Adli Roushdi

We could not end 2020 without featuring at least one more Olympian from our nation of specialization, Egypt. We wanted, therefore, to quickly cover a competitor whom we discovered earlier this year was among the longest-lived Egyptian Olympians: Adli Roushdi.

Egyptian gymnast Mohamed Roushdi performs on the rings at the Empress Hall, Earl’s Court, during the London Summer Olympics, 12th August 1948. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

(Roushdi, pictured at Getty Images)

When we started researching Roushdi, we had very little to go on. We believed that his name was Mohamed Roushdi, and all we knew for certain was that he had represented Egypt in the gymnastics tournament at the 1948 London Olympics. There, he finished 13th out of 16 nations with the team and had a best individual finish of 50th in the rings. Eventually we discovered a middle initial of “A”, but otherwise even Egypt’s top newspaper, Al-Ahram, had very little to say.

(Roushdi, pictured in his obituary)

As it turned out, we were looking in the wrong places. As we later learned from his obituary, Roushdi was born in Cairo on July 21, 1921, but moved to the United States in 1937, while still a teenager, and went by the name Adli Roushdi. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he was not only a gymnastics star, but also played basketball and swam. His later career saw him running swimming schools in California, working as a realtor in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and eventually retiring to Columbia, South Carolina, where he died on April 28, 2016, at the age of almost 95.

His age places him among the longest-lived Egyptian Olympians, but more importantly we are happy to reconnect his Olympic identity with the rest of his life and legacy. This will likely be our last blog post for 2020, but we hope that you will join us in the new year as we explore more about the world’s Oldest Olympians!

Saw Hardy

In order to take an opportunity to catch up on blogging, today Oldest Olympians is looking into a case from a country that it has not covered previously. While today its official English language name is Myanmar, when boxer Saw Hardy, our Olympian of the day, represented it at the Games, it was known in English as Burma.

We have only been able to confirm two facts about Hardy in our research (“Saw” is an honorific equivalent roughly to “Mr.”). First, prior to his appearance at the Olympics, he was a police constable and saw success competing in police boxing tournaments. Second, he took part in the bantamweight competition at the 1948 London Games, where he received a bye in round one and was then defeated by Albert Perera of Sri Lanka in round two.

Aside from this information, we know nothing for certain. The Olympic entry lists have him as being born c. 1916, but this may be only a guess and he may be a few years younger. While the language barrier is considerable in terms of investigating his later life, researcher Connor Mah did come across notes of a Havildar (a military rank) Saw Hardy who was a former police officer that served during World War II:

This Saw Hardy was born in 1921 according to the discussion above. A 2016 report, however, lists this Saw Hardy as being 99 – which aligns with a c. 1916 birth year – and includes a picture, but unfortunately does not discuss his past sufficiently to prove that he was the boxer. If it were him, however, he would certainly be among the oldest Olympians, probably the longest-lived Burmese Olympian, and may even have became a centenarian. As it stands, however, this case will remain an Olympic mystery for now.

(Charles Green’s death information from The Government of Western Australia’s Metropolitan Cemeteries Board)

This is our quick post for the day, but we also want to acknowledge one more solved Olympic mystery. “The Pope” posted a link in our blog comment section that demonstrated that Charles Green, who we covered recently as being among our Australian Olympic mysteries, died May 6, 2009, at the age of 87. We wish to extend our gratitude to them for sharing this information.

Miscellaneous Olympic Missing Links, Part 2

Today Oldest Olympians is continuing its previous blog post, which looked at some of the missing links that we encountered during 2020. These are individuals for whom we believe that we have a date of death, but cannot confirm that the information is accurate. Today, we are going to cover three cases that were noted as deceased on Wikipedia, but nowhere else.

Amedeo Banci – Member of Italy’s field hockey delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Amadeo Banci, born August 18, 1925, was a member of Italy’s field hockey squad at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where the nation lost its matches in both round one and the consolation quarterfinals. Banci had a successful career on the national scene during the early 1950s, but otherwise we have been able to uncover little else about him. An anonymous user added a date of death of December 24, 2013 to his English language Wikipedia page, but without a source. Unfortunately, we have been unable to confirm this information elsewhere.

Adolfo Yedro – Member of Argentina’s rowing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

Adolfo Yedro, born December 14, 1922, represented Argentina in the coxed fours rowing event at the 1948 London Games, where his country lost in round one against the upcoming silver medalists from Switzerland, and then again in the repêchage against Great Britain. He had much more success at the 1951 Pan American Games, where he took home the gold medal in the double sculls with Mario Güerci (another Olympian for whom we are missing a date of death). He had a successful domestic career in the 1940s and 1950s, but the only evidence of his death that we have been able to find was a note that he died February 21, 1989, left on Wikipedia, that remains unconfirmed.

Chang Lo-Pu – Member of Taiwan’s boxing delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics

Chang Lo-Pu, born February 2, 1929, represented Taiwan in the middleweight boxing tournament at the 1960 Rome Games, where he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by upcoming champion Eddie Crook. A military boxer, he had his greatest success at the 1958 Asian Games, where he took home the gold medal. He later owned a boxing training center and operated a shipping cleanup business, and while the Chinese-language Wikipedia claims that he died in 2005, we have not been able to prove this in other sources.

We want to conclude this blog by thanking Paweł Kwiatkowski, who helped demonstrate that the architect Orhan Adaş who was listed as having died in September 1984 was indeed the Olympian, as he uncovered another article that noted him as an architect and fencer! We are a bit behind in our blogging, but we will have new topics for you all in the near future and hope that you will join us for them!

Miscellaneous Olympic Missing Links, Part 1

Now that we have entered December, it is time at Oldest Olympians to begin to wrap our business from this year and prepare for new data in the upcoming one. Today we wanted to catch up on some of the missing links that we have encountered in 2020; these are individuals for whom we believe that we have a date of death, but cannot confirm that the information is accurate. To begin, we are going to look at five individuals where we have data that we cannot link conclusively to the Olympian.

(Grave of Frank William Daniels at BillionGraves)

Frank Daniels – Alternate on the boxing delegation of the United States to the 1948 London Olympics

Frank William Daniels, born August 21, 1927, was originally from Illinois, but moved to Bakersfield, California and took up boxing as a middleweight. At the trials for the 1948 London Olympics, he was runner-up to Washington Jones and was thus selected as an alternate for the Games, although he did not ultimately compete. Given his common name and relatively low profile, we have been unable to learn much more about Daniels, but we did find a grave in Riverside, California for a Frank William Daniels, born August 21, 1928, who died April 9, 1990. While we suspect strongly that this is the boxer, we have been unable to confirm it for certain.

Valdir – Member of Brazil’s football squad at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Valdir Villas Boas, born June 3, 1925, was a member of the Brazilian football squad at the 1952 Helsinki Games that was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the tournament by Germany. Domestically, Valdir’s career lasted from 1947 through 1954 and included stints with Flamengo (1947-1949), Fluminense (1950), São Cristóvão (1951 and 1954), and Bonsucesso. We discovered the record in Rio de Janeiro’s Civil Registration of a Waldyr Villas-Bôas who died December 15, 1981 at the age of 57, which would be one year off of the Olympian if our current birth date were correct. This seems to be a likely, if unproven, candidate for the Olympian.

(John Lake, pictured on the far right, in the final of the sprint at the 1900 Paris Games)

John Lake – Bronze medalist in cycling for the United States at the 1900 Paris Olympics

John Henry Lake, born July 27, 1877, won a bronze medal for the United States in the sprint event at the track cycling tournament of the 1900 Paris Games and also competed in the 25 kilometers race. He was a national record holder at several distances and also a bronze medalist in the sprint at the World Championships. We know that he was still alive in 1942 and living in Staten Island in New York and thus we suspect that the John Lake listed in the New York Death Index as having died March 24, 1954 is likely the Olympian. We have, however, been unable to prove this.

Orhan Adaş – Member of Turkey’s fencing delegation at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Sabre fencer Orhan Adaş, born March 15, 1916, represented Turkey in both the individual and team events at the 1936 Berlin Games, and was eliminated in the opening round and the quarterfinals respectively. He continued to compete through the 1930s, but seems to have disappeared from the fencing scene after World War II. On September 21, 1984, the Turkish newspaper Milliyet published an obituary for an individual of this name, which seems a likely candidate for the fencer, although it is brief and mentions neither an age nor a sporting career.

(Graham Vines, pictured at Cyclopunk)

Graham Vines – Member of the British cycling delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Graham Joseph Vines, born October 9, 1930, represented Great Britain in the road race at the 1952 Helsinki Games, finishing 31st individually and 11th with the national team. Vines had a successful cycling career in the 1950s, winning the national road championship as an amateur in 1952 and as a professional in 1955. He is also seen with a year of birth of 1932, and the England and Wales Death Index lists a Graham Joseph Vines as having died on March 10, 2019. Without an obituary to back up this entry, however, we are unable to confirm that it belongs to the cyclist.

Finally, we wanted to conclude with a few updates to previous blog entries. Research by Connor Mah and Rob Gilmore has confirmed that the California Death Index record for Alfred Stefani, born August 28, 1926 and died October 2, 1992, was indeed the Canadian rowing Olympian. The son of Olympic swimmer Jackie LaVine, meanwhile, confirmed that his mother was still alive as of September 2020. Finally, we heard from no less than Australian Olympian Trevor Vincent that Dave “The Flying Milkman” Stephens, one of our recent Australian Olympic mysteries, is still alive. In a few days, we will be continuing our look into these miscellaneous Olympic missing links by looking at a handful of Olympians who were declared deceased on Wikipedia, but nowhere else. We hope that you will join us!