Tuesday, October 25, 2016

V 6 N. 77 Simone Schaller Oldest Olympian dies at 104

Simone Schaller competed in the 1932 and 1936 as a hurdler for the US team, going head to head with her more famous contempary  Mildred 'Babe' Didrickson.   In the prelims in Los Angeles, Schaller tied  Didrickson both  setting a World Record in the 80 meter hurdles.  However in the finals she could only manage a 4th place while Didrickson won setting a new WR.  There is very limited detail about Simone in recent obituaries.  One picture surfaces the most, that is this one below of her with the US team leaving for Europe in 1936.  She is in the lower right.



Several pictures appear of the finals at Los Angeles, with Evelyne Hall going head to head with the Babe.  The first I found is Hall leading over a hurdle on the inside lane , Babe right next to her.
 Finals   80m hurdles        Evelyne Hall Lane 1, Didrickson Lane 2, Clark Lane 3, Alda Wilson CanadaLane 4, Violet Webb Great Britain Lane 5, Simone Schaller Lane 6 well behind at this hurdle.


Three views of the finish below


Didrickson and Hall breaking tape together in WR 11.7.  Marjorie Clark, South Africa is 3rd in 11.9, Betty Taylor, Canada is 4th  in 12.0  









Video clip of the 80 M Hurdles final   Note how Evelyne Hall comes back at last hurdle to almost tie Didrickson.

The Mystery

Looking further,  two other photos surface from 1932.  

One thing that doesn't add up in these photos is the appearance of  Michiko Nakashini next to Didrickson in this heat. This photo has been mentioned in the past showing Nakashini's hurdle as being set too high.  The more I look at this picture though, it appears that Nakashini is two lanes over from Didrikson, and no one is seen in the lane next to the Babe.  Or is it possible Didrickson is in the lane with the hurdle set too high?  The photos make it appear that Didrickson is in lane one which seems  evident in the second photo below.   But really she is in lane 2 and the runner in lane one run  has not yet come up to the camera to get into the photo.   In looking at the prelim records on Sport Reference only one preliminary round is listed with  only two heats  for the 80m hurdles.  Nakashini is a DNF in the first round.  So I think we can conclude that Didrickson set the WR at 11.8 along with Schaller, while Didrickson went over one hurdle that was too high.  One other thing that still leaves me wondering is the absence of Marjorie Clark in the dark uniform in the two pictures below.  She supposedly finished 3rd in this race.   She may be in the outside lane and hidden by the lane 5 runner.


Same hurdle, slightly different angle

Now that Simone Schaller has passed away, the new story is who is the oldest living Olympian, who is the oldest living Amerian Olympian? I think we can assume that Harrison Dillard now in his nineties is the oldest living gold medallist.  When you google the question,  past stories come up noting various athletes who have held that honor.  

1 comment:

Wilfred Schnier said...

In the prelims it looks as if Didrickson (right lead leg) won the race over the "high" hurdle in lane 2 and Nakashini is in lane 3. If Marjorie Clark was in this race, she was probably the runner in lane 1 who had not yet reached the hurdle. I say this based on the shadows.