In our last Oldest Olympians blog entry, we mentioned the case of several architects who entered the art competitions for the 1936 Berlin Olympics while representing Czechoslovakia. This made us realize that we have a handful more of Czechoslovakian art competitors from that year about whom we know little to nothing, so we wanted to take some time today to cover them in their own post.
First, there was another architecture entry, titled “Construction project for the grandstand of the ‘Sparta’ Athletic Club”, which was meant to expand the seating capacity at Letná Stadium in Prague, which had been built in 1917. Of the three submitters, we have full biographical information on Václav Houdek, who was known for his projects in Slovakia. The names of the other two submitters, Josef Bauer and Jaroslav Nedvěd, are relatively common, and we have not been able to learn more about them.
In the music, compositions for orchestra competition, František Koubek submitted a work titled “Vlastní silou – k vítězství” (“With your own strength to victory”), but we do not have any other information about him. In literature’s dramatic works category, meanwhile, Richard Augsten entered “Eternal Olympia”, which was a “festival play”. Augsten was a secondary school teacher who wrote stage plays, but we do not know his biographical data.
Additionally, in the literature, epic works, competition, we have the most mysterious Czechoslovakian art competitor of all: an individual known only by the name “Jerry” submitted “The Meaning and Essence of Sport”. With this being such a common first name, as well as potentially a surname, we have been unable to uncover any more about this entrant. In this regard he is much like the artist known only as “Chiffre”, who submitted “Sports in Music” to the instrumental and chamber music category, representing Yugoslavia.
Finally, we wanted to thank our readers once again for providing us with new information on some of our past Olympic mysteries. Ralf Regnitter was able to confirm that German cyclist Paul Maue is still alive, while Wikipedia user Pbk demonstrated that the Czechoslovakian Věra Drazdíková who died in 1983 was indeed in the Olympic gymnast. Finally, Connor Mah passed on the sad news that Anna Van Marcke, born April 18, 1924, who we had been listing for many years as the oldest living Belgian Olympian, actually died shortly after the last update we had in June 2012. This means that speed skating champion Micheline Lannoy has been the oldest living Belgian Olympian since 2021.
Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to wrap up 2022 by looking at some of the Olympic mysteries that we came across near the end of that year. These are individuals for whom we believe to have information about their deaths, but we either cannot connect it to the Olympian or we cannot confirm it in a reliable source.
Rudolf Procházka – Art competitor for Czechoslovakia at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, a group of four architects from Czechoslovakia – Hans Ruda, Rudolf Procházka, Karel Martínek, and Egon Plefka – submitted an entry to the architecture competition entitled “Návrhem stadionu v Brně”, which was an urban study of a central sports facility for Greater Brno. It did not win a prize, and we know essentially nothing of the four architects who submitted it. We did find the grave of a Rudolf Procházka, born September 6, 1890 and died June 15, 1972, who is buried in Brno, but we cannot confirm that this is the Olympian.
Dušan Houdek – Member of Czechoslovakia’s sport shooting delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics
Dušan Houdek, born April 2, 1931, represented Czechoslovakia in two small-bore rifle sport shooting events at the 1960 Rome Games. In the prone, 50 metres, competition, he was eliminated in the qualifying round, while in the three positions, 50 metres, he just missed the podium in fourth. We know that he was alive at his 90th birthday, but someone added a date of death of October 27, 2022 and a place of death of Nezdenice, Czech Republic to his Wikipedia. We have not, however, been able to confirm this.
Dimitrios Michail – Member of Greece’s boxing delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics
Dimitrios Michail, born March 19, 1932, represented Greece in the light-welterweight boxing tournament at the 1960 Rome Games, where he was eliminated in round two. He had had better luck the previous year, where he took bronze as a welterweight at the Mediterranean Games. We know that he was still alive in 2021 and living in Australia, but we are uncertain if this obituary for a Demetrios Michael, who died in July 2022, is for the Olympian.
Věra Drazdíková – Member of Czechoslovakia’s gymnastics team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
Věra Drazdíková, born February 1, 1933, represented Czechoslovakia in the gymnastics tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where the nation was fifth in the team all-around and seventh in the team portable apparatus. Individually, Drazdíková’s best finish was 28th on the balance beam. There is a grave in Prague for a Věra Drazdíková born in 1933 who died in 1983, but we cannot confirm that it is for the Olympian.
One additional Olympic mystery concerns Hermann Lochbühler, who was a member of the German military ski patrol team that placed fifth in the demonstration event at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympics. We found a record for an individual of this name who was born December 21, 1900, but we are not certain if it is for the Olympian. Finally, we wanted to provide a few updates to our posts on Olympians last known living in 2012. Thanks to our readers, we now know that Benny Schmidt was still alive in at least 2014, Milica Rožman in at least 2016, and Daphne Wilkinson as recently as 2021. Thank you to everyone who submitted information!
Today on Oldest Olympians, we are concluding our series on Olympians who were last known living in 2012. First, however, we wanted to thank our readers who provided us with updates from the previous posts: Üner Teoman and Fred Daigle are still living, while Aram Boghossian was still alive in 2015, so he is no longer in immediate danger of being removed from the list.
(Francisco de Andrade on the left)
Francisco de Andrade – Bronze medalist for Portugal in Star class sailing at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
Francisco de Andrade, born July 15, 1923, represented Portugal in the Star class sailing tournament at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he won a bronze medal. Although he had taken part in several World Championships prior to the Olympics, Andrade retired after earning this prize, as he wanted to spend more time with his family. He did, however, found and run sailing schools by profession. His partner, Joaquim Fiúza, was at one time Portugal’s oldest living Olympian and, having died at the age of 102 years, 24 days, remains the country’s only centenarian Olympian. Andrade is one of two Olympians that we missed on our list of Olympic “title holders”, as he would be turning 100 this year as the oldest Portuguese Olympian and the oldest Olympic sailing medalist. We have not, however, been able to locate an update on him since 2012.
Dimitri Atanasov – Member of Bulgaria’s alpine skiing delegation to the 1952 Oslo Olympics
Dimitri Atanasov, born August 8, 1927, represented Bulgaria in the slalom at the 1952 Oslo Games, where he was eliminated after the first run. Like Andrade, we missed him in our previous post, as he is a candidate for the oldest living Bulgarian Olympian. We have not had much luck keeping up with Bulgarian Olympians, however, and Atanasov is no different; our last evidence of his being alive comes from his 85th birthday announcement in 2012.
Klaus von Freesen – Member of Germany’s rowing delegation to the 1956 Melbourne Games
Klaus von Fersen, born March 29, 1931, represented Germany in the single sculls at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where he was eliminated in the semi-finals. At the European Championships, he won four consecutive silver medals from 1956 through 1959, while domestically he won the German title six times from 1955 through 1960, in addition to a double sculls title in the first year. We believe that he is still alive, as he is fairly well-known, but sometimes even medalists die beneath the radar and the last concrete evidence we have comes from 2012.
Paul Maue – Member of Germany’s cycling delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
Paul Maue, born January 4, 1932, represented Germany in cycling’s road race at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he was fifth with the team and 48th individually. He was national champion in 1954 and had a professional career, but he retired after two seasons. His son Michael competed in the 100 kilometers team time trial that finished 12th at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Again, we suspect that Paul is still alive, but our last piece of definite evidence comes from 2012.
Milica Rožman – Member of Yugoslavia’s gymnastics delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
Milica Rožman, born August 5, 1932, represented Yugoslavia in the gymnastics tournament at the 1952 Helsinki Games, finishing 11th in the team all-around and 8th in the team portable apparatus, and had a best individual result of 44th on the balance beam. She had been a reserve at the 1948 London Olympics and placed fourth in the team all-around at the 1950 World Championships. Like many Olympians that we have featured recently, we saw an update on her for the 2012 London Games, but nothing since.
Benny Schmidt – Denmark’s lone modern pentathlete at the 1960 Rome Olympics
Benny Schmidt, born June 25, 1929, represented Denmark in the modern pentathlon at the 1960 Rome Games, where he placed 47th and carried the nation’s flag in the opening ceremony. He won a national title in the 4×100 metres in 1953, and then became the Danish show jumping champion from 1956 through 1959. He was a military officer for his entire career, and while it seems likely that he is still alive, we only have evidence of this from 2012.
Jaroslav Šír – Member of Czechoslovakia’s military ski patrol delegation to the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics
Jaroslav Šír, born November 8, 1923, represented Czechoslovakia in the military ski patrol demonstration event at the 1948 St. Moritz Games, where his nation placed sixth. Serving in the army, he was a member of the national ski team from 1948 through 1955, although he never won an international medal. If he were still alive, he would be turning 100 this year, although we have not heard anything about him since 2012.
Günter Stratmann – Germany’s lone fencer at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
Günter Stratmann, born January 8, 1931, represented Germany in all three fencing events at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where he was eliminated in the semifinals of the foil and sabre and the second round of the épée. Domestically, he was a four-time German champion and, by career, was a businessman. His son Jörg took part in the sabre tournament at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. We do not know for certain if Günter is still alive, but we do have confirmation from 2012.
This concludes our series on Olympians who were last known living in 2012, which means that for the next blog entry we will be presenting a new topic. We hope that you will join us!
Today on Oldest Olympians, we are keeping up the momentum on reviewing those Olympians who were last known living in 2012. Today’s focus is on the remaining Olympians who competed at the 1948 London Games.
Aram Boghossian – Member of Brazil’s swimming delegations to the 1948 and 1952 Summer Olympics
Aram Boghossian, born November 19, 1929, represented Brazil in four swimming events across two editions of the Games, 1948 and 1952, but did not reach the podium in any of them. He did, however, win a silver medal as a member of the 4×200 metres freestyle relay at the 1951 Pan American Games. He continued to swim at the masters’ level and, by career, was an engineer. We suspect that he is still alive, but the last official confirmation that we have seen comes from 2012.
Bruce Bourke – Member of Australia’s swimming delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Bruce Bourke, born February 5, 1929, represented Australia in two swimming events at the 1948 London Games and was also a reserve with the 4×200 metres freestyle relay. He was also a member of the water polo team that won the demonstration event at the 1950 British Empire Games. His son Glenn became an Olympic sailor in 1992. Bruce made headlines in 2012 when it was revealed that he had stolen an Olympic flag in 1948, but we have not heard anything from him since.
Fred Daigle – Member of Canada’s boxing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Fred Daigle, born September 9, 1930, represented Canada in bantamweight boxing at the 1948 London Games, where he was eliminated in his first bout. His daughter posted a blog entry about his Olympic journey in 2012, noting that he was still alive, but we have not had an update since.
Gerti Fesl – Member of Austria’s gymnastics teams at the 1948 and 1952 Summer Olympics
Gerti Fesl, born September 29, 1931, represented Austria in gymnastics at two editions of the Games, finishing sixth and tenth in the team all-around in 1948 and 1952 respectively. Individually, she had her best finish of 66th in the uneven bars in 1952. She was the national individual all-around champion in 1955 and 1958 and was featured in a 2012 article, but we have not seen any news since.
Cees Gravesteijn – Member of the Netherlands’ canoeing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Cees Gravesteijn, born April 21, 1928, represented the Netherlands in canoeing’s K-2 1000 competition, where he finished in sixth. This is all that we know about him, and our last update of his being alive comes from a 2012 article that is no longer available.
Vivian King – Member of Canada’s swimming delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Vivian King, born April 4, 1930 (although some sources suggest 1931), represented Canada in two events at the 1948 London Games, being eliminated in the semi-finals of the 400 metres freestyle and the opening round of the 4×100 metres freestyle relay. She won multiple national championships, but turned professional prior to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. We were informed that she was still alive in 2012, but we have not seen any indication that this has been the case since then.
Klara Post – Member of the Dutch gymnastics squad at the 1948 London Olympics
Klara Post, born July 5, 1926, was a member of the Dutch gymnastics team that placed fifth in the all-around event at the 1948 London Games. She was mentioned as still being alive in the same 2012 article that also provided an update for Cees Gravesteijn.
Ilse Steinegger – Member of Austria’s athletics delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Ilse Steinegger, born August 8, 1925, represented Austria in the high and long jumps at the 1948 London Games, placing seventh and tenth respectively. Domestically, she was the national champion in those events in 1943, 1947, and 1949. She was listed as still being alive in a 2012 update on Austrian Olympians, but we have not heard anything about her since.
Üner Teoman – Member of Turkey’s athletics delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Üner Teoman, born October 10, 1932, represented Turkey in the 100 metres track event at the 1948 London Games, where she was eliminated in round one. She was a pioneer in Turkish athletics and was still alive in 2012, but we are not certain if that remains the case.
We still have more names to cover, but even with these short biographies, we think that we have done enough for one post. We hope as always, however, that you will join us for the next round!
Today on Oldest Olympians, we are continuing to review those Olympians who were last known living in 2012. Thanks to some great research on our last post from our readers, we learned that Shirley Cawley is still alive, John Strover was still alive in 2016, and Eddie Bowey died in 2016. Today we wanted to continue this energy by focusing on those Olympians who hold a “title” among the oldest Olympians.
Lies Bonnier – Member of the Netherlands’ swimming delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
Lies Bonnier, born July 8, 1925, represented the Netherlands in the 200 metres breaststroke event at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where she was eliminated in the semi-finals. After winning her first and only national title a few months after the Olympics, she retired from active competition, although she later participated in masters-level tournaments. She was known to be alive in 2012 and, if she is still alive today, then she is the oldest living Dutch Olympian.
Hong Jong-Oh – Member of South Korea’s athletics delegations to the 1948 and 1952 Summer Olympics
Hong Jong-Oh, born July 7, 1925, represented South Korea in two editions of the Olympic marathon, placing 25th in 1948 and failing to finish in 1952. He was mentioned in 2012 as being one of the few local survivors of the 1948 London Games, which would now make him the oldest living South Korean Olympian, but we have not seen an update since then.
Boonpak Kwancharoen – Member of Thailand’s athletics delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
Boonpak Kwancharoen, born April 9, 1928, represented Thailand in the 800 metres track event at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he was eliminated in round one. He was also a reserve with the 4×100 and 4×400 metres relays, but did not compete in those events. Connor Mah provided evidence that he was still alive in 2012, but we do not have anything additional for his being alive beyond that. If he were, however, he would be the oldest living Thai Olympian.
Marija Radosavljević – Member of Yugoslavia’s athletics delegations to the 1948 and 1952 Summer Olympics
Marija Radosavljević, born July 18, 1927, represented Yugoslavia in the shot put at the 1948 and 1952 Summer Games, placing seventh both times. She also competed at the 1950 and 1954 European Championships and was Yugoslav Sportswoman of the Year in 1952. She was noted as being alive in 2012, and would be the oldest person to have represented Yugoslavia at the Olympics if still living, but we have not had an update since.
Anna Van Marcke – Member of Belgium’s canoeing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Anna Van Marcke, born April 18, 1924, represented Belgium in canoeing’s K-1 500 event at the 1948 London Games, where she placed seventh. She married another canoeing Olympian, Jozef Massy, and was still alive in 2012, shortly after his death, but we have not seen any further information. If alive, she would be the oldest living Belgian Olympian.
Suhas Chatterjee – Member of India’s water polo team at the 1948 London Olympics
Suhas Chatterjee, born in 1925, represented India in the water polo tournament at the 1948 London Games, where his country was eliminated in round two. He later became a physician and was last covered in the media (as far as we have seen) in 2012. We currently list Amit Singh Bakshi, born September 17, 1925, as the oldest living Indian Olympian and thus, depending on his exact date of birth, Chatterjee might be older if he were still alive.
Those are enough names for today, but we will be continuing this series in the coming days, as we have many more Olympians to cover. We hope that you will join us!
At the beginning of last year, we listed eight individuals for whom we last had information on their being alive in 2011: François Fug, Geoff Heskett, Ivan Jacob, Lazar Hristov, Guy McGregor, Merv Moy, Eino Oksanen, and Erwin Vogt. Since then, we have learned that Ivan Jacob died in 2009, Oksanen was still alive but died several months ago, and Heskett, McGregor, and Vogt are still alive. This means that Fug, Hristov, and Moy will unfortunately have to be removed from our tables and placed on the “possibly living” category list. This brings us to our next task, reviewing those who were last known living since 2012, although this year there are far more names than usual to cover. This is in significant part due to English-language media covering many competitors for the London Olympics that year and reflecting on the last time it was held in the city, in 1948. As such, we have to break this entry into several posts, and it seems apt to begin with the five competitors who represented Great Britain.
Eddie Bowey – Member of Great Britain’s wrestling delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Eddie Bowey, born January 5, 1926, represented Great Britain in the middleweight, freestyle wrestling event at the 1948 London Games, where he survived until round three. He just missed the podium in that event at the 1950 British Empire Games by finishing fourth. He later moved to New Zealand to work as a lumberjack, before returning to London. Like many survivors who competed at the 1948 Olympics, he was interviewed and photographed in the lead-up to the 2012 London Games, but we have not seen anything about him since.
Shirley Cawley – Bronze medalist for Great Britain in the long jump at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
Shirley Cawley, born April 26, 1932, represented Great Britain in the long jump at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where she won a bronze medal. She also competed at the 1954 European Championships, where she placed seventh. We know that her married name is Berry, but we have not been able to confirm that she has been alive since 2012.
Robert Collins – Member of Great Britain’s coxed fours rowing squad at the 1948 London Olympics
Robert Collins, born April 18, 1924, represented Great Britain in coxed fours rowing at the 1948 London Games, where the crew was eliminated in the quarterfinals. A graduate of the University of Oxford, he was interviewed for the 2012 London Olympics and we have not had an update on him since.
John Strover – Member of Great Britain’s field hockey team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
John Strover, born February 2, 1931, represented Great Britain in the field hockey tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where the team lost the bronze medal match against Germany and placed fourth. We do not know much else about him, but records indicate that he was still alive in 2012, which is the last update that we have for him.
Daphne Wilkinson – Member of Great Britain’s swimming delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
Daphne Wilkinson, born April 17, 1932, represented Great Britain in the 400 metres freestyle swimming event at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where she was eliminated in the semifinals and placed 11th overall. She had better luck at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, where she took bronze as part of the 4×110 yard freestyle relay. Domestically, she earned three titles in the 440 yards and one in the 220 yards freestyle. As with Bowey and Collins, she was interviewed in 2012 and we have not had any updates since.
There are many more names for us to cover, but we think that this is enough for today, so we will stop here. We will be back soon, however, so we wish you a Happy New Year and hope that will join us once again!