The 1936 Military Ski Patrol Demonstration

Since we have been covering demonstration events recently on this blog, we decided today to look at one from the Winter Games: the military ski patrol. Military patrol is a sport that combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting and is the ancestor to the biathlon event of the present day. It was an official sport at the 1924 Chamonix Olympics, and was a demonstration event in 1928, 1936, and 1948. As demonstration events, we often know less about these athletes than others, and we have featured some of them before in our Olympic mysteries. Today, we wanted to mention some of those who competed at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirschen Games.

(Franz Hiermann)

Nine teams of four men took part in the 1936 tournament, with Italy, Finland, and Sweden taking the three podium spots. We have full biographical data on all of those competitors, so our first mystery comes from the fourth-placed Austrian team, as we are missing information on Franz Hiermann, aside from the fact that he was a national champion in this sport in 1934. Similarly, the sixth-placed French team has one member, Jean Morand, who we have been unable to identify.

Switzerland and Poland, meanwhile, who were ranked seventh and ninth respectively, each have two competitors for whom we have no information. In Switzerland’s case, they are Josef Jauch and Eduard Waser, while for Poland their names are Adam Rzepka and Jean Pydych.

Finally, since we are mentioning a French Olympic mystery, we thought that we would share some of the cases that we mentioned previously that have now been solved. Field hockey player Pierre de Lévaque was actually Patrice Delévaque, who was born September 10, 1892, while his 1928 teammate Maurice Lanet was actually Maxime Lanet, born November 12, 1898 and died December 4, 1947. Similarly, from 1928, wrestler Henri Deniel turned out to be Hervé Deniel, born February 14, 1899 and died December 11, 1951, while Jean Pierre Rouanet was Jean Paul Rouanet, born March 28, 1894 and died July 21, 1979. Finally, Connor Mah was able to find biographical data for two more 1928 Olympic mysteries: rower Léon le Cornu was born October 15, 1905 and died November 5, 1977, while boxer Robert Galataud was born May 19, 1907 and died November 7, 1978.