One Week of Updates

Oldest Olympians will be travelling with limited internet connectivity for the next week so, rather than miss an update, we have decided to post a blog entry today that will cover one Olympian for every day that we suspect we will be absent (February 25 – March 3).

During that time, there is only one milestone birthday, but it is a particularly important one: Willi Büsing, the oldest living German Olympian, will be turning 102 on March 2! Büsing is the last surviving member of the German three-day eventing team that won a silver medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and he played a key role in this success, as he was the highest-ranked German in the individual event, placing third and taking the individual bronze medal. He also won a silver medal in the team event at the 1954 European Championships and later became involved in sports administration. Most notably, he acted as team coach and veterinarian at the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Summer Games. He now resides in his hometown of Jade and is also the oldest living Olympic equestrian.

For the remaining entries, we want to acknowledge some Olympians who have died in the past year. First, French modern pentathlete Christian Beauvalet, born December 18, 1929, died July 23, 2022 at the age of 93. Beauvalet represented his country at the 1960 Rome Games, placing 15th with the French team and 45th individually. He was the French national champion that year and later worked as a fencing instructor.

Next, Bulgarian gymnast Mincho Todorov, born December 26, 1931, died August 2, 2022 at the age of 90. Todorov represented his country in two editions of the Games, 1952 and 1956, with a best finish of joint-sixth in the floor exercise in the latter edition. He was also ninth with the Bulgarian team in 1952. After winning several national titles between 1948 and 1954, he moved to Mexico and spent the rest of his life there as a gymnastics coach and administrator.

(Aino Autio, pictured at Helsingin Sanomat)

Then, Finnish track athlete Aino Autio, born January 4, 1932, died November 17, 2022 at the age of 90. Autio represented her country in the 80 metres hurdles and the 4×100 metres relay at the 1952 Helsinki Games, but was eliminated in the first round of both events. The 1951 Finnish national champion in the former event, she later worked as a teacher.

Just at the end of 2022, French weightlifter Pierre Bouladou, born November 18, 1925, died December 29 at the age of 97. Bouladou represented his country in the middleweight tournament at the 1948 London Games, where he placed sixth. This did make him, however, the top-placed European in this event at the Olympics.

(Nikos Chatzigiakoumis, pictured at Rodiaki)

At the beginning of 2023, Greek rower Nikos Chatzigiakoumis, born in 1930, died on January 2 at the age of either 92 or 93. Chatzigiakoumis represented his country in the single sculls at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where he was eliminated in the round one repêchage. He eventually settled in Australia and competed in masters-level rowing tournaments.

(Bruce Sharp, pictured at Gymnastics Victoria)

Finally, Australian gymnast Bruce Sharp, born March 24, 1931, died January 12 at the age of 91. Sharp represented his country in the tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where he was seventh in the team all-around and had a best individual finish of joint-28th in the horse vault.

The tables will not be updated during our absence, but we look forward to returning on March 4 to continue cover the Oldest Olympians! We hope that you will join us!

Růžena Košťálová

Today on Oldest Olympians we want to celebrate the birthday of Růžena Košťálová of Czechoslovakia, who we believe to be turning 99 as the oldest living Olympic canoeist. We have still not resolved our uncertainty from last year, however, as to whether or not that is actually the case.

Košťálová was one half of the silver medal-winning Czechoslovakian team in the Kayak Doubles, 500 metres event at the 1948 World Championships, which led to her selection to represent the country at that year’s Olympic Games in the Kayak Singles, 500 metres. Although she won her heat in the opening round, she finished fifth in the final. Having already won 12 national titles in the sport, she retired from active competition shortly thereafter and eventually moved to Switzerland with her family in 1968.

We based our belief that she is still alive on this 2020 document from the Czech Olympic Committee. A comprehensive 2021 work by František Kolář, however, Encyklopedie olympioniků. Čeští a českoslovenští sportovci na olympijských hrác, lists her, on page 178, as having died in January 2013. Both sources seem very reliable, and thus it is plausible that either are mistaken, so we have continued to list her as alive, although we cannot be entirely certain. Were Košťálová deceased, however, then Cees Koch of the Netherlands, born December 30, 1925, would be the oldest living Olympic canoeist.

(Rojas, pictured at Gobierno De Tehuacán Puebla)

We did, however, just receive an update on an Olympian that we have covered in the past: Mexican basketball player Fernando Rojas, born August 2, 1921, did not make it to the age of 100 – he died on December 26, 2016 at the age of 95. Additionally, judoka Aurelio Chu Yi, born January 31, 1929, whom we believed to be the oldest living Panamanian Olympian, actually died July 4, 1998 and the reports of his still being alive were incorrect. Finally, we have updates on two Olympic medal mysteries: Uruguayan bronze medal-winning basketball player Ramiro Cortés, born in 1931, died April 23, 1977, while German bronze medal-winning field hockey player Günther Brennecke died February 25, 2014.

Older than Félix Sienra

Recently we noted the death of Uruguayan sailor Félix Sienra, born January 21, 1916, who was, to the best of our knowledge, the oldest living (and longest-lived) Olympian when he died on January 30, 2023. As we have mentioned, however, there are over 2200 Olympians, non-starters, and demonstration event competitors born between 1913 and 1932 for whom we have no confirmation on whether they are alive or deceased. In addition, there are 293 individuals who participated in the Games in 1928, 1932, and 1936 for whom we have no information on their date, or even year, of birth. Today we want to focus on the 44 Olympians who would be older than Félix Sienra if they were still alive. Three of them were non-starters: Shigeo Takagi and Masuzo Maeda, born July 28, 1913 and June 29, 1914 respectively, who were reserves with Japan’s Olympic water polo squads, and Hussein Ezzat, born in 1915, who was a reserve with the Egyptian football team in 1936.

It should be noted that discussing these individuals in no way represents any belief on the part of Oldest Olympians that these athletes are still alive; we simply cannot confirm that they are deceased. In fact, we find it highly unlikely that any Olympian who is between the age of 107 and 109 would have escaped our attention completely. It remains, however, an important caveat and is always a possibility: language barriers, poor media coverage of older athletes, and desire for privacy from a generation when the Games were not as big as they are now all contribute to the chance that someone may have eluded our radar. In the past, several Olympic centenarians have reached that milestone with little public fanfare, sometimes not being revealed until their death. We feel, therefore, that it is important to share this list to make our research methods a little more public and subject to scrutiny, perhaps solving a case or two along the way.

Mie Muraoka represented Japan in the 4×100 metres track relay at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.


Osamu Abe,Japan,Rowing,August 11 1913
Sayed Ali Atta,Afghanistan,Field hockey,August 25 1913
Mohamed Hassanein,Egypt,Swimming,1913
Daiji Kurauchi,Japan,Field hockey,1913
Isamu Mita,Japan,Rowing,March 25 1913
Amin Mohamed,Egypt,Boxing,November 15 1913
Zafar Ahmed Muhammad,Pakistan,Sport shooting,July 10 1913
Mie Muraoka,Japan,Athletics,March 23 1913
Takao Nakae,Japan,Basketball,April 30 1913
Chiyoto Nakano,Japan,Boxing,February 7 1913
Shusui Sekigawa,Japan,Rowing,May 13 1913
Chikara Shirasaka,Japan,Rowing,August 18 1913

Zenjiro Watanabe represented Japan in figure skating’s singles event at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympics.


Toyoyi Aihara,Japan,Athletics,January 7 1914
Yukie Arata,Japan,Swimming,October 25 1914
Jihei Furusho,Japan,Water polo,December 15 1914
Mitsue Ishizu,Japan,Athletics,April 16 1914
Masaru Kashiwahara,Japan,Rowing,October 30 1914
Masayasu Maeda,Japan,Basketball,March 10 1914
Sayed Masoud,Egypt,Weightlifting,November 15 1914
Iwao Masuda,Japan,Athletics,December 25 1914
Osamu Takechi,Japan,Field hockey, 1914
Kosei Tano,Japan,Water polo,January 22 1914
Anwar Tawfik,Egypt,Fencing,July 31 1914
Zenjiro Watanabe,Japan,Figure skating,February 11 1914
Hideichi Yoshioka,Japan,Wrestling,September 10 1914

Jaime Ucar represented Uruguay in foil fencing at the 1948 London Olympics.




Sayed Ali Babaci,Afghanistan,Field hockey,March 12 1915

Ali Erfan,Egypt,Wrestling,March 18 1915

Nélida Fullone,Argentina,Fencing,January 27 1915

Michihiro Ito,Japan,Field hockey,March 20 1915

Takeo Ito,Japan,Field hockey,January 5 1915

Torajiro Kataoka,Japan,Water polo,Febraury 7 1915

Hiroshi Matsunobu,Japan,Gymnastics,October 15 1915

Spyridon Mavrogiorgos,Greece,Swimming, 1915

Mitsuo Mizutani,Japan,Wrestling,October 5 1915

Hatsuko Morioka,Japan,Swimming,June 22 1915

Uichi Munakata,Japan,Basketball,November 26 1915

Junko Nishida,Japan,Athletics,November 3 1915

Konstantinos Pantazis,Greece,Athletics, 1915

Denise Parmentier,Belgium,Gymnastics,July 5 1915

Hiroshi Tanaka,Japan,Athletics,June 29 1915

Jaime Ucar,Uruguay,Fencing,September 24 1915

Sadako Yamamoto,Japan,Athletics,July 14 1915


For our next entry, we will be looking into those Olympians who may still be alive and were born between Félix Sienra and the current oldest living Olympian, Yvonne Chabot-Curtet. We hope that you will join us!

2023 Fast Facts

One month into 2023, we wanted to share our yearly fast facts about the Oldest Olympians in the world, partially to continue our commitment to transparency in our research but mostly just for fun and to share some statistics!

(The oldest living Olympian, Yvonne Chabot-Curtet, born May 28, 1920)

As of today, our full list contains 2299 participants, non-starters, demonstration athletes, and art competitors born between 1913 and 1932 that could be living, 819 of which we believe to be living for certain. The former number is down from 2387 and the latter is up from 635 from the beginning of last year.

We also have 294 Olympians (down from 373 last year) who competed in the 1928, 1932, or 1936 Games, Winter and Summer, who have no date of birth but could be still living. It is worth reminding everyone that the vast majority of athletes that could be living are likely deceased.

(Iris Cummings-Critchell, the last known survivor of the 1936 Berlin Olympics)

As of the beginning of this month, we have 13 living Olympic centenarians, as seven died in 2022 and two in January 2023. We also know of one survivor from a pre-World War II Olympics: Iris Cummings, born December 21, 1920, who competed in the 200 metres breaststroke at the 1936 Berlin Games. If you have any suggestions of statistics or information that you would like to see added, please send us a message and we will be happy to include it in the next round!