Post-World War II Olympic Mysteries

Today on Oldest Olympians we are concluding our look at Irish Olympians who were born before 1931 for whom we lack either a date of death or confirmation that they are still alive. We have just three more competitors to cover, all of whom took part in the Games after World War II. Although this means that they could, in theory, still be alive, we believe that it is most likely that are all deceased.

Peter Foran – Member of the Irish boxing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

Peter Foran, born in 1927, was a member of an Irish boxing family and won his first junior title as a welterweight in 1946. In 1948 he captured the senior title and was therefore selected to represent his country in the Olympic tournament, ultimately losing to upcoming bronze medalist Hank Herring of the United States in the second round. He later worked in the radio and television industry and while we know of an Irish obituary for a Peter Foran who died on July 28, 2007, we have yet to connect it conclusively to the Olympian.

Tom Smith – Member of the Irish fencing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

Tom Smith was active in fencing from 1943 through 1956, but the highlight of his career came when he was selected to represented Ireland in the foil competitions at the 1948 London Games. There, he was eliminated in the first rounds of both the individual and team tournaments. As one might imagine, his fairly common name has been an obstacle to finding anything more about him and while it seems likely that he is deceased given his active years, it is possible that he is still alive.

Harry Byrne – Member of Ireland’s sailing delegation to the 1972 Munich Olympics

Harry Bryne, born July 2, 1929, represented Ireland in Dragon class sailing at the 1972 Munich Games, where the nation placed 16th among 23 teams overall. We do not know much else about him, although we are led to believe that he is the individual listed in this obituary, who died July 4, 2019. Unfortunately, we have been unable to confirm this fact.

That concludes our posts on Irish Olympic mysteries! We did want to update one of the Canadian cases: Connor Mah was able to confirm that Canadian sport shooter Donald Sanderlin was indeed born in 1933, but sadly died in 2013. We also have a correction from Diego Rossetti, who informed us that Italian gymnast Silvio Brivio died in 2010, not 2011. As always, we greatly appreciate such contributions. Looking forwards, we will be bringing you a new topic in the coming days and we hope that you will join us!

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