Two Australian Field Hockey Olympians

(Dennis Kemp, pictured at Hockey Australia)

Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to cover two Australian field hockey Olympians who died in November: Dennis Kemp and Mike Craig. Kemp, born July 28, 1931, represented his country in the tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where the Australians placed fifth. A member of the Perth Hockey Club, he had made his début with the national squad in 1954 and would remain active in the sport as either a player or coach through 1980. He was also selected for the 1960 Rome Games, but was unable to attend. He died November 17 at the age of 92.

(Mike Craig, pictured at Hockey Australia)

Mike Craig, born February 7, 1931, was able to make the trip, however, where Australia ranked sixth. Outside of his playing career, he was known for his contributions to the administrative side of the sport and was awarded several times for his work in this field. He died November 20, also at the age of 92.

We also wanted to use this opportunity to mention the death of an Olympian that occurred nearly two years ago. Up until recently, we listed Enrique Lucca, born December 23, 1923, as the oldest living Venezuelan Olympian. Lucca represented his country in the small-bore rifle, prone, 50 metres sport shooting event at the 1956 Melbourne Games, where he finished 25th. He had better luck at the 1963 Pan American Games, where he won a bronze medal in the team version of that competition. We had been told by his son that he was still alive in August 2021, and were looking forward to his 100th birthday later this year. Some of his other relatives, however, informed us that Lucca actually died one month after we learned that he was alive, on September 15, 2021.

Finally, we wanted to end this blog with an Olympic mystery related to its main topic: field hockey. Daiji Kurauchi, born in 1913, represented Japan in the field hockey tournament at the 1936 Berlin Games, where his country placed joint-fifth with Afghanistan. We were able to locate a report about an individual by this name who died January 19, 1953 at the age of 41, which would be appropriate for the Olympian if the year of birth was just an estimate. This individual is listed as being a liquor executive by occupation, however, and thus we cannot tie him definitively to the Olympian.

Several Updates to Oldest Olympian Titleholders

Yesterday we noted that sport shooter Khalif Ayyat, born December 1, 1929, died September 5, 2022, at the age of 92 as the oldest living Jordanian Olympian and oldest survivor of the 1980 Moscow Games. We know of no other Jordanian Olympians who are alive over the age of 90, but Polish equestrian Wanda Wąsowska, born June 28, 1931, is now the oldest survivor of the Moscow Olympics. In addition to this, we have a few other titleholders that have died recently that we want to cover in this blog.

(José Pérez)

First, we had listed sailor Sergio González, born July 3, 1925, as the oldest living Mexican Olympian for some time. Research by Connor Mah, however, uncovered the fact that he died September 3, 2017, and thus never held the title. According to our lists, therefore, José Pérez, born October 10, 1928, who represented his country in three consecutive editions of the modern pentathlon (1952-1960), and fencing at latter edition, would be the oldest living Mexican Olympian. An anonymous edit to Wikipedia, however, claims that he died in 2022, although we have not been able to confirm this. If it were true, rower Roberto Retolaza, born January 12, 1930, who took part in the Games in 1960 and 1968, would be the oldest living Mexican Olympian.

(María del Carmen Vall)

Next, we had alpine skier Ramón Blanco, born February 6, 1925, who took part in the slalom at the 1948 St. Moritz Games, as the oldest living Spanish Olympian. Again, however, Connor Mah discovered that Blanco died in September of 2021. This makes fencer María del Carmen Vall, born June 17, 1926, the oldest living Spanish Olympian to the best of our knowledge. We last heard from her on her 90th birthday.

(Max Bolkart)

We were also saddened to learn that French ski jumper André Monnier, born June 26, 1926, died October 8 at the age of 97. Monnier represented his nation at both the 1952 and 1956 Winter Olympics, finishing joint-36th and joint-46th respectively. He was more successful in his home country, winning several national championships, and later helped carry the Olympic torch to Grenoble when the Winter Games came there in 1968. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Olympic ski jumper, and we thought that distinction would go to his compatriot Régis Rey, born April 8, 1929, who competed in the same events. Rey, however, died April 6, 2022. Thus we now believe that Max Bolkart, born July 29, 1932, who represented Germany at the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Winter Games, is now the oldest living Olympic ski jumper.

(Tony Genato, pictured at the Tiebreaker Times)

Finally, basketball player Tony Genato, born June 9, 1929, died November 22 at the age of 94. Genato took part in the basketball tournaments at the 1952 and 1956 Summer Games, where his country was eliminated in round one and the quarterfinals respectively. He had much better luck in 1954, when his team won gold at the Asian Games and bronze at the World Championships. He retired in 1959 and later worked as a basketball coach. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Olympian to have represented the Philippines. That title now goes to Horacio Miranda, born September 20, 1931, who represented his country three editions of the rapid-fire pistol, 25 metres shooting event from 1960-1968.