Austrian Missing Links, Part II

Today on Oldest Olympians, we are presenting part two of our series on Austrian missing links. Last week we looked at cemetery records for individuals who may have competed at the 1936 and 1948 Games, but for whom the connection between the record and the Olympian was not certain. Today, we are going to complete the discussion by looking into potential links from 1928 and earlier.

Grete Kubitschek – Member of Austria’s figure skating delegation to the 1928 St. Moritz Olympics

Grete Kubitschek, born in 1903, represented Austria in the women’s singles figure skating event at the 1928 St. Moritz Games, where she placed 17th among 20 participants. She had been third at that year’s Austrian national championships and went on to place fifth at the 1929 World Championships. As to the rest of her life, we are a little unclear – she may have been the daughter of a well-known historian Wilhelm Kubitschek, as he was known to have a daughter named Grete born in the first decade of the 1900s. Either way, we have been unable to confirm that a cemetery record for a Margarete Kubitschek, born July 13, 1903 and died January 7, 2001, is the Olympian.

Richard Brünner – Member of Austria’s fencing delegations to the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics

Richard Brünner, born in 1889, represented Austria in three foil fencing events across two editions of the Games, reaching the quarterfinals of the team competitions in 1924 and 1928 and being eliminated in the first round individually in the latter year. He won silver and bronze in the team event in 1933 and 1931 respectively, and was a five-time foil and sabre national champion between 1920 and 1927. Cemetery records list a Richard Brünner born November 18, 1888 as having died November 25, 1962, but these unfortunately offer no further clue as to whether they are for the Olympian.

Hugo Philipp – Member of Austria’s fencing delegation to the 1924 Paris Olympics

Hugo Philipp, born in 1884, represented Austria in the team foil fencing event alongside Brünner at the 1924 Paris Games. We know nothing else aside from this, as he has a common name and does not appear to have had any other major international fencing results. As such, we cannot connect the cemetery record for a Hugo Philipp who died at the age of 86 and was buried on November 27, 1970, to the Olympian.

Toni Eichholzer – Member of Austria’s boxing delegation to the 1924 Paris Olympics

Toni Eichholzer, born August 5, 1903, represented Austria in the lightweight boxing tournament at the 1924 Paris Games and was eliminated in his first bout against Haakon Hansen of Denmark. It does not appear that Eichholzer ever turned professional, but he did take up coaching and training later in life. A record exists of an Anton Eichholzer having died at the age of 58 on March 19, 1961, which would make him one year older than the Olympian would have been.

Fritz Weinzinger – Member of Austria’s track and field athletics delegation to the 1912 Stockholm Games

Fritz Weinzinger, born July 14, 1890, represented Austria in the 100 metres and the 4×100 metres relay at the 1912 Stockholm Games, but he was eliminated in the first round of both. He was also entered into the 200 metres and the high jump, but did not start. He had set national records in these events at the end of the 1900s, but we could find nothing else about his life after the Games. A Friedrich Weinzinger who died May 22, 1963 at the age of 73 is a possible candidate, although this individual would have been one year older than the Olympian.

Those are all of the Austrian missing links that we are aware of, so next week we will be looking into a new topic and we hope that you will join us!

Austrian Missing Links

Today on Oldest Olympians, we wanted to address a simple topic: Austrian missing links. Austria is a country for which we usually have good data and for whom we have access to thorough cemetery records that often help us catch those Olympians who died beneath the radar. Sometimes, however, the details do not quite match what we have in the database, and thus we cannot be certain that those listed in the cemetery records are the same individuals. We covered this topic previously, focusing on three Olympians: Adam Bischof, Walter Niederle, and Theodor Obrietan. We now want to expand our scope somewhat and thus today we will be looking at Austrian cemetery mysteries from 1936 and 1948.

Fritz Wächtler – Member of Austria’s figure skating delegation to the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympics

Fritz Wächtler, born October 13, 1906, represented Austria in figure skating’s pairs event at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games, where he placed 14th out of 19 out of the 19 duos that entered, alongside Eleanore Bäumel. A year earlier, they had been sixth at the European Championships. Aside from this, we do not know much about him, but an individual by this name died at the age of 57 and was buried July 31, 1963. The Olympian would have been one year younger at that time, so we cannot confirm that they are one and the same.

Franz Wenninger – Member of Austria’s water polo squad at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Franz Wenninger, born October 20, 1910, represented Austria in the water polo tournament at the 1936 Berlin Games, where his country placed sixth. A member of 1. Wiener Amateur Schwimmclub, he won a silver medal at the 1938 European Championships, but we know little of his postwar life. A cemetery has a Franz Wenninger, born August 20, 1910, dying August 1996, but his name is common enough that we cannot be certain that this is the Olympian.

Sebastian Ploner – Member of Austria’s water polo squad at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Sebastian Ploner, born May 27, 1907, was on the same team as Franz Wenninger that finished sixth in the water polo tournament at the 1936 Berlin Games. Being slightly older, his European Championship medal came in 1931, when Austria took bronze. The possible cemetery record for Ploner lists a man by that name who died at the age of 74 and was buried December 22, 1981. This age aligns with the Olympian, but the name is popular enough that we cannot be certain that the two are one and the same.

Emil Hübscher – Member of Austria’s athletics delegation to the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Emil Hübscher, born September 3, 1912, represented Austria in the 800 and 1500 metres events at the 1936 Berlin Games, where he was eliminated in the semifinals and round one respectively. He was also a reserve for the 4×400 metres relay, but did not compete. We again do not know much about his postwar life, but a cemetery record has an Emil Hübscher dying at the age of 46 and being buried March 6, 1958, which would be one year older than the Olympian.

Hermann Mazurkiewitsch – Member of Austria’s boxing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics

Hermann Mazurkiewitsch, born October 12, 1925, represented Austria in the bantamweight boxing tournament at the 1948 London Games, where he was eliminated in round one. He had better luck at the 1951 European Championships, where he won a bronze medal. He was also known as Hermann Mazurkiewicz, and a man by that name was buried February 6, 1985 in Vienna. Unfortunately, without more information, we cannot make the connection.

While we are at it, there are two more Austrian Olympic mysteries from this era that are not based in cemetery records. Grete Neumann, born June 19, 1910, represented Austria in the 100 metres and the 4×100 metres relay at the 1936 Berlin Games, but was eliminated in the first round of both. A three-time national champion in the relay, we learned of a Grete Neumann born May 19, 1910 in Schottwein who married a Hans Hirsch in 1935 and died February 8, 1996. While it seems unlikely that this is the Olympian, it is a possibility. Finally, Andreas Krapf, born March 21, 1913, represented Austria in the small-bore rifle, prone, 50 metres competition at the 1948 London Games and placed 50th. An anonymous user added a year of death of 2000 to his English Wikipedia page, but we have been unable to verify that this is accurate.

Oldest Winter Olympic Survivors Under the Age of 90

A few days ago on the Oldest Olympians blog, we looked into the oldest surviving competitors from editions of the Summer Games that had no survivors over the age of 90. Today, we wanted to do the same for Winter Olympians. As one might expect, with winter sports geared more towards younger participants, many of these “oldest” Olympians are relatively young. For example, the oldest participant at the 2018 PyeongChang Games was Finnish curler Tomi Rantamäki, born September 18, 1968. Similarly, the oldest competitor at both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics was Mexican alpine skier Hubertus von Fürstenberg-von Hohenlohe, born February 2, 1959.

Werner Hoeger

Venezuelan luger Werner Hoeger, born December 15, 1953, was the oldest participant at the 2006 Turin Olympics, and actually competed against his son, Chris, in the singles (Chris edged out his father by placing 31st, ahead of Werner’s 32nd). Werner also competed at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, but at that edition five-time United States Virgin Island luger Anne Abernathy, born April 12, 1953, was older. To get to 1940s births, we have to go back to the 1998 Nagano Olympics and its oldest competitor, Canadian curler Paul Savage, born June 25, 1947, who won a silver medal in the men’s tournament.

Maurilio De Zolt

The oldest competitor at the 1994 Lillehammer Games was Sammarinese bobsledder Dino Crescentini, but he unfortunately died in 2008 in a motor car racing accident. This leaves Italian cross-country skier Maurilio De Zolt, born September 25, 1950, as the oldest survivor of that edition. Like many of the oldest competitors, De Zolt was a multi-Olympian, having represented his country five times. He won silver medals in the 50 kilometers in 1988 and 1992 and gold in the 4×10 kilometers relay in 1994. He also captured six medals at the World Championships, including gold in the 50 kilometers in 1987.

(John Reeve, pictured on the title card of the “Bet on Yourself” documentary)

Unfortunately, we do not know much about the oldest competitor from the 1992 Albertville Olympics, bobsledder Michael Juhlin of the United States Virgin Islands, born October 19, 1945. He participated in the four-man event and placed 29th out of 31 teams. Bobsledders from that country also made up the three oldest Olympians at the 1988 Calgary Games, with the oldest, Harvey Hook, born August 8, 1935, having died October 14, 2011. This leaves John Reeve, born November 7, 1937, as the oldest survivor of that edition, as he competed in the two man bobsleigh event and was entered in alpine skiing’s giant slalom competition, although he did not start. Of British origin, Reeve was inspired by Egypt’s alpine skier Jamil El-Reedy to take a shot at participating in the Winter Olympics and was featured in the documentary “Bet on Yourself” in his older age.

Reeve is the closest among these individuals to becoming an official “oldest Olympian”, and we look forward to celebrating that achievement in a few years. Until that time, we will be bringing you more stories of the oldest Olympians and hope that you will join us for our next blog entry!

Oldest Olympic Survivors Under the Age of 90

Here at Oldest Olympians we decided to take a break from blogging during the 2020 Tokyo Games – after all, day after day, there were much more interesting topics to keep track of during competition. Now that those Games have ended, however, we want to get back to some lengthier posts and help fill the gap a little between now and the 2022 Beijing Games.

A quick Google search will tell anyone that the oldest Olympian at the Tokyo Games was Australian equestrian Mary Hanna, born December 1, 1954. Hanna is no stranger to the Olympics, as 2020 was her sixth edition: she had competed previously in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2012, and 2016. At “only” 66, however, she naturally has quite a while to go before being featured on Oldest Olympians. Thus we asked ourselves instead, if we are going to feature Olympic years that currently have no living nonagenarians, why not go back a little further? Sticking with the theme of the Summer Games, we currently have no one listed as the oldest survivor of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, or for any edition from 1996 onward.

Hiroshi Hoketsu at the 2012 London Olympics

Going backwards, the oldest Olympian at the 2016 Rio Games was born only a few months before Hanna. Julie Brougham, born May 20, 1954, represented New Zealand in equestrian and was 44th in the individual dressage tournament. The oldest Olympian from the 2008 and 2012 editions, meanwhile, was Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu, born March 28, 1941, who received particular attention due to the large gap between his appearances. Hoketsu made his Olympic début at the 1964 Tokyo Games and did not compete again until 2008, a considerable wait of 44 years! Meanwhile, 10-time Canadian equestrian Ian Millar, born January 6, 1947, is the oldest living Olympian from the 2004 Athens Games.

Moving back to 2000 allows us to discuss someone who is a little closer to being among the oldest Olympians: sport shooter Bruce Meredith, born April 19, 1937. Meredith represented the United States Virgin Islands at four consecutive editions of the Olympic small-bore rifle, prone, 50 metres event, from 1988 through 2000, with a best finish of joint-31st in 1992. In 2000, he was also the oldest participant in the Games. He also competed in the three positions, 50 metres event in 1988. He had more success at the Pan-American Games, capturing team gold in two events in 1967 and an individual silver in 1995, as well as the World Championships (team silver in 1970) and Central American and Caribbean Games (individual bronze in 1995). As he is still competing into his 80s, we look forward to celebrating his 90th birthday in a few years.

Even more prolific was Sweden’s Ragnar Skanåker, born June 8, 1934, who appeared at seven consecutive editions of the Olympics, from 1972 through 1996, winning gold in the free pistol, 50 metres event at his first appearance, and silver twice and bronze once in subsequent years. He also won a total of 14 medals, four of them gold, at the World Championships between 1978 and 1990, and is now the oldest living survivor of the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Ladislau Lovrenschi

Finally, it would not be an Oldest Olympians blog if there were not at least a semblance of an Olympic mystery. According to our records, the oldest survivor of the 1988 Seoul Games is Romanian rower Ladislau Lovrenschi, born June 21, 1932. Lovrenschi competed at four editions of the Olympics from 1968 through 1988, missing only the boycotted 1984 Los Angeles Games, and took bronze in the coxed pairs in 1972 and silver in the coxed fours in 1988. He was also a World Champion in the coxed pairs in 1970 and a bronze medalist in the coxed fours at the 1967 European Championships. While most sources have 1932 as his year of birth, some mention 1943, which would align better with his career. If it were the case that Lovrenschi was a decade younger, Austrian sport shooter Hermann Sailer, born November 1, 1933, would be the oldest survivor of the Seoul Olympics.

There are nine editions of the Winter Olympics without any survivors over the age of 90, which means that this topic merits a future post of its own. Thus, for now, we will leave you with the summer Olympians and hope that you will join us next time!


Allyson Felix has won more medals in Olympic track & field athletics than any woman, with 9, sharing that number with Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey. Together they trail only Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi, who won 12 Olympic medals, and Carl Lewis, with 10. You could also include American standing jumper Ray Ewry, if you count the 1906 Intercalated Olympics, in which he won 2 gold medals, to help him get to 10 gold medals.

Felix will likely run 2 events in Tokyo. She made the team in the 400 metres and will almost certainly run the 4×400 metres as well. That gives her a chance for 2 medals in Tokyo. The USA women have won the 4×400 at the last 6 Olympics, going back to 1996, and will be favored again. In the open 400 Felix has a chance at a medal, but a gold medal is unlikely at her age and given her times this year. If Felix wins 2 medals, this would give her 11 medals, and move her ahead of Carl Lewis and Ray Ewry, however you count Ewry’s medals.

Felix also has 6 gold medals going into Tokyo, which among track & field Olympians currently trails only Nurmi and Lewis, with 9, and Ray Ewry and Usain Bolt with 8 (remember Bolt lost a gold medal in the 2008 4×100 relay after a positive doping test by Nesta Carter, who ran on the relay). (Again, you could give Ewry 10 gold medals if you count 1906.) Winning a 4×400 relay gold would move her total up to 7, although at 6, she is alone in 5th place on this list. Two gold medals (400 and 4×4) would bring her to 8, but that is an extreme long shot.

Among women, Felix is already in a class by herself. Her 6 gold medals is the most ever by a woman in Olympic track & field. Five women trail Felix with 4 Olympic gold medals – Evelyn Ashford (USA), Sanya Richards-Ross (USA), Fanny Blankers-Koen (NED), Betty Cuthbert (AUS), and Bärbel Eckert-Wöckel (GDR) – but with more gold in Tokyo Felix can distance them further.

Allyson Felix will also be competing in her 5th Olympics in Tokyo, something that has been done among Americans in track & field only by Willye White (1956-72), Gail Devers (1988-2004), and Amy Acuff (1996-2012). An American man has yet to compete in 5 Olympics in track & field, although Abdi Abdirahman will become the first in Tokyo, after having competed in 2000-12.