We’ve gone Olympic crazy here at Funny Names HQ. It’s been four years again and it’s that time to pretend you know all the fencing events apart from one another and can recite your favorite canoers from memory. Which of course means that we here celebrate the strangest, funniest, most unusual and extraordinary names in the Olympic Games.
Following Gaylord Silly‘s appearance last Friday and yesterday’s look into the funniest names at this year’s London games, today it’s time to take a look into the past and celebrate the silliest-named medalists in Summer Olympics history. So step on in to the time machine and impress your friends at cocktail parties with knowledge on who won gold in the 3000 meter steeplechase in the 1960 games.
It was Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak.
Other long distance running funny named Olympians include Dick Quax (full name Theodorus Jacobus Leonardus “Dick” Quax), who took home silver in the 5000 meter event in 1976, and Kenyan Wilfred Bungei, who hopped home with the 800m gold last time around in Beijing. 40 years ago in Munich, Dave Wottle won that same event, perhaps with his name sending all the other contestants into a laughing fit.
In the classic funny name category we have Misty Hyman, the butterfly swimming champ from 2000 in Sydney. Along the same theme there’s German sprint canoer Fanny Fischer, gold medalist from Beijing 2008, and why not her canoeing colleague Magdalena Wunderlich from back in 1972.
Moving back to a more innocent path, everyone danced to the tune of French Archery gold medalist Sebastian Flute in 1992. 92 years before that viewers were incapacitated by the charms of his countryman Henri Hérouin. And who could forget Badmintoner (it’s a word…now) Flandy Limpele, bronze medalist and all around flandy limper from the 2004 games.
Let’s see, what time is it now? Time for childish giggles? Fair enough – how about 2008 200m sprinting bronze medalist Walter Dix to get us started in that category? Or the innocent charm of 1908 boxing lightweight bronze medalist Harry Johnson. We also have the priceless 1996 canoeing gold medalist György Kolonics, whose win was a cleansing experience for us all. He should perhaps be introduced to three-time medalist in swimming Lorraine Crapp of Australia, although then again perhaps not. On that topic, 1972 high jump gold medalist Ulrike Meyfarth, but we won’t hold it against her.
In our classic “names that really shouldn’t go together but are now forever linked because they shared a bronze medal in Judo in 1972” category, I bring you Brian Jacks and Jean-Paul Coche.
The most amusing medalist trio is perhaps the Women’s 400 Meters group of Valerie Brisco-Hooks, Chandra Cheeseborough, and Kathy Smallwood-Cook from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. It’s a good group. Well done, all.
We are almost done, but to add some musical tones to this post I must point out Zita Funkenhauser, the famed 1988 ladies’ fencing bronze medalist, who has not one, but two musical genres in the last name, which is also really fun to say out loud. There’s also bronze medalist sprinter Lloyd LaBeach from 1948, who was presumably known as “The Dude”, but perhaps not. 1956 canoeing silver medalist Igor Pissarov might have had trouble with the ladies, but pole vaulter Gary Honey had a sweeter touch when he claimed silver in 1984.