We are still trying to catch up on our missed blog entries here at Oldest Olympians, so we have decided to devote one to a single Olympian, French field athlete Paulette Veste, whom we believe to be still alive, but whose situation deserves a little more space than we would normally dedicate to a Twitter, or even Facebook, post.
Veste, born February 24, 1928, took up athletics during World War II and began competing in earnest after the conflict, specializing in the shot put and discus throw. She won six national titles (three each) in those events between 1948 and 1953 and attended two editions of the Olympics: in 1948 she was fourth and tenth in the shot put and discus respectively, while in 1952 she was ninth and sixteenth in the same events. In-between, she was sixth in the discus at the 1950 European Championships. She also set two official French records in the discus in 1948. Her last competitive year was 1953, after which she married and moved to the United States, settling in Florida and becoming a naturalized citizen.
(Veste, pictured at the Fédération française d’athlétisme)
The source of confusion comes from when, and if, she died. The Fédération française d’athlétisme lists her as having died on March 1, 2014, which seems straightforward enough, as their data is comprehensive and well-researched. We recently uncovered a story in the French press, however, that mentioned her as being alive at the age of 90. This was not an oversight or assumption that she was still alive; rather, it contained an interview with her and referenced activity at least as recently as 2016, if not contemporary to the article’s 2018 publishing date. While sources in the past have discussed Olympians as if they were alive, only for them to turn out deceased later, in this case we feel fairly confident that Veste is still alive, or at least was as of 2018, and that the Fédération française d’athlétisme is mistaken.
(Veste, pictured in the 2018 article)
We hope that this clarifies any confusion about why Veste is listed as alive on our tables, yet deceased on other sites. We are still in the process of catching up on blog entries, so we aim to have another one out soon and, as always, we hope you will join us for it!