Harry Prieste

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Harry Prieste Diving
Personal information
Nationality: United StatesUnited States United States
Discipline (s) : Jumping
Birthday: November 23, 1896
Place of birth: Fresno
Date of death: April 15, 2001
Place of death: Camden, New Jersey

Haig "Harry" Prieste (born November 23, 1896 in Fresno , † April 15, 2001 in Camden , New Jersey ) was an American diver , entertainer and actor .

Harry Prieste came from a family of Armenian immigrants . He was a member of the Los Angeles AC Association . In 1920 he started at the Olympic Games in Antwerp and won the bronze medal in diving. That was the high point of his sporting career, in the course of which he won no other titles.

Prieste had previously worked as a stuntman in films and acted as one of the Keystone Kops in front of the camera. As an extra, he starred in films with Ben Turpin and Harold Lloyd . Charlie Chaplin was one of his friends ; Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were colleagues. After the Olympic Games he worked under the name Hal Haig Prieste as a professional diver, as a vaudeville comedian, as an acrobat and juggler in the circus. At the age of 40 he learned to skate and appeared in the ice revue Ice Follies . He skated as a hobby until he was 96 years old. In 1996, at the age of 100, he took part in the Olympic torch relay on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Atlanta .

In 1997, a reporter told Prieste that an Olympic flag (for the first time with the five rings) that disappeared during the closing banquet of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in 1920 had never reappeared. Prieste replied to the journalist: "I can help you, it's in my suitcase." At the time, because of a bet with his teammate Duke Kahanamoku, he climbed the five-meter-high flagpole, took the flag with him and packed it in his suitcase, where it is still found after 77 years.

On the occasion of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney , the now almost blind and deaf and wheelchair-dependent Priest traveled to Australia to return the flag to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC staff on site were impressed by his liveliness and humor. When he found out that he should hand over the flag to IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch , Prieste asked: “What's he going to do with it?” (Eng. = “What will he do with it?”). The flag was displayed in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne .

Harry Prieste died at the age of 104. His wife Hazel had died in 1981 and the couple had no children. Until his death, he was the oldest living Olympian in the United States.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Abc News: Flag Returned by 103-Year-Old Olympian. In: abcnews.go.com. January 7, 2006, accessed March 23, 2015 .
  2. BBC News - ASIA-PACIFIC - Unique Olympic flag reappears. In: news.bbc.co.uk. September 11, 2000, accessed March 24, 2015 .
  3. The stolen flag was not the big one from the Olympic Stadium, but a smaller one from an adjacent sports field.
  4. Richard Sandomir: OLYMPICS: NOTEBOOK; Missing Flag Returns to Glory, Courtesy of a Prankster. In: nytimes.com. September 12, 2000, accessed March 23, 2015 .
  5. Hazel G. Stoner Prieste in the Find a Grave database . Retrieved September 11, 2017.