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!