Australian Olympic Mysteries, Part 1

Thanks to some dedicated recent work from Connor Mah, as well as generally good data from the country, we know the death dates of most Australian Olympians who were born before 1931. Today on Oldest Olympians, we wanted to see if we could perhaps address the few remaining cases on our list. In total, there are 11 Australian individuals who are missing dates of death, so today we are going to look at the five individuals who are definitely deceased, but for whom we do not know the exact date.

(Rusty Cook, pictured in the March 12, 1936 edition of The Queenslander)

Rusty Cook – Member of Australia’s boxing delegation to the 1936 Berlin Olympics

As a lightweight, Arthur Leonard “Rusty” Cook, born April 20, 1912, won a gold medal in the boxing tournament at the 1934 British Empire Games. He had less success as a welterweight, however, and was eliminated in round two of the 1936 Berlin Olympics by upcoming gold medalist [Sten Suvio]() of Finland. He turned professional in 1938, but gave up the sport less than a year later due to conflicts with his business interests. We have some suggestion that he died October 10, 1991, but have not been able to verify that yet.

Bert Harris – Member of Australia’s wresting delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

Bert Harris, born c. 1916, wrestled for Australia in the flyweight, freestyle event at the 1948 London Games, but was eliminated after losing his first two bouts. He had much better luck at the 1950 British Empire Games, where he won the gold medal in that competition. There is some indication that he may have been born closer to 1918 and died in 1982, but we have not yet been able to confirm this.

Alexander Martonffy – Member of Australia’s fencing delegation to the 1956 and 1964 Summer Olympics

Alexander Martonffy, born May 7, 1919, represented Australia in three sabre fencing events across two editions of the Olympic Games. In 1956, he was eliminated in round one with the team, while in 1964 he had the same result in both the individual and the team tournaments. The height of his sporting career came at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, when he took silver with the sabre team. Although we know that he is deceased, we have been unable to locate an exact date, or even a year.

Charles Green – Member of Australia’s track and field delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

Charles Green, born August 15, 1921, represented Australia in the 110 metres hurdles at the 1948 London Games, where he was eliminated in round one of the competition. He later became a medical doctor and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners announced his death in 2009. Unfortunately, the notice did not provide an exact date, or even a year, and the document has since been removed from the internet.

(Bev Scott’s Olympic tracksuit, from the auction site)

Bev Scott – Member of Australia’s wrestling delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Finally, we do not know much about Bev Scott, born November 11, 1922, aside from his Olympic participation. At the 1952 Helsinki Games, he represented Australia in the wrestling’s welterweight, freestyle division, where he was eliminated in round three. His Olympic tracksuit was auctioned off c. 2018, which suggests that he is deceased, but we have not been able to confirm this.

That is enough names for now, but we hope that you will join us next week when we look into Australian Olympic mysteries that may still be living!

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