As we wrap up 2021, we wanted to share a handful of blog posts to address some outstanding issues from the year. Today, we wanted to address four Olympic medal mysteries from 1931 for whom we have been unable to find any confirmation as to whether they are alive or deceased.
Alena Chadimová – Member of the Czechoslovakian gymnastics team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics
Alena Chadimová, born November 22, 1931, represented Czechoslovakia in gymnastics at the 1952 Helsinki Games, where she won a bronze medal with the team. Individually, her best result came in both the all-around and the floor exercise, where she placed 20th. We know that she won another bronze medal in the all-around at the 1954 World Championships, but otherwise we have been unable to locate more information about her.
Masami Kubota – Member of the Japanese gymnastics team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
Masami Kubota, born December 6, 1931, won three medals for Japan in the gymnastics tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games: silver in the parallel bars and the team all-around and bronze in the rings. He also took silver with the team at the 1954 World Championships but retired after the Olympics to take up teaching physical education at Tenri University. His wife Kyoko was also a gymnast in 1956, but unfortunately we have been unable to determine if either are still alive.
Aleksandr Zabelin – Member of the Soviet sport shooting delegation to the 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics
Aleksandr Zabelin, also born December 6, 1931, won a bronze medal for the Soviet Union in the rapid-fire pistol, 25 metres event at the 1960 Rome Games. He attempted to repeat this feat in Tokyo in 1964, but placed 16th. At the World Championships, he was a four-time gold medalist between 1958 and 1966, in addition to winning silver in 1958, all in individual or team pistol 25 metres events. We have been unable, however, to locate information on his life after the 1970s.
(Cortés pictured at En el Viejo Salto)
Ramiro Cortés – Member of Uruguay’s basketball squad at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
Ramiro Cortés, born 1931, was a member of the Uruguayan basketball team that won bronze in the tournament at the 1956 Melbourne Games. He also won two medals at the South American Championships, gold in 1955 and silver in 1958. A plaque was unveiled in his honor recently, although it was unclear from the article as to whether or not he was still alive. Additionally, Wikipedia lists his date of birth as July 13, although we have been unable to confirm this either.
In terms of updates to older Olympic medal mysteries, we were forwarded confirmation that Romanian bronze medal-winning wrestler Francisc Horvath, born October 19, 1928, was still alive in 2021. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Adriano Brunelli was able to confirm that Italian bronze medal-winning fencer Roberto Ferrari died October 11, 1996 and thus was never among the oldest Olympians. Finally, after our last post, an article on the 100th anniversary of Elda Cividino’s birth was printed, but it sadly revealed that she had died back in 2014. That is what we have for today, but we should be posting at least one more blog entry before the end of the year, and we hope that you will join us!