Last Known Alive in 2013

Last year, Oldest Olympians spent several blog entries covering those Olympians for whom we last had evidence of being alive from 2012 and would remove from our tables at the end of the year if we could not find any additional evidence of their being alive. Although we received updates on many of those names, several others have just been removed: Lies Bonnier, Suhas Chatterjee, Cees Gravesteijn, Hong Jong-Oh, Vivian King, Boonpak Kwancharoen, Marija Radosavljević, and Jaroslav Šír. Moving on to this year’s task, our list of individuals from whom we last heard in 2013 is 16 names long, and thus we will again be covering them over multiple blog entries.

Bakir Ben Aissa – Member of Morocco’s track athletics delegation to the 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics

This year, only two of our names are also titleholders among the Oldest Olympians. The first, track athlete Bakir Ben Aissa, born April 7, 1931, is believed to be the oldest living Moroccan Olympian. Ben Aissa represented his country at two editions of the Olympic marathon, placing eighth and twelfth in 1960 and 1964 respectively. He won that event at the 1959 and 1963 Mediterranean Games and took gold in the 10,000 metres and silver in the 5,000 metres at the 1957 Pan-Arab Games. Originally a representative of France, he joined the Moroccan national team a few years after independence and did not retire from active competition until 1968. A French article from 2013 is the last evidence we have of his being alive.

Beverly Faulds – Member of Zimbabwe’s field hockey squad at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

The other is Beverly Faulds, born May 16, 1933, who we believe to be the oldest living Olympian to have represented Zimbabwe. Faulds was a member of the field hockey team that was officially representing Rhodesia at the 1964 Tokyo Games and was eliminated in the preliminary round of the tournament. We believe that he was alive and living in South Africa as of 2013, but we have been unable to uncover any additional information.

(Ib Bjørke, pictured at

Ib Bjørke – Member of Denmark’s equestrian delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics

Ib Bjørke, born July 8, 1928, represented Denmark in the equestrian eventing tournament at the 1960 Rome Games, where he was 28th individually, but did not place with the team as two of its members did not have qualifying marks. He later became head of the Danish Riding Association, but we have not seen any updates on him since 2013.

Sheila Lerwill – Silver medalist for Great Britain in the high jump at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Sheila Lerwill, born August 16, 1928, won a silver medal for Great Britain in the high jump at the 1952 Helsinki Games. She captured that title at the 1950 European Championships and came in fourth at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. After coming in fifth at that year’s Europeans, she retired from active competition. She was still alive when she was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, but since then we have heard no further news.

(Alfred Leiser, pictured at PferdeWoche)

Alfred Leiser – Member of Switzerland’s track athletics delegation to the 1960 Rome Olympics

Alfred Leiser, born March 6, 1929, represented Switzerland in the 50 kilometers event at the 1960 Rome Games, where he placed 25th. A nine-time national champion, he was also known for his many decades of involvement in the sport of horse racing. An article from 2013 covered his life, but since then we have seen nothing further.

Franz Happernagl – Member of Germany’s track athletics delegation to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Franz Happernagl, born December 25, 1929, represented the unified German team in the 4×100 metres relay at the 1952 Helsinki Games and was eliminated in the heats. Domestically he won a bronze medal in that event at the 1952 West German Championships and, by career, he was a commercial clerk. An article from 2013 mentioned that he was still alive, but we have not seen any further updates.

That is enough for today, but we hope that you will come back soon for the second part of our coverage of Olympians last known living in 2013!

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