Recently, we have noted the deaths of two Olympians, Herb Douglas and Siiri Rantanen, who held multiple distinctions among the oldest Olympians. Douglas was the oldest living Olympic track and field athletics and American medalist, while Rantanen was the oldest living Olympian to have competed at the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo and 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics, the oldest living Olympic cross-country skiing medalist, and the oldest living Finnish Olympian. Given that all of these titles have now changed hands, we wanted to provide a brief update of who holds them now.
The oldest living Olympic track and field medalist is now German Marianne Werner, born January 4, 1924, who recently turned 99. Werner won silver and bronze in the shot put in 1952 and 1956 respectively, and also competed in the discus throw both years. The oldest living American Olympic medalist is now Gordy Giovanelli, born April 11, 1925, who was already the oldest living American Olympic champion. He took gold in rowing’s coxed fours event at the 1948 London Games.
The oldest living Finnish Olympian, meanwhile, is now Freddy Ehrström, born August 29, 1925, who represented his country in Star class sailing at the 1960 Rome Games. The oldest living Olympic cross-country skiing medalist is now Heikki Hasu, born March 21, 1926, who was already the oldest living cross-country skiing champion, as he took gold in the 4×10 kilometers relay at the 1952 Oslo Games. The new oldest living survivors of the 1956 and 1960 Winter Olympics are Yury Sergeyev of the Soviet Union and Andreas Däscher of Switzerland respectively. Sergeyev, born July 16, 1925, came in fourth in the 500 metres speed skating event, while Däscher was a four-time Olympian in ski jumping.
While we are on the topic of the Winter Olympics, we wanted to provide an update that the Engelbert Zunterer born February 22, 1923 and died June 27, 2011, who we covered in an earlier blog post, was the same individual who represented EC Mittenwald Ferchensee in the ice stock sport tournament at the 1964 Innsbruck Games. Finally, as an update to our most recent blog post, we learned from a reader that Dutch sailor Gerard Lautenschutz, born November 27, 1928, died October 11, 2022 at the age of 93.