1932 Belgian Art Competitors

Today on Oldest Olympians, we wanted to take a look a Belgian art competitors from the 1932 Los Angeles Games. While we are missing much data on art competitors in general, Belgium is one country in particular for whom we have several individuals who are lacking biographical details entirely.

We know at least a little about one: Marcel Prévost. Prévost competed in the paintings, drawings, and water colors event, and while we do not know which type he submitted, we do know that it was titled Coureurs (Runners) and received an honorable mention. It was most likely a painting, as this would align with his profession, and we are aware that he later taught at the Royal Academy of Mons.

Three of our other individuals at least have full names. The most prolific of them was Hélène Gérard, who submitted six entries into the painting, graphic arts, category: Throwing the Javelin, Tango, Golf, Tennis, Aquaplaning, and Perche Shooting. Valère De Moer, meanwhile, had four entries in the sculpturing, medals and reliefs division: Insignes (Insignia), Coupe metal (Metal Goblet), and two works titled Bouchon radiateur (Radiator Mascot). Anna Van Nuffel had just one entry, Hockey, in an unknown sculpting event.

Also competing in an unknown sculpting event was a Belgian individual who went only by “Daemers”. He submitted a work entitled Cricket, and we know nothing else about them. For D. Dumortier, who submitted Régates (Regattas) in an unknown painting event, we have little to go on besides that first initial. Finally there was Deryck, who submitted a design called Stadium in the architecture competition, and whose name is quite common and possibly even pseudonymous.

(Henri Niemgeerts)

There is another Belgian art competitor from that year who is a bit of an Olympic mystery. Fritz De Boever also took part in the architecture event with the work Zwembad Van Eyck (Swimming Palace). We suspect that he was Fritz Camillus De Boever, born January 11, 1909 in Ghent, but have not been able to prove this. Finally, on the topic of Belgian Olympians, we have an update: field hockey player Henri Niemegeerts, born February 15, 1922, whom we covered in a previous blog post as having possibly reached the age of 100, actually died September 19, 2016 at the age of 94, in Waterloo, Belgium.

Updates Following the Death of Celina Seghi

Last month we unfortunately noted the death of Italian alpine skier Celina Seghi, born March 6, 1920, who died July 27 at the age of 102. At the time of her death, she was the third-oldest Olympian overall and thus held numerous “titles” among the Oldest Olympians. While usually we prefer to announce the successors in a separate post, in this case there are so many, most of whom we have covered on this page multiple times, that we decided to use our weekly blog post to highlight all of the changes.

(Yvonne Chabot-Curtet)

In terms of broad categories, Seghi was the oldest living woman to have competed at the Olympics. That distinction now goes to Yvonne Chabot-Curtet, born May 28, 1920, who represented France in the long jump at the 1948 and 1952 Summer Games. Seghi was also the oldest living Winter Olympian, a title that now goes to Australia’s Frank Prihoda, born July 8, 1921, who took part in alpine skiing at the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics.

(Rhoda Wurtele, pictured in a clip from My Canadian Moment)
Seghi, however, competed at the 1948 and 1952 Winter Games, which means that Prihoda cannot inherit those titles. Those mantles, therefore, are taken by Micheline Lannoy and Rhoda Wurtele respectively. Lannoy, born January 31, 1925, won a gold medal for Belgium in the pairs figure skating event at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics. Wurtele, born January 21, 1922, took part in alpine skiing at the 1952 Oslo Olympics and competed in all three events.

Seghi was also the oldest living Italian Olympian and the new titleholder in that regard is Antonio Carattino, born April 2, 1923, who took part in the Olympic sailing tournament in 1952, 1956, and 1968. Finally, to update from another death from last month, Swedish triple jumper Arne Åhman was the oldest living Olympic athletics champion at the time of his death on July 5. That distinction now goes to American Bob Richards, born February 20, 1926, who took gold in the pole vault in 1952 and 1956 (and bronze in 1948). This also makes Vanja Blomberg, born January 28, 1929, who won a gold medal in the team portable apparatus at the 1952 Helsinki Games, the oldest living Swedish Olympic champion.