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!