Flags and Wolverines


Forum devoted to track & field items of an historical nature.

Flags and Wolverines

Postby LopenUupunut » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:34 am

Today's birthday quiz again features two athletes from the mists of the past.

Athlete A was born 124 years ago today (Friday) and was in excellent shape in the two years preceding the Olympics. He then went into a mini-retirement but returned in style, winning two Olympic gold medals... after which he promptly retired from our sport for a second time, this time for good.

Athlete B was born 91 years ago today and was one of the best in the world in not one but three events. Athlete B was world-ranked #1 in two Olympic events, one of them in an Olympic year, but never got the opportunity to compete at the Olympics.

Athlete A died in 1972; athlete B died in 2006. The two events of athlete A are a fairly typical double; the two best events of athlete B are not, though back in the day that particular double was less unusual than it is today. Can you name today's birthday athletes?
Last edited by LopenUupunut on Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby dukehjsteve » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:29 am

For A, it probably is 1912, of which I know very little. But I do know that Jim Thorpe was both the Decathlon winner and some other multi then contested, so I will make a guess at him for athlete A.
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby LopenUupunut » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:37 am

Nice try, but no cylindrical smoking thing. Athlete A is from Michigan and yes, he won his gold medals in 1912.
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby LopenUupunut » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Somehow managed to get athlete A's age wrong. Sorry if this caused anybody headaches :oops:
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby norunner » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:59 pm

The first one could be Ralph Craig, i don't know anything about him other than he won the sprint double in 1912 and since you mentioned a fairly typical double.
The second one, there was a russian athlete who was very good at shot, discus and decathlon, but i don't remember his name. I don't think it was a typical russian name, he was active during the first years after the war, so the timing would fit.
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby LopenUupunut » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:03 pm

Yes, athlete A is Ralph Craig. Again, apologies for the dating error :oops: Well done, norunner.

Athlete B - I think you're on the right track. His surname means "flag" in his native language, which wasn't Russian.
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby KDFINE » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:19 pm

I'm clueless, but I didn't think that the Russians competed in the Olympics until either 1952 or 1956.
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby norunner » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:46 pm

KDFINE wrote:I'm clueless, but I didn't think that the Russians competed in the Olympics until either 1952 or 1956.
You misread, he mentioned that athlete B never competed at olympics. I think he was from one of the baltic states, i actually thought he had a german sounding name, but flag in german is "Flagge" and i am certain that's not his name.
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby rhymans » Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:36 am

It's Heino Lipp - the world's best decathlete of 1948
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Re: Flags and Wolverines

Postby LopenUupunut » Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:23 am

Correct. Well done, rhymans.
He was also #1 in the SP in the inaugural T&FN rankings of '47. Unfortunately for him, the Soviet Union didn't compete in the Olympics in 1948... and when they did participate in 1946, 1950 and 1952, Lipp still didn't get to take part. Apparently he was out of favor with Soviet authorities.

Shot put/decathlon sounds like a strange double today, but back in the day the scoring tables didn't cater to Beach-types as much as now. Although not at quite the same level as Lipp, for example Jim Bausch and Hans-Heinrich SIevert were both excellent shot putters. (Sievert's personal best was 15.89 at a time when the WR was 16.20!)
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