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Drivers at 1936 Olympics - mystery solved

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#1 Leif Snellman

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 12:42

Chris Nixon in his book "Racing the Silver Arrows" (page 133-134) writes about Varzi:

"He then departed for Garmish-Partenkirchen and the Winter Olympics, where he captained one of Italy's two bob-sleigh teams, Varzi's consisting entirely of racing drivers - Trossi, Taruffi and Cortese being his team mates. Unfortunately, it is not known what success, if any they enjoyed."

I have for some time suspected that this is not correct!
Now I finally took the time to dig up the official Garmich results at the sports museum library and here are the TRUE facts:

The Italian entries and results for the 2 man bob were:

ITALY 1 (Antonio Brivio Sforza, Carlo Solveni), Result: 11th
ITALY 2 (Edgardo Vaghi, Dario Poggi), Result: 10th

The Italian entries and results for the 4 man bob were:

ITALY 1 (Antonio Brivio Sforza, Carlo Solveni, Emilo Dell'Oro, Raffaele Manardi), Result: 10th
ITALY 2 (Francesco de Zanna, Ernesto Francechi, Umberto Gillarduzzi, Amedeo Angeli), Result: DNF

So we have Brivio as driver instead of Varzi and none of the other drvers Nixon mentions are included! Wonder where Nixon got his information from?


#2 Marcel Schot

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 13:43

Bit by bit one starts to wonder how much of what Nixon wrote was true. I mean, very good that he writes about that not so well documented era, but if it's all about vague memories which were left un-doublechecked, the book loses somewhat of its silver shining...

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 24 October 2000 - 20:04

Some sources cannot be double checked because there is not enough material available. Chris Nixon's Racing The Silver Arrows still remains the best and most accurate account about the Thirties, some minor mistakes included. However, I do not forgive him for distorting the facts of the 1939 European Championship, writing this bull…. He had too curious a mind and the discrepancies are obvious to anybody who only does a halfhearted effort in studying this topic. Therefore he knew.

#4 Dennis David

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 06:08

He recently responded in Motorsport that when he queried various former parties at Auto Union none claimed the championship for Muller and in fact acknowledged Lang as champion (Oct 2000). Muller though had died in 1975 before Nixon had begun his investigations. For me its an easy choice but not one I am willing to argue.

#5 alessandro silva

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Posted 25 October 2000 - 10:41

Funny how such a legend could come out. As in any legend there might be something true in it. Brivio, Trossi, Cortese and Taruffi were all very close friends to each other and very keen to the side lighter aspects of car racing. They usually met in Lurani's home in the countryside near Monza for the Monza racing week and they usually spent off season vacationing together. Lurani's yearly list of his guests can be found in his book Racing around the World and it is very interesting information about class distinctions in car racing in the 30s. There would be nothing strange about the fact that all of them decided to spend together a winter vacation watching Brivio giving a try to bobsleigh racing. Taruffi himself was a skier of good class and a member of the Italian national University team. The only name that does not fit into the picture is Varzi's. Though of family's big money almost as Brivio and Trossi, he was too aloof to belong to this crowd. But then it is posible that his German girlfriend, which apparently liked partygoing, took poor Achille for a vacation on the snow. It is then possible that somebody interviewed by the Author remembered them in Garmish in 1936 and of course Varzi HAD to be the driver.

#6 TonyKaye

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Posted 03 November 2000 - 21:40

Bill Holland won the Indianapolis 500 in 1949 and was second in 1947, 48 and 50. Not a bad record. Nothing to do with this thread?
Maybe not, but I read recently that he was an Olympic cyclist, so he might have been another driver at the 1936 Olympics. He was born in 1908, give or take a year, so he would have been about 28 at the time. It IS possible.
Does anyone have a record of the '36 Olympics?

#7 Don Capps

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Posted 04 November 2000 - 02:37

A former professor of mine, Richard Mandell, wrote a book on the 1936 Games called The Nazi Olympics in the late 60's which was later reprinted in paperback. Verrrrry Interrrresting, as Arte Johnson used to say. Somewhere out there is a complete record of the 1936 Olympics because I recall seeing it when the prof was working on his book. I haven't seen the hardback in ages so it is probably among the MIA, but I think I saw the paperback on the shelf in my library in Virginia several months ago. I'll look this weekend.

#8 Leif Snellman

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Posted 04 November 2000 - 09:01

There is no Bill Holland among the top eight in the cycling results from any 1930s Olympics. There is a Charles Holland (GB) in 4th at the 100 km race at Berlin.
I can take a look at the full results lists at the sports library next week.

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 November 2000 - 13:56

One outstanding event at the 36 Olympics was the choice of venue for the 1940 Olympics.... Tokyo.

#10 Leif Snellman

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Posted 04 November 2000 - 21:00

31.7.1936. Helsinki lost it to Tokio 36 - 27, then got it
anyway 3.9.1938.

#11 Don Radbruch

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Posted 05 November 2000 - 01:50

Something is a bit strange here. The 1936 Olympics in Germany were the summer games. I believe that the 1936 winter games were at Lake Placid in New York. Maybe the Italian race drivers ran in the bobsled races at Lake Placid or in Germany in another year?
Regarding Bill Holland---I think he was in the finals of the ice skating competition but did not make the team. This was probably 1936. Holland was also a fine roller skater and even set some sort of record for the number of miles skated in 24 hours. Holland managed a roller skating rink after(?) he quit racing.

Don Radbruch

#12 Leif Snellman

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Posted 05 November 2000 - 09:54

1920 Antwerp
1924 Paris
1928 Amsterdam
1932 Los Angeles
1936 Berlin
(1940 Tokyo/Helsinki)
(1944 London)
1948 London

1924 Chamonix
1928 St Moritz
1932 Lake Placid
1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
(1940 Sapporo/St Moritz/Garmisch)
(1944 Cortina)
1948 St Moritz

and so on

#13 Leif Snellman

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Posted 07 November 2000 - 12:32

I can now confirm that there is no Bill Holland entered in the 1936 Olympics, neither in cycling nore in speed skating. But I don't have access to full entry lists / results from the 1932 games.