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Gabre Gabric-Calvesi

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexFemale
Full nameLjubica "Gabre"•Gabric-Calvesi
Used nameGabre•Gabric-Calvesi
Born14 October 1917 in Imotski (CRO)
Died16 December 2015
AffiliationsVenchi Unica Torino/Filotecnica
NOC Italy

Biography

Gabre Gabric was born in the town of Imotski in what was then Austro-Hungary and is now Croatia. At a young age she moved to the United States and lived in Chicago for several years before returning to the modern-day Croatian city of Zadar, which had become part of Italy following the First World War. During all these travels her official birthdate became muddled as a transcription error listed her year of birth as 1914, a date that would stick well into her masters-level athletic career.

Gabric took up the discus throw in 1934 and, by 1936, she was good enough to participate at that year’s Summer Olympic Games in Berlin where, despite finishing 10th in a field of 19 competitors, she broke Vittorina Vivenza’s Italian record in the event. Her next major stop was the 1938 European Championships, where she placed sixth, before setting a personal best of 43.35 in the event in 1939, which would have been sufficient for a bronze medal at the Berlin Olympics. Her career was interrupted by World War II but, between the 1936 and 1948 Summer Olympics, she was crowned Italian Champion four times (1937, 1939, 1940, 1942). At the London Games, however, she slipped to 17th out of 21 competitors. Her final major international competition was the 1950 European Championships, where she finished seventh.

Gabric married Sandro Calvesi, a hurdler, and their daughter, Lyana, married Eddy Ottoz, who had been coached by Calvesi and won a bronze medal in the 110 metres hurdles event at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Lyana and Eddy had a son, Laurent, who participated in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Games. It was Gabric, however, who would outlast them all in the athletic realm. A long-time competitor in masters-level athletics, she won numerous European and World Masters Championships in the shot put, discus throw, and javelin. The Federazione Italiana di Atletica Leggera has kept the incorrect birth year of 1914, allowing her to compete in the W95 division, and she has set world records in the shot put, discus throw, weight throw, and throws pentathlon. Regardless of her exact age, she remains an outstanding athlete and, since the death of Alfred Proksch in 2011, was the last known track and field participant from the 1936 Olympics still competing.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Athletics ITA Gabre Gabric-Calvesi
Discus Throw, Women (Olympic) 10
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics ITA Gabre Gabric-Calvesi
Discus Throw, Women (Olympic) 17

Olympic family relations

Errata

Registered as born on 1914, but this is a transcription error according to the athlete. The Federazione Italiana di Atletica Leggera kept the wrong date so that she could compete and break records in W95 category when she was actually only 93.