Last Known Alive in 2011

At the beginning of this year, we listed six individuals for whom we last had information on their being alive in 2010: Mahmoud Beiglou, Silvio Brivio, Aurelio Díaz, Mariya Dimova, Silvia Glatthard, and Shmuel Laviv-Lubin. Since then, we learned that Brivio died later in 2010 and Glatthard was still alive in 2012, which means that the rest will unfortunately have to be removed from our tables and placed on the “possibly living” list. This brings us to our next task, reviewing those who were last known living since 2011. Since we have eight such cases, we want to provide just a brief overview of each in today’s blog.

François Fug – Member of Luxembourg’s shooting delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics

François Fug, born February 7, 1931, represented Luxembourg in the free pistol, 50 metres event at the 1960 Rome Games, where he placed 51st. Like many Luxembourg athletes, this is all that we know about him, although we were able to find a report that he was still alive in 2011. Since then, however, we have heard nothing.

Geoff Haskett – Member of Australia’s basketball squad at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Geoff Haskett, born August 3, 1929, represented Australia in the basketball tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where the nation placed 12th. He had a successful domestic career and was still alive in 2011, when he was inducted into the BNSW Hall of Fame. We do believe that he remains alive, but we have not seen any recent reports to confirm this.

(Ivan Jacob, pictured at The Hindu)

Ivan Jacob – Member of India’s athletics delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Ivan Jacob, born January 1, 1928, represented India in the 400 metres event at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he was eliminated in round one. He had better luck at the 1954 Asian Games, where he took home a silver medal from the 4×400 metres relay. A four-time national champion in the 400 metres, he worked as a police officer and later moved to Australia, where we last heard of him in 2011, although we suspect that he is still alive.

(Lazar Hristov, second from the right in the top row, pictured at Retro-Football)

Lazar Hristov – Alternate on Bulgaria’s football squad at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Lazar Hristov, born March 18, 1925, was an alternate with Bulgaria’s football squad at the 1952 Helsinki Games, but did not see any playing time as his country was eliminated in the qualifying round. He earned six caps with the national team between 1947 and 1952 and had a lengthy domestic career with Lokomotiv Sofia from 1942 through 1956, winning the First League in 1945 and the Bulgarian Cup in 1945, 1948, and 1953. According to a report from 2011, he was still alive at that time, but we have not heard anything about him since.

(Guy McGregor, pictured at the Gisborne Photo News)

Guy McGregor – Member of New Zealand’s filed hockey squads at the 1956 and 1960 Summer Olympics

Guy McGregor, born July 11, 1930, represented New Zealand in the field hockey tournaments at the 1956 and 1960 Summer Olympics, where his nation placed sixth and fifth respectively. He had initially begun his sporting career as a rugby player, but a knee injury in his teens led him to switch to hockey, in addition to finding success in cricket. We know that he was a physical education instructor by career and we believe that he is still alive (and the oldest living New Zealand Olympian!), although we have not had official confirmation of this since 2011.

Merv Moy – Member of Australia’s basketball squad at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Merv Moy, born April 19, 1930, represented Australia in the basketball tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where his squad placed 12th. He had a decade-long domestic career, from 1948 through 1958, and was later employed by the NSW Police Force, rising to the rank of Chief Inspector. Like many of the individuals on this list, we suspect that he is still alive, although we have not had any clear confirmation of that since 2011.

Eino Oksanen – Member of Finland’s athletics delegation to the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Summer Olympics

Eino Oksanen, born May 7, 1931, represented Finland in the marathon at the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Summer Games, placing 10th, 24th, and 13th respectively. He is much better known, however, as a three-time winner of the Boston Marathon, having captured the crown in 1959, 1961, and 1962. He also won the 1959 and 1963 Nordic Championships, the 1957 Turku Marathon, and the 1959 Athens Peace Marathon, in addition to placing 12th at the 1962 European Championships. He later became a police officer and, while we find it unlikely that a three-time Boston Marathon winner would have died without widespread notice, stranger things have happened and the last source that we could find on him dates back to 2011.

Erwin Vogt – Member of Switzerland’s sport shooting delegations to the 1964, 1968, and 1972 Summer Olympics

Erwin Vogt, born September 17, 1931, represented Switzerland in five sport shooting events across three editions of the Summer Games, from 1964 through 1972, with a best finish of fifth in the free rifle, three positions, 300 metres in 1968. He had much better luck at the World Championships, winning 11 medals between 1962 and 1974, including gold in the 300 metres, free rifle kneeling event in 1962. Given this record, it seems unlikely that he died without notice, but we have not had an update since 2011.

Before we close, we wanted to point out one more sad development from 2021. Earlier this year, we noted that Julie Brougham, born May 20, 1954, had been the oldest competitor at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she represented New Zealand in equestrian, and was therefore the oldest survivor of those Games. Unfortunately, she died of cancer on December 9, at the age of only 67. This leaves Australian equestrian Mary Hanna, born December 1, 1954, who was the oldest competitor at the 2020 Tokyo Games, as the oldest survivor from Rio.

Final 1931 Olympic Medal Mysteries

As we wrap up 2021, we wanted to share a handful of blog posts to address some outstanding issues from the year. Today, we wanted to address four Olympic medal mysteries from 1931 for whom we have been unable to find any confirmation as to whether they are alive or deceased.

Alena Chadimová – Member of the Czechoslovakian gymnastics team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Alena Chadimová, born November 22, 1931, represented Czechoslovakia in gymnastics at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where she won a bronze medal with the team. Individually, her best result came in both the all-around and the floor exercise, where she placed 20th. We know that she won another bronze medal in the all-around at the 1954 World Championships, but otherwise we have been unable to locate more information about her.

Masami Kubota – Member of the Japanese gymnastics team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Masami Kubota, born December 6, 1931, won three medals for Japan in the gymnastics tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games: silver in the parallel bars and the team all-around and bronze in the rings. He also took silver with the team at the 1954 World Championships but retired after the Olympics to take up teaching physical education at Tenri University. His wife Kyoko was also a gymnast in 1956, but unfortunately we have been unable to determine if either are still alive.

Aleksandr Zabelin – Member of the Soviet sport shooting delegation to the 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics

Aleksandr Zabelin, also born December 6, 1931, won a bronze medal for the Soviet Union in the rapid-fire pistol, 25 metres event at the 1960 Rome Games. He attempted to repeat this feat in Tokyo in 1964, but placed 16th. At the World Championships, he was a four-time gold medalist between 1958 and 1966, in addition to winning silver in 1958, all in individual or team pistol 25 metres events. We have been unable, however, to locate information on his life after the 1970s.

(Cortés pictured at En el Viejo Salto)

Ramiro Cortés – Member of Uruguay’s basketball squad at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Ramiro Cortés, born 1931, was a member of the Uruguayan basketball team that won bronze in the tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games. He also won two medals at the South American Championships, gold in 1955 and silver in 1958. A plaque was unveiled in his honor recently, although it was unclear from the article as to whether or not he was still alive. Additionally, Wikipedia lists his date of birth as July 13, although we have been unable to confirm this either.

In terms of updates to older Olympic medal mysteries, we were forwarded confirmation that Romanian bronze medal-winning wrestler Francisc Horvath, born October 19, 1928, was still alive in 2021. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Adriano Brunelli was able to confirm that Italian bronze medal-winning fencer Roberto Ferrari died October 11, 1996 and thus was never among the oldest Olympians. Finally, after our last post, an article on the 100th anniversary of Elda Cividino’s birth was printed, but it sadly revealed that she had died back in 2014. That is what we have for today, but we should be posting at least one more blog entry before the end of the year, and we hope that you will join us!

The Historical List of Olympic Centenarians

Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to provide a quick update on one of our associated projects: the historical list of Olympic centenarians. The list, which can be found here, has had several additions over the past year, in addition to the five Olympians that have (thus far) turned 100 in 2021. We thought it prudent, therefore, to draw some attention to some of the names that have been added that have not yet received any attention.

First, however, wanted to address a surprising removal. We have long listed French gymnast Lucien Démanet, born December 6, 1874, as having died March 16, 1979 at the age of 104 years, 100 days. Démanet won bronze medals in both of the editions that he competed in, individually in 1900 and with the team in 1920, and his lifespan made him the last survivor that we knew of from the former edition. Recent research, however, had indicated that Démanet actually died June 20, 1943 and was therefore never among the oldest Olympians. This leaves Max Décugis, who won a silver medal in doubles tennis in 1900, as the last known survivor of those Games, having died September 6, 1978 at the age of 95. It also means that American gymnast Rudy Schrader was the oldest living Olympian following the death of artist Mary Wesselhoeft on March 23, 1971, holding that title for nearly a decade!

Speaking of last survivor lists, back in April we learned that French athlete Émile Papot was born August 19, 1885 and died April 16, 1986, at the age of 100 years, 240 days. Papot was entered into the high and long jump events at the 1906 Intercalated Games, but only competed in the former, failing to finish in the top eight. Having outlived Turkish athlete Vahram Papazyan by a month, however, he has now became the last known survivor of that edition, as well as the only known centenarian from those Games.

(Francesco Pittaluga, seated center, in a picture from

Just this week, meanwhile, we learned of a centenarian that had gone completely under our radar: Italian rower Francesco Pittaluga, born October 11, 1913, who died February 10, 2016 at the age of 102 years, 122 days. Pittaluga represented his country in the coxed fours event at the 1936 Berlin Games, just missing the podium in fourth. He had better luck at the 1938 European Championships, where he won the silver medal. We have also learned of a centenarian among Olympic referees. Norwegian skiing referee Wilhelm Nilssen, born March 27, 1915, died on November 10, 2018 at the age of 103 years, 228 days. In addition to being a referee for both Nordic combined and ski jumping events at the 1972 Sapporo Games, he had a distinguished career as a resistance fighter during World War II.

We have one more potential centenarian for 2021, Italian gymnast Elda Cividino, born December 13, 1921. Unfortunately, we have not had an update on her since 2013, and thus it remains to be seen if she is still living. After that, we will be moving into 2022, where we have 11 individuals listed as potentially turning 100. We hope, therefore, that you will join us for more to come!

1948 French Rowing Mysteries

Today on Oldest Olympians, we wanted to cover French rowing mysteries from 1948. France had a large rowing contingent to the London Games, but we are missing a considerable amount of biographical data on the team. With so many members to cover, therefore, we feel that it is best to just jump right into this topic!

Gérald Maquat – Member of the coxed fours crew

In the past, we were very uncertain as to even Gérald Maquat’s real name, but now we know more about him than any other individual that we will be engaging today. Born July 15, 1912 in Switzerland, he won national championships in 1936 and 1941 and a European title in 1947, along with bronze in 1951. In 1948, he was a member of the coxed fours squad that was eliminated in the semifinals. Given his date of birth, he is definitely deceased, but we have been unable to locate when this occurred, perhaps because he moved back to Switzerland in his later years.

Marcel Boigegrain – Member of the coxed fours crew

Marcel Boigegrain was a teammate of Maquat in both his 1947 European Championship victory and his Olympic coxed fours squad. Contemporary reports of the former event list him as being 18 at the time, which means that he was born c. 1929. This may mean that he is still alive, or that he is the Marcel Lucien Boigegrain who was born July 26, 1929 and died September 12, 1986. Either way, we have been unable to confirm anything with certainty.

René Lotti – Member of the coxed fours crew

The most mysterious member of the Olympic coxed fours squad is René Lotti, who is listed as Jacques Lotti in many sources. We do know that he had a lengthy rowing career and at least some success in the international realm, as he won a bronze medal in the eights at the 1955 Mediterranean Games, but little else is certain. One candidate for his identity is Reno Lotti, born April 17, 1929, died December 29, 2020, but this is speculative as it would require his name having been incorrect in all contemporary reports (which, sadly, is not unheard of).

Aristide Sartor – Member of the coxed pairs crew

For Aristide Sartor, we have at least a date and place of birth, July 28, 1923 in Italy, and we know that he was the brother of Ampélio Sartor, one of his teammates. At the 1948 London Games, he took part in the coxed pairs and was eliminated in the semifinals. Beyond this, we know little about him, including when (and if) he died.

Roger Crezen – Member of the coxed pairs crew

The Sartor brothers’ third teammate was Roger Crezen, who has been listed incorrectly in the past as René Crezen. Aside from his Olympic results, we know little else other than that he was active as early as 1934 and is therefore likely deceased. A possible candidate is Jean-Joseph Roger Crézen, born April 16, 1911 and died April 1, 1995, but we have been unable to confirm a connection.

Robert Léon – Member of the coxed eights crew

Crezen was the cox of the pairs, while Robert Léon was the cox of the eights, which did not start in the round one repêchage and was thus eliminated from the tournament. This squad contains two of the currently oldest living Olympians, Roger Lebranchu and Philippe Fauveau, but unfortunately we know little about Léon. He was active in the early-to-mid 1930s, however, so it seems likely that he is deceased.

Pierre Clergerie – Member of the coxed eights crew

Finally, we have Pierre Clergerie, another member of the coxed eights squad. He too was active in the mid-1930s and therefore seems likely to be deceased. He also competed at the 1947 European Championships, but otherwise we have been able to discover little else about him.

Finally, before we end this entry, we would like to acknowledge and thank Muhammad Afsar Khan, who has provided us with information that has helped us solve some of our previous Olympic mysteries. Most notably, he informed us that Pakistani Olympic hockey medalist Habibur Rehman, whom we covered previously on this blog, died January 19, 1984. He also had information on the death of another hockey medalist, Latif-ur Rehman, who won medals for both India and Pakistan and died February 27, 1987, as well as others. We very much appreciate such contributions!