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World’s Oldest Olympian Ever 1948 Olympian

& Centenarian Walter Walsh By Kevin Neuendorf

Having already set Olympic precedence, Walter Walsh keeps going. On Saturday, May 4, the 1948 Olympic shooter celebrated his 106th birthday. Earlier this year, January 18 to

be exact, Walsh eclipse another American Olympian, Rudolf Schrader, as the oldest Olympian in history. His son, Walter Walsh, Jr., had this to say on March 26 when reaching out to the family regarding Walsh’s accomplishments.

“On behalf of my father and our

family, thanks to all for the many expressions of respect and kindness Dad is receiving on this occasion,” said Walter Walsh, Jr., one of Walter’s fi ve children. “Dad never attached much importance to praise or sought it. His typical comment at such times was, ‘I was just one who was at that place and time to do a job as well as I could, nothing more.’ Any celebrity he gained never changed his being the faithful Marine “Semper Fidelis” or measuring up to the FBI’s “Fidelity Bravery Integrity”, as well as he could. He strove to be the Olympian, “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, but was as gracious in losing as winning. Happily, his children, grands and greats share in the recognition of who Dad is, his accomplishments and importantly, his consistent moral character that established a high standard for us. As he approaches his 106th birthday, Dad wants everyone to know that he in good health, still enjoying life and doing ‘as well as he can’.” For a complete list of Olympic Centenarians, check out Olympic

historian Paul Tchir’slist. According to Tchir, the next oldest Olympian is Swiss Hans Erni who also competed in London with Walsh when art was then an Olympic competition. Currently, there are just six

42 USA Shooting News | May 2013

Olympians in total still living beyond the century mark. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote,

“It’s not the age of life, but the depth of life.” On this occasion, we get to proudly celebrate both. Walsh was born May 4, 1907 in New Jersey and his life has been one of service, honor, accomplishment and compelling narrative.

He crafted his shooting life as

Top Left: The 1948 Olympic Pistol Team Center: Walsh poses for an international shooting competition Photos courtesy of the Walsh family

a kid by using a BB gun to shoot clothespins off his Aunt’s clothesline then graduating at the age of 12 to shooting a smoothbore .22 caliber rifl e at rats in the city dump on the site where the Meadowlands would one day stand. He’d later go onto to join the Civilian Military Training Corps (CMTC) and the New Jersey National Guard attending shooting matches at the Civilian Marksmanship Program in Camp Perry, Ohio, and winning several awards for his marksmanship skills.

The G-Man Walsh graduated from Rutgers law

school and in 1934 joined the FBI. Not long after he was tracking down notorious crime fi gures and gang members. As a rookie FBI agent, he discovered the body of Chicago gangster Baby Face Nelson after a shootout that left two FBI agents dead. “Think about that,” said Alan Abrahamson, an Olympic journalist

known to be the last person to interview Walsh and his family back in 2011. “Just 27, in the midst of the Depression, he was a G-Man — when the bureau was very much still making its reputation. He helped make it.” A year later, Walter helped apprehend Arthur “Doc” Barker of the infamous Barker Gang. Barker complained about being arrested by a

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