City, he had the same result in the individual and team sabre tournaments. He fared much better, however, at the Central American and Caribbean Games: in 1954 he took silver in the team foil and bronze in the team sabre, while in 1959 he earned bronze in both of those events, adding a fourth bronze in the team foil in 1962. He was also sixth at the 1959 Pan American Games in individual foil. Despite these accomplishments, the only hint to his later life that we were able to uncover was the record of a William Ruy Fajardo Perez who died June 14, 2002, at the age of 71 (the correct age for the fencer) in Cuauhtémoc. Without further confirmation, however, we cannot be sure that this is a record for the Olympian.

Ken Box – Member of Great Britain’s track and field delegation to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Ken Box, born December 1, 1930, represented Great Britain in two track events at the 1956 Melbourne Games. He was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 100 metres sprint, while in the 4×100 metres relay he came in fifth with the British team. He was also entered into the long jump, but did not start the competition. Internationally, his best result came at the 1954 European Championships, where he brought home a silver medal from the 4×100 metres relay. He also represented England at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, being eliminated in the heats of the 100 metres and just missing the podium in fourth in the 4×110 yards relay. He attempted to qualify for the 1960 Rome Olympics in the long jump, but did not succeed and thus retired. He later moved to Australia and we located an obituary for a Kenneth James Box (his full name) who died in Gympie, Queensland in July 1982. Unfortunately, the obituary does not give any details, not even an age, that would suggest that this was the athlete, while a 2012 article on him was written as if he were alive, although it did not explicitly say so. Thus, we are left with another Olympic mystery.

We will continue this series next week with more Olympians who reside currently on our list of missing links. We hope that you will join us!

Last Verified Living in 2009

With another new year upon us, we here at Oldest Olympians felt that it was time to review those Olympians whose last confirmation of being alive is the furthest away; in this case, three individuals who were last verified living in 2009, or over 10 years ago. Should no updated confirmation be forthcoming, we would have to remove them from our main table, and thus we decided it was best to dedicate another blog entry to them in the hopes of uncovering whether or not they are still with us.

(Gustavo Olguín pictured at the Sociedad Mexicana de Autores de las Artes Plástica)

Gustavo Olguín – Member of the Mexican water polo squad at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

We have actually covered Gustavo Olguín, born April 14, 1925, in detail here on Oldest Olympians before, because we believe him to be the oldest living Mexican Olympian. Gustavo and two of his brothers represented their country in water polo at the 1952 Helsinki Games, but Mexico had the bad lack of being drawn against the upcoming Olympic champions from Hungary in the qualifying round and were thus eliminated. The holder of a visual arts degree from UCLA, Gustavo undertook a career in the arts, specializing in painting and engraving, and had his works exhibited around the world. He also had a reputation as a plant collector. Searching the internet suggests that he is still alive, but the last definite confirmation that we had comes from 2009. Unfortunately, without a later update, we will have to remove him from our lists and identify a new oldest living Mexican Olympian. We did find a website with contact information for him, but it was over 10 years old and thus we were unable to get a response.

(Brian Pickworth pictured on the right at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games)

Brian Pickworth – New Zealand’s lone fencer at the 1960 Rome Olympics

Brian Pickworth, born August 10, 1929, represented New Zealand in all three fencing disciplines at the 1960 Rome Games, being eliminated in the first round of the foil and sabre competitions and the second round of the épée tournament. He had more luck at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, winning bronze in the team sabre, and also competed at the 1958, 1966, and 1970 editions of that tournament. Perhaps the most interesting fact, however, is that he accomplished all of this after losing his left arm above the elbow to a shooting accident at the age of 21, which derailed his rugby career. We located some evidence that he was still alive in 2009, and his name is not found in the New Zealand Death Index, so we presume that he is still alive, but have been unable to find any confirmation.

Norman Shutt – Representative for Great Britain in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics

Norman Shutt, born November 9, 1929, represented Great Britain in both biathlon and cross-country skiing at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games. In the former sport, he was 30th in the 20 km competition, while in the latter he was 52nd in the 15 km. By career, he was a police officer. His family posted a tribute to his 80th birthday back in 2009, but we have been unable to confirm whether or not he reached his 90th birthday a decade later.

Unfortunately, our blog entry on the same topic last year did not raise any new leads, and we had to remove South African track athlete Edna Maskell, Israeli diver Yoav Ra’anan, and Luxembourg kayaker Léon Roth from our lists. We hope for better luck with our latest featured Olympians!