Older Than John Lysak?

Recently we noted the death of American kayaker John Lysak, born August 16, 1914, who was, to the best of our knowledge, the oldest living Olympian when he died on January 8, 2020. As we have mentioned in the past, however, there are approximately 2000 Olympians, non-starters, and demonstration event competitors born between 1910 and 1930 for whom we have no confirmation on whether they are alive or deceased. In addition, there are 427 individuals who participated in the Games in 1928, 1932, and 1936 for whom we have no information on their date, or even year, of birth. Today we want to focus on a small subset of those 2000, the 62 who would be older than John Lysak if they were still alive. Only one, Zahir Shah Al-Zadah, who represented Afghanistan in field hockey at the 1936 Berlin Games, was born in 1910. Five more were non-starters, so to shorten the list just a little, we are going to look at the remaining 56 by year of birth.

It should be noted that discussing these individuals in no way represents any belief on the part of Oldest Olympians that these athletes are still alive; we simply cannot confirm that they are deceased. In fact, we find it highly unlikely that any Olympian who is between the age of 106 and 109 would have somehow escaped our attention completely. It remains, however, an important caveat and is always a possibility: language barriers, poor media coverage of older athletes, and desire for privacy from a generation when the Games were not as big as they are now all contribute to the chance that someone may have eluded our radar. In the past, several Olympic centenarians have reached that milestone with little public fanfare (including John Lyask), sometimes not being revealed until their death. We feel, therefore, that it is important to share this list to make our research methods a little more public and subject to scrutiny, perhaps solving a case or two along the way.

Dora Schönemann competed in two swimming events for Germany at the 1928 Summer Olympics.


Name Nation Sport Birthday

Imam Hassan

Egypt Wrestling August 12 1911

Makoto Kikuchi

Japan Field hockey 1911

Ibrahim Okasha

Egypt Athletics 1911

Irmintraut Schneider

Germany Swimming 1911

Dora Schönemann

Germany Swimming 1911

Fumio Takashina

Japan Diving 1911

Kenichi Furuya represented Japan in ice hockey at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games.


Name Nation Sport Birthday
Kenichi Furuya Japan Ice hockey November 8 1912
Luis Jacob Peru Basketball August 13 1912
Osamu Kitamura Japan Rowing June 29 1912
Tadashi Murakami Japan Athletics October 7 1912
Hilda von Puttkammer Brazil Fencing August 13 1912
Tadashi Shimijima Japan Rowing October 8 1912
Noboru Tanaka Japan Field hockey 1912
Taro Teshima Japan Rowing July 14 1912

Tsugio Hasegawa represented Japan in figure skating at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games.


Name Nation Sport Birthday
Osamu Abe Japan Rowing August 11 1913
Sayed Ali Atta Afghanistan Field hockey August 25 1913
Juan de Giacomi Argentina Sport shooting 1913
Tsugio Hasegawa Japan Figure skating June 18 1913
Mohamed Hassanein Egypt Swimming 1913
Albino de Jesus Portugal Sport shooting August 13 1913
Ludovico Kempter Argentina Sailing November 11 1913
Hiroyoshi Kubota Japan Athletics April 29 1913
Daiji Kurauchi Japan Field hockey 1913
Pedro Landero Philippines Weightlifting October 19 1913
Jaime Mendes Portugal Athletics August 20 1913
Isamu Mita Japan Rowing March 25 1913
Amin Mohamed Egypt Boxing November 15 1913
Severino Moreira Brazil Sport shooting September 29 1913
Zafar Ahmed Muhammad Pakistan Sport shooting July 10 1913
Mie Muraoka Japan Athletics March 23 1913
Takao Nakae Japan Basketball April 30 1913
Chiyoto Nakano Japan Boxing February 7 1913
Wanda Nowak Austria Athletics January 16 1913
Dumitru Peteu Romania Bobsledding October 19 1913
Abdul Rahim Afghanistan Athletics February 11 1913
Hertha Rosmini Austria Alpine skiing November 9 1913
Shusui Sekigawa Japan Rowing May 13 1913
Chikara Shirasaka Japan Rowing August 18 1913

Toyoji Aihara represented Japan in two track events at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.


Name Nation Sport Birthday
Toyoyi Aihara Japan Athletics January 7 1914
Ion Baboe Romania Athletics April 12 1914
José Cazorla Venezuela Sport shooting February 26 1914
Hugo García Uruguay Water polo March 20 1914
Mitsue Ishizu Japan Athletics April 16 1914
Josef Jelen Czechoslovakia Boxing August 10 1914
Thea Kellner Romania Fencing March 6 1914
Grete Lainer Austria Figure skating June 20 1914
Masayasu Maeda Japan Basketball March 10 1914
Gheorghe Man Romania Fencing March 20 1914
Rosalvo Ramos Brazil Athletics June 6 1914
Julio César Sagasta Argentina Equestrian July 13 1914
Antônio Luiz dos Santos Brazil Swimming July 16 1914
Kosei Tano Japan Water polo January 22 1914
Paulo Tatto Brazil Swimming April 12 1914
Anwar Tawfik Egypt Fencing July 31 1914
Annie Villiger Switzerland Diving and swimming April 4 1914
Zenjiro Watanabe Japan Figure skating February 11 1914

For our next entry, we will be looking into those Olympians who may still be alive and were born between John Lysak and the current oldest living Olympian, Félix Sienra. We hope that you will join us!