Two More Changes to Oldest Olympian Titleholders

(Jack Whitford)

Earlier this month, we were planning on featuring British gymnast Jack Whitford, born January 3, 1924, on his 100th birthday. Whitford competed in the gymnastics tournament at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, where he finished 21st with the British team and had a best individual finish of joint-39th in the pommeled horse. This was the only Olympic appearance for the four-time British champion, but his half-brother Arthur competed in the same sport in 1928 and his wife Pat Evans (also among the oldest living Olympians prior to her death in 2020) was part of the British women’s team in 1948.

(Domini Lawrence)

In addition to turning 100, we also believed that Whitford was the oldest living British Olympian. We discovered, however, that he actually died on June 5, 2023, at the age of 99. Thus we now believe that equestrian Domini Lawrence, born May 8, 1925, who was already the oldest living Olympian to have competed at the 1972 Munich Games, is now the holder of that title. Lawrence represented Great Britain in two Olympic dressage tournaments: in 1968 she was fifth with the team and 11th individually, while in 1972 she was 10th with the team and 33rd individually. She later became a distinguished judge with the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, serving until her retirement in 1998.

(Carl-Erik Asplund)

Additionally, oldest Olympians is saddened to learn that Swedish speed skater Carl-Erik Asplund, born September 14, 1923, died January 8 at the age of 100. Asplund took part in three events at the 1952 Oslo Games, winning bronze in the 10,000 metres, just missing the podium at fourth in the 1,500 metres, and coming in sixth in the 5,000 metres. Although he had some success at the European and World Championships, in addition to his nine national titles, his career was limited to the first half of the 1950s.

At the time of his death, Asplund was both the oldest living Swedish Olympian and the oldest living Olympic speed skater. The former title now goes to equestrian Maud von Rosen, born December 24, 1925, who won a bronze medal in team dressage at the 1972 Munich Games. The latter is now held by Yury Sergeyev, born July 16, 1925, who represented the Soviet Union in the 500 metres event at the 1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo Olympics and placed fourth. The only other Olympian over the age of 90 to have won a speed skating medal is Norwegian Knut Johannesen, born November 6, 1933, who has five of them – two gold, two silver, and one bronze – across three editions, 1956-1964.