Guy Troy

Today on Oldest Olympians we again want to highlight one of the centenarians on our list: American modern pentathlete Guy Troy, born March 15, 1923. Troy represented the United States at the 1952 Helsinki Games, finishing 14th out of 51 entrants individually and placing fourth with the American team, whom he also coached. Troy and the American team had had much better luck the previous year, when they took home the gold medal in the inaugural modern pentathlon tournament at the 1951 Pan American Games. By career he was a West Point graduate who served in the military, but for many years he also worked as an international event judge in modern pentathlon.

Guy Troy USMA 1946 Howitzer Photo p. 379

(Guy Troy)

Unfortunately, we learned that Troy died two days after his 100th birthday, on March 17, at the age of 100. This makes Hungary’s Gábor Benedek, born March 23, 1927 the oldest living Olympic modern pentathlete; he was already the oldest living medalist in the sport.

(Gábor Benedek)

After serving in World War II, Benedek made his Olympic debut at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where he won a silver medal in the individual event and, with the help of his countrymen, gold in the team tournament. He made a second appearance in 1956, where Hungary missed the podium in fourth and, individually, Benedek was sixth. He was also an individual World Champion in 1953 and a winner with the Hungarian team in 1954. For political reasons, he was banned from competing after 1959 and thus he took up coaching. He later emigrated to West Germany, where he remained until the end of the Cold War. He is now the last surviving member of his gold medal-winning team.

(Daniel Dagallier)

We also have an additional update on a modern pentathlete featured previously as an Olympic mystery. Lieutenant Pierre Coche represented France in this sport at the 1928 Amsterdam Games, where he placed 29th, but we otherwise knew nothing about him. As researcher Taavi Kalju discovered, this is because the Olympian was actually Paul Coche, born January 26, 1904 and died November 24, 1996. On the other hand, we learned that French Olympic medal mystery Daniel Dagallier, born June 11, 1926, who won a bronze medal in team épée fencing in 1956 and also competed in 1952, was alive as recently as 2018.

Vasily Borisov

Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to provide an update on Vasily Borisov, born December 12, 1922, who we believed to be the oldest living Olympian to have represented the Soviet Union, the oldest living Olympic sport shooting medalist, and the oldest survivor of the 1960 Rome Olympics. Borisov represented his nation in five events across two editions of the Games, 1956 and 1960, winning one medal of each color and coming in fourth in the other two events. He was a 22-time medalist at the World Championships, including 12 titles, and also found success at the European Championships. A military man by career, he later worked as a shooting coach.

(Vasily Borisov in 1954)

We had seen reports that Borisov had reached his 100th birthday and updated our tables accordingly. A new article, however, has revealed that Borisov actually died March 21, 2003 in Moscow, and that this had gone unreported previously. This makes Ennio Mattarelli, born August 5, 1928, who won the trap competition for Italy at the 1964 Tokyo Games, the oldest living Olympic sport shooting medalist, and Swiss track athlete Gabriel Reymond, born April 15, 1923, the oldest survivor of the 1960 Rome Games. The oldest living Soviet Olympian is now Yulen Uralov, born November 23, 1924, who fenced at the 1952 Helsinki Games.

(Pavel Kharin)

As for the oldest living Soviet medalist, that distinction now goes to Ninel Krutova, born January 3, 1926, who took bronze in platform diving at her third Olympics in 1960. The oldest living Soviet Olympic champion is Nikita Simonyan, born October 12, 1926, who was a member of the team that won the football tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games. Finally, we received the sad news that Pavel Kharin, born June 8, 1927, who won gold and silver medals in sprint canoeing at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, died March 6 at the age of 95. He was the oldest living Olympic canoeing medalist, a distinction that now goes to Ferenc Mohácsi of Hungary, born October 25, 1929, who took bronze in the C-2 1000 event at the same Games.

The report announcing Borisov’s death mentioned that it has been difficult to verify information on many Soviet Olympians, even those who won medals, which is a phenomenon that we have experienced in our own research. For example, we have seen conflicting information about whether rower Yury Rogozov, born September 8, 1930, is alive. Others fall into the realm of what we have termed missing links; for example, swimmer Farid Dosayev, born March 6, 1933, is listed as having died on November 19, 2021 on the Russian Wikipedia, but with no source. Similarly, sailor Vyacheslav Tineyev, born May 1, 1933, is listed as having died on May 20, 2013 on the Russian Wikipedia, but again with no source.