Recent Olympic Missing Links

Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to raise the cases of some Olympic missing links that we have found since the beginning of the year. Unlike our last entry on this topic, these individuals were not born in 1932, but have come up as a result of recent research.

Lyuben Gurgushinov – Member of Bulgaria’s track and field athletics delegation to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

Lyuben Gurgushinov, born November 2, 1931, represented Bulgaria in the triple jump at the 1964 Tokyo Games, where he finished 27th in the qualifying round and did not advance. He was also selected for the 1960 Rome Olympics, but did not start the event. Outside of this, we do not know much about him, but someone added a date of death of March 17, 2008 and a place of death of Sofia to English Wikipedia page. Unfortunately, we have been unable to verify this information.

David Pimentel – Member of Mexico’s weightlifting delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

David Pimentel, born December 2, 1927, represented Mexico in the middleweight weightlifting event at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he failed to record a mark in the clean and jerk portion and thus did not place in the competition. He had better luck at the Central American and Caribbean Games, where he won a bronze medal in that category. Someone added a date of death of March 16, 2021 to his English Wikipedia page, but we have not seen an obituary that would support this.

Juan Martín Merbilháa – Member of Argentina’s equestrian delegation to the 1956 Stockholm Equestrian Olympics

Juan Martín Merbilháa, born in 1925, represented Argentina in equestrian eventing at the 1956 Stockholm Equestrian Games, placing eighth individual and sixth with the team. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Merbilháa was a career military man, and an individual of the same name and roughly the correct age, 46, died May 30, 1972 in La Plata. Without more information, however, we cannot make a definite connection to the Olympian.

(Imre Holényi, pictured at the Hungarian Olympic Committee website)

Imre Holényi – Member of Hungary’s sailing delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics

Imre Holényi, born January 15, 1926, represented Hungary in Flying Dutchman class sailing at the at the 1960 Rome Games, where he placed 13th in a field of 31 entrants. He won several national championships and, by career, was a chemical engineer with a lengthy and distinguished tenure. We were able to confirm that he was living as of June 2020, at the age of 94, but an anonymous edit on the English Wikipedia claimed that he died later that year in Spain, where he was known to have retired. Despite being fairly well-known, we have yet to see an indication elsewhere that this is the case.

José Ferreira – Member of Portugal’s fencing delegations to the 1952 and 1960 Summer Olympics

José Ferreira, born May 7, 1923, represented Portugal in five fencing events across two editions of the Summer Games, 1952 and 1960, but only advanced beyond the first round once, in the individual épée in 1960. His name is fairly common, but an infantry colonel with his full name –José da Silva Pinto Ferreira – died July 1, 2013. While this seems to be a likely occupation for a fencer, the obituary does not contain an age, and thus we cannot confirm a connection to the Olympian.

Finally, we wanted to share some updates on previous cases. Patrick Secchi was able to find sufficient evidence that the main subject of last week’s post, M. Chapuis, was indeed Marcel Chapuis, who was born January 15, 1901 and died June 15, 1952. Connor Mah, meanwhile, was able to confirm that American wrestler Bill Borders did die on January 27 in Tulsa, per an estate notice. Finally, Diego Rossetti was able to confirm an Olympic medal mystery that we posted a long time ago: Italian water polo bronze medalist Renato Traiola died January 18, 1988.

6 thoughts on “Recent Olympic Missing Links”

  1. Juan Martín Merbilháa (militar, llegó al grado de Teniente Coronel), Nació el 11 de diciembre de 1925 en la provincia de Buenos Aires y falleció (de manera trágica) en Buenos Aires el 28 de mayo de 1972 a los 46 Años. Participó en los Juegos Olímpicos de 1956 en la sede de Estocolmo, el jinete terminó octavo en el concurso de los tres días individual y sexto en la misma prueba pero por equipos.

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