1931 Olympic Missing Links

In order to keep up the momentum of blog posts, today we are going to take a look at Olympic missing links that were born in 1931. These are individuals for whom we believe that we have a date of death, but cannot confirm that the information is accurate. After scanning every Olympian born in 1931, we have come up with four such cases.

(Pietro Marascalchi pictured at Euro Bis)

Pietro Marascalchi – Member of Italy’s wrestling delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics

Pietro Marascalchi, born August 1, 1931, represented Italy in the heavyweight, freestyle wrestling tournament at the 1960 Rome Games, where he just missed the podium in fourth. He had placed fifth at the 1959 World Championships and later appeared in several films as an actor. The Italian Wikipedia lists him as having died April 17, 2019 in Cittadella, but we have been unable to confirm this.

(Death notice for a Marcel Moget)

Marcel Moget – Member of the Swiss basketball team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Marcel Moget, born April 23, 1931, was a member of the Swiss basketball team that was eliminated in the qualification round at the 1952 Helsinki Games. Domestically, Moget played for Genève BC, but otherwise we know little else about him. Given how rare his name seems to be, we suspect that the death notice for a Marcel Moget who died c. December 2018 is that of the Olympian, but we have been unable to make the connection for certain.

Jacques Panciroli – Member of the French bobsleigh delegation to the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics

Jacques Panciroli, born December 4, 1931, represented France in the four-man bobsleigh event at the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Games and finished 18th overall. Bobsleigh is among the most difficult sports to find information about the competitors, at least in the early days, but we did come across an entry in the French Death Index for a Jacques Panciroli, born December 4, 1930, who died February 10, 1997. All we have to connect this record to the Olympian, however, is the similar birthday and the uncommonness of his name.

(Grave of a Heinz Seidel at FindAGrave)

Heinz Seidel – Member of Germany’s cross-country skiing delegation to the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics

Heinz Seidel, born July 5, 1931, represented Germany in two cross-country skiing events at the 1964 Innsbruck Games, placing 29th in the 30 kilometers and 7th with the German team in the 4×10 kilometers relay. Domestically, he won five consecutive relay titles from 1960 through 1964 and the 30 kilometers individually in 1962. We located the grave of a Heinz Seidel born July 4, 1931, who died September 7, 2017, but it is only mentioned that this individual was a glider pilot, and not a skier, so this may just be a coincidence.

That is what we have today, but we have more updates and more mysteries coming on the horizon. We hope that you will join us!

1931 Canadian and Australian Olympic Mysteries

Today on Oldest Olympians, we want to expand our earlier entry on Canadian and Australian Olympic mysteries by focusing on those who were born in 1931, but for whom we have no evidence of being deceased or alive recently. Thanks to some excellent research by Connor Mah and Rob Gilmore, we have only two Canadians and two Australians to cover in this post, so let’s get right to it.

Donald Sanderlin – Member of Canada’s shooting delegation to the 1968 and 1972 Summer Olympics

We actually have plenty of information on Donald Sanderlin, who represented Canada in the skeet tournament at the 1968 and 1972 Summer Olympics, placing 15th and 50th respectively. He also competed at the 1967, 1971, and 1975 Pan American Games and held numerous domestic and American honors. By career he worked as an electrician and continued in this profession, and his shooting career, through the 1980s. The only two pieces of information that we do not know are his year of birth and whether or not he is still alive. We believe that he was born on February 26, 1931, but other sources have 1933 as a year of birth, and we have not been able to find anything recent to confirm his living status.

William West – Member of Canada’s sailing delegation to the 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we do know William West’s birthday, December 1, 1931, but not much else about him. At the Games, he represented Canada in Star class sailing in 1960 and 1964, placing 23rd and 7th respectively. Despite having appeared at two editions, we have been unable to uncover much more about him, including if and when he died, perhaps due to his relatively popular name.

(Bill Jones, pictured on the left at the website of the Fairfield Canoe Club)

Bill Jones – Member of Australia’s canoeing delegation to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

We believe that we may have a similar problem with Bill Jones, born February 14, 1931, who represented Australia in canoeing at the 1956 Melbourne Games, placing fifth in the C-2 1000 and seventh in the C-2 10000. We believe that his full name may be William Thomas Jones, but this has done little to help us track him, or people who might have more information on him, down.

(Cliff Sander, seated second from the right, at The Grassroots Football Project)

Cliff Sander – Member of Australia’s football squad at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Cliff Sander, born November 4, 1931, was a member of the Australian football team that was eliminated by India in the quarterfinals of the tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games, after defeating Japan 2-0 in round one. Domestically, Sander played for St. Helens of Queensland from 1950 through 1957 but, despite being inducted into the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame in 1999, we know little about his later life.

While we do not have a lot of information on most of today’s Olympians, we do have some updates on previously-featured ones. Most recently, we learned that field hockey player Ian Johnston, born March 4, 1929, who was featured as a Canadian Olympic mystery a few months ago, was actually still alive at the time, but sadly died on December 11 at the age of 91. Connor Mah also solved several other mysteries: four-time Canadian Olympic speed skater Ralf Olin, born April 12, 1925, died May 25, 2007 and three-time British Olympic sport shooter Joe Wheater, born October 6, 1918, died November 24, 2011. From other sources, we learned that three-time Dutch Olympic sailor Ben Verhagen, born September 29, 1926, died January 4, 2020 and Pawel K. gave us updates on two of our Olympians who had not been heard from since 2010: Swiss alpine skier Silvia Glatthard, born March 11, 1930, was still alive at least in 2012, but unfortunately Italian gymnast Silvio Brivio, born November 6, 1929, died in 2011. We truly appreciate all of the tips that have been sent our way!

That is a lot of information for one day, so we will stop here, but we have got much more to come and hope that you will join us again!

Last Verified Living in 2010

Following the discovery of the death of Brian Pickworth, we now have only one case of an Olympian for whom we have not had an update from since 2009 – that of British biathlete and cross-country skier Norman Shutt. Although we have removed him from our list of living Olympians for the time being, we will continue to look into his case. In the meantime we wanted to move on to those for whom we have not had an update since 2010. There are six individuals in this category, so we will try to cover them all briefly.

Mahmoud Beiglou – Member of Iran’s alpine skiing delegation to the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics

It may surprise some people to learn that Iran was sending athletes to the Winter Olympics as early as 1956. Mahmoud Beiglou, born c. 1929, was one of three such individuals, and he competed in all three alpine skiing disciplines, with a best finish of 39th in the downhill. As one might expect, these athletes are not well-known, even their own country, although we did find a (now-removed) report that Beiglou was still alive in 2010. Unfortunately, we have not been able to find any updates since.

Silvio Brivio – Member of Italy’s gymnastics delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Silvio Brivio, born November 6, 1929, represented Italy in the gymnastics tournament at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he placed 10th in the team all-around and had a best finish of joint-57th in the pommelled horse. Aside from his Olympic results, we do not know much else about his career. Once again, we received confirmation in a now-deleted 2010 report that he was still alive, but since then we have been unable to locate any additional information.

(Díaz, pictured at BoxRec)

Aurelio Díaz – Member of Spain’s boxing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

Aurelio Díaz, born May 22, 1923, represented Spain in the welterweight boxing tournament at the 1948 London Games, where he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by upcoming gold medalist Július Torma of Czechoslovakia. We have written about his relatively successful amateur and professional careers in the past, as we believe him to be both the oldest living Olympian to have represented Spain and the oldest living Olympic boxer. The last update we have on him, however, is from 2010, when he was living in Argentina, so we are hoping to find more recent confirmation for him over the course of this year.

Mariya Dimova – Member of Bulgaria’s cross-country skiing delegation to the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics

Mariya Dimova, born August 12, 1929, represented Bulgaria in cross-country skiing’s 10 kilometers event at the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Games, where she placed 34th. This made her Bulgaria’s first female Winter Olympian, and her sister Roza went on to compete at the next three editions. Mariya continued to be involved in the administration of cross-country skiing following her retirement from active competition but, as in most of these cases, our last confirmation of her being alive is from a now-vanished 2010 report.

(Silvia Glatthard pictured at Age Esteem)

Silvia Glatthard – Member of Switzerland’s alpine skiing delegation to the 1952 Oslo Olympics

Silvia Glatthard, born March 11, 1930, represented Switzerland in the downhill and giant slalom at the 1952 Oslo Games, placing joint-15th and 29th respectively. She was also a reserve for the 1948 St. Moritz Games and was selected for the 1950 World Championships, but broke her leg before she could compete. A 2010 interview, linked above, confirmed that she was still alive and active at the age of 80, skiing and being part of the local ski business community. Unfortunately, we have been unable to locate an update since then.

Shmuel Laviv-Lubin – Member of Israel’s sport shooting delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Finally, we have Shmuel Laviv-Lubin, born July 13, 1923, who represented Israel in the free rifle, three positions, 300 metres event at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he placed 26th. Like Díaz, we have covered Laviv-Lubin in the past because we believe him to be the oldest living person to have represented Israel at the Games. As with Díaz, we have not had an update since 2010, and thus we will be actively seeking one in the year to come.

Should no updated confirmation be forthcoming, we would have to remove these individuals from our main table, just as we have with Shutt, and thus we would be greatly appreciative of any additional information that could be provided to us. With so many unfortunate deaths among the Oldest Olympians, we have fallen a bit behind in our blogging, but we hope to catch up soon and that you will join us for those posts!

New Year Fast Facts

With 2021 having arrived, we wanted to share some fast facts about the oldest Olympians in the world, partially to continue our commitment to transparency in our research but mostly just for fun and to share some statistics – after all, this is the Olympstats blog!

(The oldest living Olympian, Félix Sienra, born January 21, 1916, pictured with the cane in 2019 at the website of Yacht Club Uruguayo)

As of today, our full list contains the names of 2453 participants, non-starters, demonstration athletes, and art competitors born between 1911 and 1930 that could be living, 641 of whom we believe to be living for certain. The former number is down from 2647, while the former is up from and 595, around roughly the same time last year.

We also have 422 Olympians (down from 460 last year) who competed in the 1928, 1932, or 1936 Games, Winter and Summer, who have no date of birth but could be still living. It is worth reminding everyone that the vast majority of athletes that could be living are likely deceased.

We had nine living Olympic centenarians at the end of 2020, despite seven who died over the course of the year. We also know of three survivors from the oldest editions of the Olympics with living participants, the 1936 Berlin Games, with two survivors of this edition having died in 2020.

We will try to post a small update like this at the beginning of every year and, if you have any suggestions of statistics or information that you would like to see added, please send us a message and we will be happy to include it in the next round! Happy New Year to all!