More 1932 Olympic Art Competitors

Two weeks ago on this blog, we examined some of the lesser-known Belgian art competitors who entered the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Today, we wanted to look at five additional entrants for whom we have limited information: two from the United States and three from Cuba.

In general, we know the details of most American art competitors, although Jay C. Maddox has eluded us. Maddox entered an unknown painting event with the work “Gallant Fox” and, at the time of the Games, lived at 206 N. 35th St., Philadelphia. We have been unable to find a painter by this name, however, and suspect that this might be a pseudonym, and we have been similarly been unable to find who lived at that address at the time. Another mysterious competitor is Elsie Swanson, who entered an unknown work into the music competition. Without anything else to go on, we cannot identify her with precision.

(Ernesto Lecuona)

Three Cubans entered the same music competition, all with unknown works. One went by the moniker “Lenva”, but we suspect that this was the well-known composer and pianist Ernesto Lecuona y Casado. Another was Abelardo Cuevas, known as a composer and oboist, who was most active during the 1930s and the 1940s. We have not, unfortunately, been able to uncover his biographical details. Finally, Rogelio Pazquez is the most mysterious of all, as we have no leads on his specialty or identity.

Finally, on the subject of Cuba, we have one more mysterious track and field athlete from the Los Angeles Games: Rafael Pérez Rodríguez. Pérez was entered into the high jump and long jump, but did not start either of the events, and we have been unable to learn anything additional about him.

Afghanistan at the 1948 London Olympics

A little while ago, we covered Iraq’s delegation to the 1948 London Olympics as one of the national teams for whom we were missing considerable information. Today we want to turn our attention to another country for whom we are missing substantial data: Afghanistan. Afghanistan sent two teams to the 1948 Games, one for football and one for field hockey.

Afghanistan had actually made its début at the Games in 1936, including a field hockey team, but none of the participants returned in 1948, where they were eliminated in the preliminary round. For roughly half of the squad, we have only a year of birth: 1925 for Abdul Kadir Nuristani, Jahan Gulam Nuristani, Mohammad Kadir Nuristani, and Khan Nasrullah Totakhail, 1926 for Mohammad Jahan Nuristani, and 1928 for Mohammad Amin Nuristani, Bakhteyar Gulam Mangal, and Din Mohammad Nuristani. In the latter case, we have a possible lead, as a Din Mohammad Din M Nooristan(y/i), born c. 1927, lived for many years in Virginia. The Social Security Death Index records a Din M. Nooristani of Aldie, Virginia, who was born October 1, 1925, dying on March 17, 2008. Unfortunately, we have no proof that he was the Olympian. About the others, Ahmad Yusufzai, Ahmad Jahan Nuristani, Ahmad Tajik, Mohammad Khogaini, Mohammad Attai, and G. Jagi (who we covered in an earlier post), we know nothing at all.

In terms of the football squad, which was eliminated by Luxembourg in the qualifying round, we have much of the same problem. Abdul Hamid Tajik, Abdul Shacour Azimi, Abdul Ghani Assar, and Yar Mohammad Barakzai were born in 1923, while Abdul Ahad Kharot and Mohammad Anwar Afzal were born in 1926. About Abdul Ghafoor Yusufzai, Abdul Ghafoor Assar, Mohamed Anwar Kharot, Mohammed Sarwar, and Mohamed Ibrahim Gharzai, we again know nothing.

Finally, we wanted to thank those who recently helped us solve some of our previously-featured Olympic mysteries. One contributor provided us proof that Australian silver medal-winning track athlete Graham Gipson, born May 21, 1932, was still alive at least as of 2017. Secondly, the family of Indian sport shooter Harihar Banerjee was kind enough to confirm that he was born April 15, 1922 in Kolkata and died March 28, 1999 in the same city, in addition to providing the picture above.

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.