Miguel Seijas and Chiharu Igaya

Today on Oldest Olympians we have two milestone birthdays, so we are continuing our trend of covering both in a single blog post rather than choosing between them!

First, we want to wish a happy 94th birthday to Miguel Seijas, the oldest living Olympic medalist from Uruguay! Seijas represented his country in the double sculls at the 1952 and 1956 Summer Games, winning bronze in the former and being eliminated in the round one repêchage in the latter.

Second, Chiharu Igaya is turning 93 as Japan’s oldest Olympic medalist! Igaya represented his country in nine alpine skiing events across three editions of the Games – 1952, 1956, and 1960 – and won a silver medal in the slalom in 1956. He also took bronze at the World Championships in that event in 1958. By career he worked in insurance, but also served in sport administration, most notably as a member of the IOC since 1982.

Centenarian Bill Brown

Today on Oldest Olympians we wanted to provide an update on an Olympian that had been listed as William C. “Bill” Brown. Brown had been identified as the track athlete who represented Great Britain in the 3,500 metres race walk at the 1908 London Olympics and was eliminated in round one. He was of note to Oldest Olympians because he was born December 7, 1878 and died August 25, 1980, which made him 101 years, 262 days old.

(Bernard Brown)

Thanks to research by Rob Gilmore, we now know that while Bill Brown did reach the age of 101 and was at one time a member of the Surrey Walking Club, he was not the individual who competed at the Games. That person, also from the Surrey Walking Club, was actually Bernard Clayton Brown, born January 8, 1878 and died March 22, 1935. Brown worked as a post office employee and was a successful rower before taking up race walking. He continued competing into his 50s.

Thus, while both Bernard and Bill had notable walking careers, only Bernard was an Olympian and only Bill was a centenarian. Thus, we have had to removed this competitor from our list of centenarians several years after having added him.

1948 Olympic Mysteries From Argentina

Today Oldest Olympians is resuming its look into mystery competitors from the 1948 London Olympics for whom we lack both a date of birth and confirmation as to whether they are alive or deceased. Given the time that has passed, nearly all of these Olympians would be at least 90 years old, but there is a possibility that some are still alive. Today we wanted to look at three Argentinians who meet the criteria.

The first is Manuel Fernández, who was a member of his country’s coxed eights rowing squad at the London Games. After failing to qualify in their round one heat, the Argentinians entered the round one repêchage, where they were eliminated from the competition. We know that the rest of his team is deceased, but they had a wide range of ages, leaving open the possibility that he is still alive. With his common name, however, we have been unable to uncover more information about him, aside from the fact that he was from Rosario.

Next is Ángel Carrasco, who represented Argentina in Star class sailing alongside Jorge Piacentini. In that event they finished 16th out of the 17 entrants. This is all that we know about him and, since sailors can also have a wide range of ages, we have been unable to ascertain whether or not he is still alive.

Finally we have Jorge Soler, who took part in the gymnastics tournament, where he was 15th in the team all-around and had a best individual finish of 101st in the horse vault. He had much more success at the Pan American Games, winning seven medals, four gold and three silver, at the 1951 edition. It is possible that he was Jorge Sebastian Soler, born on October 11 in either 1921 or 1924 and died June 15, 1992, but we have been unable to confirm this.

Domini Lawrence and Mariya Shubina

Today on Oldest Olympians we have two milestone birthdays, so it is once again time to cover both in a single blog post rather than choosing between them!

First, British equestrian Domini Lawrence is turning 99 today! 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. She is now the oldest living British Olympian, as well as the oldest living person to have competed at the 1972 Munich Games.

Second, Soviet canoeist Mariya Shubina is turning 94 today! Shubina represented the Soviet Union in the K-2 500 at the 1960 Rome Games, where she won the gold medal. She also captured six medals at the Worlds – four of them gold – and four at the Europeans – three of them gold – across various disciplines, and was a ten-time national champion. By career she studied medicine and biology, earning a PhD in 1975, and she is now the oldest living Olympic canoeing champion.

Joseph Reynders

Oldest Olympians is saddened to learn that that Belgian swimmer and water polo player Joseph Reynders, born December 16, 1929, died April 12 at the age of 94. Reynders represented his country in the 1500 metres freestyle event at the 1948 London Games, where he was eliminated in round one. He also represented Belgium at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, this time in the water polo tournament, where his nation placed sixth overall. Reynders had also competed in the 1500 metres freestyle at the 1947 European Championships, where he set a national record. By career, he ran an autobody shop in in Antwerp.

We wanted to make this announcement in a blog post so that we could highlight his brother, Kamiel, who is also among the oldest Olympians, having been born February 22, 1931. Kamiel represented Belgium as a member of the 4×200 metres freestyle relay swimming event at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where his country was 17th and last overall. Although we know little else about him, he was still alive in 2023 according to his family.

Finally, we wanted to provide an update on one of the Olympians that we noted on our list of Olympians who were last known alive in 2013: German track athlete Franz Happernagl, born December 25, 1929. Thanks to personal contact with a member of the OlyMADMen, we can now confirm that Happernagl is still alive as of 2024.