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26 Feb 2007
IOC News

The oldest Olympic champion

Did you know that the world’s oldest Olympic champion is called Roger Beaufrand, and that he was Olympic track sprint champion and world runner-up in the same year? That was 1928.
Olympic champion before he was 20
Born at Garenne-Colombes near Paris (France), Roger Beaufrand discovered the track sprint at the Bois de Vincennes velodrome, where the cycling events for the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris were held. In 1925, he won his first victory in a race to identify talented youngsters, and set off to explore the velodromes of Europe. On 7 August 1928, to everyone’s surprise, he beat the leading sprinters of the day and achieved France’s only cycling victory by winning the Olympic sprint title. He was just 19.
Still in search of excellence
A few days ago in Béziers, where Roger Beaufrand now lives, another award was added to the Olympic medal, two national championship titles and 100 Grand Prix wins: the Legion of Honour. It was another exceptional champion, Jean-Claude Killy, triple Olympic gold medallist in 1968 in Grenoble, who had, as he himself put it, the privilege of presenting it for the first time to a citizen of the world, Olympic champion in 1928 and bearer of the Olympic torch in 1968, in whose veins and eyes the Olympic flame has never ceased to burn.  After leaving the velodrome, “Roger continued to seek excellence, always inspired by the Olympic spirit, always eager to learn, trying his hand at chess, bridge, astronomy, viticulture and fine arts, becoming the director of an art gallery in Paris… and he even took up skiing!” In his congratulatory message, IOC President Jacques Rogge recalled that: “Roger Beaufrand more than ever symbolises what an Olympic champion should be: an example and an ambassador for the fundamental values of sport which are excellence, friendship, generosity, respect for others and solidarity”. A champion whom everyone will want to welcome again next year in 2008 for his 100th birthday: an Olympic year and a year ending in 8, a year dear to the world’s oldest Olympic champion! 
A cycling champion after a champion hockey player
Roger Beaufrand became the oldest living Olympic champion after the death of Feroz Khan in April 2005. Both champions could well have met in Amsterdam in 1928, as Feroz and his Indian team-mates won the Olympic hockey tournament. Feroz alone scored five goals, three in a row, in the match where India beat Belgium 9-0. A total of 2,883 athletes (277 of them women) from 46 National Olympic Committees took part in the 109 events staged at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.

 Learn more on the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam
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