Walter Walsh

World’s oldest-ever Olympian passes away

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Walter Walsh, the world’s oldest-ever Olympian, passed away Tuesday, six days shy of his 107th birthday.

Walsh finished 12th in the 50m free pistol event at the 1948 London Olympics at age 41. He died of natural causes with his family by his side at his home in Northern Virginia, USA Shooting said.

Walsh eclipsed another American, Rudy Schrader, as the oldest Olymipan ever on Jan. 18, 2013. Schrader was a gymnast at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics.

The oldest living Olympian is now Swiss Hans Erni, who participated in art competitions at the 1948 Olympics. The oldest living Olympian in a current Olympic sport is believed by Olympic historians to be 1936 Chinese discus thrower Guo Jie, who is 102.

USA Shooting has a detailed biography of Walsh here. Some of the highlights:

Walsh grew up in New Jersey, learning to shoot with a BB gun, hitting clothespins off his aunt’s clothesline. He later shot a smoothbore .22 caliber rifle at rats in the city dump, where the Meadowlands would later be built.

Walsh joined the Civilian Military Training Corps and the New Jersey National Guard, winning marksmanship awards, graduated from Rutgers law school and, in 1934, joined the FBI.

He discovered the body of Chicago gangster Baby Face Nelson as a rookie FBI agent, and then helped apprehend Arthur “Doc” Barker and shot and killed gangster Rusty Gibson on the same day.

In 1937, he took a shot to the chest and the right hand while posing as a salesman in Bangor, Maine, helping bring down the Brady Gang, shooting a gang member and the gang leader after he was shot.

In 1938, he took a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. He went on active duty by 1942 and was later drawn into the front lines of World War II.

He returned to the FBI, competed at the 1948 Olympics and then served another 20-plus years in the Marine Corps as a shooting instructor before retiring.

He served as a team leader for USA Shooting at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where American shooters won four medals.

Walsh was inducted into the USA Shooting Hall of Fame in 2013.

First U.S. female Olympic champion to reach 100 years old

NBC to air ‘More Than Gold’ documentary on Jesse Owens on Sunday (trailer)

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“More Than Gold: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics,” a one-hour documentary on the track and field legend, will air on NBC on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Morgan Freeman narrates the film on Owens, who won four gold medals at the Berlin Games in the face of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Here’s a clip from the documentary.

“’More Than Gold’ will invite viewers inside the story of a pioneering athlete, who in the face of racial discrimination at home and the horrific theories and practices of Nazi Germany, performed at his best under immense pressure,” Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group, said in a press release. “Viewers will experience the Games through the compelling memories of Jesse’s surviving Olympic teammates, who were eye-witnesses to those events.”

“More Than Gold” includes interviews with Owens’ 1936 Olympic teammates swimmers Adolph Kiefer and Iris Cummings Critchell and canoeist John Lysak and Owens’ three daughters.

“Jesse Owens was the hero of every member of the 1936 Olympic team,” Kiefer said in a press release. “We all wanted him to win. We wanted him to win four medals. I’m just sorry it wasn’t five. He’s No. 1 and always will be.”

The film will also feature footage from the famous 1936 Olympic film “Olympia” from German director Leni Riefenstahl.

A feature-length film on Owens, “Race,” hits theaters on Feb. 19.

VIDEO: Three clips from ‘Race’ film about Jesse Owens

No consideration of postponing Olympics, IOC medical chief says

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LONDON (AP) — Seeking to calm fears over the Zika outbreak, the IOC medical director tells The Associated Press that “everything that can be done is being done” to combat the virus in Brazil and provide safe conditions for athletes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Dr. Richard Budgett says the International Olympic Committee is “absolutely not complacent” about the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to birth defects.

He says “our priority is to protect the health of the athletes, we do take it very seriously.”

Budgett says the outbreak should be kept “in perspective,” noting that world health authorities have not called for a restriction on travel to Brazil.

He says there has been no consideration of postponing or canceling the Olympics, which are scheduled from Aug. 5-21.

MORE: USOC to hire Zika specialists