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Historic Athletes Have Extra Special Luster

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  • Historic Athletes Have Extra Special Luster

    Happy birthday today (Sunday) to three Olympic champions that we will call "M", "V", and "B".

    These three athletes have a total of 265 years since their births and competed in a total of five Olympic Games, winning three Olympic gold medals.

    Athletes "M" and "V" both died on a Saturday while athlete "B" died at the age of 60.

    One of our birthday people was a pilot, one was a fireman, and the other won two World Championship gold medals.

    "V" was 35 years old when "B" was born and "M" was three years old when "V" was born.

    Two of these three individuals were born in the same continent and these same two athletes did not compete in the Olympic hurdles.

    The fireman died fifteen days before turning 80 years old and the pilot died seventeen days before turning 95.

    "B" died twenty-seven days after turning 60 and was the only one of these three birthday people who did not win Olympic gold in Europe.

    I will bet that you must know some, if not all, of our birthday athletes for this penultimate Sunday of January.

    Please give it a try and name them without using any research.







  • #2
    I think athlete B is Sergey Litvinov, one of the few deceased World Champs.

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    • #3
      Very difficult
      B is 64, V is 99, M is 102
      B won gold in 1984 or 1988

      V or M possibly a pilot in WWII.
      V an M probably won gold in 1948 or 1952

      One of the 3 won in hurdles/steeplechase

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      • #4
        Sergey Litvinov was born in the Soviet Union 64 years ago. Nice going, Trickstat.

        Litvinov took the silver medal in the hammer throw at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Eight years later in Seoul (Soviet Union didn't attend the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics), Sergey Litvinov won the Olympic gold in the hammer throw at the age of 30. Next month (February) will mark the fourth anniversary of his death in Russia.

        Tuariki, you are getting close. I can tell you that one of the two remaining mystery athletes did win the Olympic gold medal in the steeplechase and this happened after he was a pilot in World War II. You are correct in saying that athletes "M" and "V" competed in the 1948 and the 1952 Olympics. One of the two won gold in London and the other won gold in Helsinki.

        Thank you, Trickstat and Tuariki.

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        • #5
          Horace Ashenfelter.

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          • #6
            Horace Ashenfelter was born in Pennsylvania 99 years ago today. Very well done, Olli.

            Horace Ashenfelter was a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He made the U.S. Olympic teams to Helsinki in 1952 and in 1956 to Melbourne. He won the steeplechase gold medal in Helsinki (the only American to do so in the Olympic Games) and he didn't make the steeplechase finals in Australia (1956).

            Ashenfelter died at the age of 94 in January of 2018. Some of you may remember his running brother (Bill). Bill also ran the steeplechase at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, but he did not make the final like his brother (Horace). Bill was a little over one year younger than Horace.

            Thank you, Olli.
            Last edited by DoubleRBar; 01-23-2022, 08:39 PM.

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            • #7
              Henry Eriksson?

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              • #8
                Got to be Horace Ashenfelter. Didn't know that he flew. (Hadn't noticed that Olli already posted Ashenfelter when I answered. His age and the steeplechase were the give-aways.)
                Last edited by KDFINE; 01-24-2022, 03:52 AM.

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                • #9
                  Henry Eriksson was born in Sweden 102 years ago today. Well done, LopenUupunut.

                  Eriksson had been a fireman and then won the 1,500 at the 1948 London Olympics. Going into the London Games, Lennart Strand (Sweden) was the favorite to win the gold medal. Strand was the world record holder (3:43.0 set almost a year before the London Olympics). Another Swede (Gosta Bergkvist) made the Olympic 1,500 final in London and the race was on. Unfortunately, the running conditions at the Olympic stadium were not the best with a thunderstorm providing more rain to an already soggy track.

                  Henry Eriksson managed the poor conditions better than the other finalists and won in 3:49.8 (still faster than the wining time in Rio, some 68 years later). Lennart Strand held on to second place in 3:50.4, just edging William Slijkhuis (Netherlands) who also clocked 3:50.4. The third Swede (Gosta Bergkvist) finished in 3:52.2 for fifth place.

                  Henry Eriksson died in Sweden at the age of 79 in January of 2000.

                  Thank you, LopenUupunut and KDFINE.
                  Last edited by DoubleRBar; 01-23-2022, 10:49 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I thought Ashenfelter was an FBI agent. I remember playing Trivial Pursuit with friends in the ‘70’s and the question came up “what FBI agent won the steeplechase gold in 1952?”. While I didn’t know he was an FBI agent, I knew Ashenfelter was the answer and so gained a point for my team. The other team guessed J Edgar Hoover, which struck me as pretty funny.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DoubleRBar View Post
                      Henry Eriksson was born in Sweden 102 years ago today. Well done,

                      Henry Eriksson managed the poor conditions better than the other finalists and won in 3:49.8 (still faster than the wining time in Rio, some 68 years later). Lennart Strand held on to second place in 3:50.4, just edging William Slijkhuis (Netherlands) who also clocked 3:50.4. The third Swede (Gosta Bergkvist) finished in 3:52.2 for fifth place.

                      Henry Eriksson died in Sweden at the age of 79 in January of 2000.

                      Thank you, LopenUupunut and KDFINE.
                      i have a funny story about that race. Around 2005, I was working as a pit boss at a casino. One of our regulars was a man named John. He was originally Dutch, about 75 years old, very tall and thin, I would guess 6’6” and 165 lbs. He told dealers and other patrons that he was a former Olympic runner and had won 2 bronze medals at the 1948 Olympics, in the 1500 and 5000. I overheard this and asked him “oh, so you used to be William Slijkhuis?” to which he answered “mind your own business”. I knew that Slijkhuis died many years before. So although he was a liar and impostor, John must have been a bit of a track fan in his younger days to know that a Dutch athlete had won these medals.

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                      • #12
                        Yes, Horace Ashenfelter was a F.B.I. agent after World War II.

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                        • #13
                          I think the silver medal behind Ashenfelter was won by an athlete from the USSR (Kazantsev?). Apparently there were a few wisecracks about it being an occasion when a F.B.I. agent allowed himself to be tailed by a Soviet!

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                          • #14
                            That was the plan.

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