Gebhard Büchel

Today on Oldest Olympians, we thought that we might be celebrating the 101st birthday of Gebhard Büchel, who represented Liechtenstein in the decathlon at the 1948 London Games. Unfortunately, as we have had no confirmation of his 100th birthday over the past year, and in fact have had no confirmation of his being alive since 2013, we have unfortunately had to remove him from our lists. Complicating matters, he had a namesake who was born on the exact same date and died in 2008, thus making it difficult to find information on the Olympian.

Until we find evidence about Büchel one way or another, we will be listing Theodor Sele, born April 20, 1931, as the oldest living Olympian from Liechtenstein. Sele represented his country at two editions of the Olympic alpine skiing tournament. In 1948 in St. Moritz, he was 58th in the combined and 90th in the downhill. In 1956 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, he was 45th in the slalom and 70th in the giant slalom.

(Francisc Horvath)

On a related note, thanks to a submission from Connor Mah, we learned that Mărgărit Blăgescu, born August 26, 1925, whom we believed previously to be the oldest living Romanian Olympian, actually died in March 24 at the age of 78. Moreover, the next two oldest Romanian Olympians may be deceased as well. We covered Francisc Horvath, born October 19, 1928, on a previous edition of Olympic medal mysteries, as he won bronze in bantamweight, Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1956 Melbourne Games. One user provided a report that showed him alive in 2021, but others have pointed out sources that he died in 1969 or 1980, and it remains unclear which is correct. The next, athlete Emma Konrad, born November 21, 1929, purportedly died May 16, 2021 according to a Wikipedia edit, but we have not been able to verify this.

(Carol Bedö)

This would leave Carol Bedö, born December 13, 1930, as the oldest living Romanian Olympian. Bedö represented his country in the gymnastics tournament at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he was 20th with the team and had a best individual finish of joint-55th in the floor exercise. Even in this case, however, the last evidence we have of his being alive comes from 2013. Finally, while we are on the topic of Romanian Olympians, we wanted to thank Ronald Halmen for discovering that 1928 Olympic athlete Otto Schop, who we mentioned in a previous post, was actually Arnold Otto Schöpp, born June 4, 1907 in Sebeș and died January 29, 1973 in Sibiu.

1928 and 1948 Olympic Lacrosse Mysteries

Today on Oldest Olympians, we wanted to shift our attention to a sport that tends to receive less attention: lacrosse. In particular, we wanted to look at a handful of mysteries from the tournaments at the 1928 and 1948 Summer Games, when lacrosse was a demonstration sport, and focus on the British players at both tournaments.

(Eric Parsons, pictured in the Burnley Express, October 19, 1949)

For 1928, we have two main mysteries. The first is Frederick Johnson, born May 9, 1905, who represented Old Mancunians domestically. We know that he was active in lacrosse throughout the second half of the 1920s and later had a career as a chartered accountant, living in Cuba and South Africa in the 1930s. Although we know that he was deceased by 1960, we have been unable to come up with an exact date or place of death. We know less about Eric Parsons, other than that he played for Disley, near Stockport, and was living in Nelson, Lancashire in 1949. Connor Mah has suggested that he may have been William Eric Parsons, born September 5, 1902 in Disley and died April 27, 1968 in Lancashire, but we have been unable to confirm this.

(Photograph of the British team in the 1948 London Olympics, courtesy of the family of player Rick Wilson)

For 1948, we have three mysteries, one of whom lacks even a full name: H. Wyatt. We do know that he played domestically with Boardman & Eccles, so he may be Harry Leslie Wyatt, born September 6, 1910 in Eccles and died Q4 1987 in Newport, Wales, but this is just one possible candidate. For a second, we have at least a nickname: J. H. “Jack” Little. He played for a team from Chorlton-cum-Hardy, so he may be John Harrison Little, born August 7, 1915 in that town and died August 1980. Again, however, we have no proof.

The third individual, John Foy, is a little more complicated. We actually know a great deal about his career, as he was a player from his teenage years in 1926 all the way through 1960! We have him listed as John P. Foy, but contemporary sources as unearthed by Connor Mah suggested that his middle initial was actually B. If this is correct, then he could be John Bernard Foy, born May 9, 1912 in Chorlton and died April 30, 1986 in Burnage, Manchester. As always, of course, this is not certain.

Finally, while we are on the topic of unofficial Olympians, we have an update on Eulogio Quiroz, a light-heavyweight boxer who was slated to represent Peru at the 1936 Berlin Games, but did not start. We were able to confirm that he was indeed Eulogio Quiroz Andrade, born March 11, 1913 in Huacho and died October 7, 1976 in Lima.

First Half of 1932 Olympic Medal Mysteries

Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to cover three Olympic medal mysteries who were born in 1932. These are individuals who won a medal at the Olympics and who would now be over 90, but for whom we have no recent evidence of their being alive or any proof that they are deceased.

Wilfried Lorenz – Silver medalist for Germany in Dragon class sailing at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

Wilfried Lorenz, born January 18, 1932, represented Germany in the Dragon class sailing event at the 1964 Tokyo Games and won a silver medal. Domestically, he was an East German national champion from 1960 through 1963 and in 1965, and was runner-up in 1966 and 1967. Beyond that, however, we have no further details of his life.

(Vladimir Kryukov)

Vladimir Petrov – Bronze medalist for the Soviet Union in coxed pairs rowing at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Vladimir Petrov, born April 27, 1932, represented the Soviet Union in the coxed pairs rowing event at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where he won a bronze medal. He was also a member of the eights crew that was eliminated in the semi-finals. In the latter case, this makes him a teammate of a still-unresolved Olympic medal mystery that we covered earlier: Vladimir Kryukov, born October 2, 1925, who took silver in the coxed eights at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Both Petrov and Kryukov were European Champions in the eights in 1955, while Petrov was European runner-up in the coxed pairs in 1957.

(Graham Gipson, pictured in the Sunday Times)

Graham Gipson – Silver medalist for Australia in the 4×400 metres relay at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics

Graham Gipson, born May 21, 1932, represented Australia in three track events at the 1956 Melbourne Games, having the most success in the 4×400 metres relay, where his country won the silver medal. Gipson was the Australian champion in the 440 yards in 1953 and achieved several other podium finishes between then and 1958. Research by Connor Mah indicates that his wife died in 2012 and was buried in a family plot, and since Graham is not there, we suspect that he is still alive, although we have been unable to locate any proof.

(Mihhail Kaaleste)

Finally, on the subject of medalists, we wanted to address a recent removal: we had previously listed Mihhail Kaaleste, born August 20, 1931, who won a silver medal in K2 1000 canoeing at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, on our charts as living, but we discovered recently that he died May 5, 2018 in St. Petersburg.

1928 Romanian Olympic Mysteries

Today on Oldest Olympians we are going to complete our examination of competitors from the 1928 Amsterdam Games without dates of birth or death by looking into Romania. Specifically, there are four track and field athletes who are almost certainly deceased, but could in theory still be living.

(The 1928 Amsterdam Olympic delegation from Romania, pictured at the Romanian Olympic Committee)

The lone woman among the quartet is Irina Orendi of Olimpia Brașov, who was 20th and last in the qualifying round and thus did not advance. Tiberiu Rusu, meanwhile, took part in the men’s high jump and placed joint-28th (with, among others, Otto Schop(p), another Romanian Olympic mystery, but one who was active as early as 1926), also failing to qualify. Schop and Risu were also reserves with the 4×100 metres relay squad that did not start the competition. The other two were Ion Haidu, spelled “Hajdu” in Romanian sources, and Otto Rottman(n). Haidu, who failed to complete the decathlon, represented several clubs in Brașov, while Rottman, who was 27th in the qualifying round of the javelin throw, was another member of Olimpia Brașov and active until at least 1935.

With these names, prewar Romanian Olympic mysteries have been largely covered on this blog. The only remaining individuals who are missing all of their biographical data are three members of the Romania 1 four-man bobsled team from the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games that did not start the competition: Emil Angelescu, Teodor Popescu, and Alexandru Tăutu. Angelescu and Popescu were members of the squad that won silver in the four-man at the 1934 World Championships, and since every other member of the Romanian four-man bobsledding delegation to the 1936 Olympics was born in the 1900s decade, we assume that the three for whom we do not have dates of birth are deceased.

Finally, thanks to research from Connor Mah, we have one more Romanian Olympic mystery of a different stripe. We knew that Alexandru Dan, who competed at the 1936 Berlin Games, was born July 26, 1907, but Mah’s research has uncovered the fact that Dan died in 2007, thus potentially making him a centenarian. Unfortunately, we have been unable to ascertain an exact date of death to confirm this.