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Alfred Grisar

Full name: Alfred Felix Grisar
Gender: Male
Born: July 22, 1881 in Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium
Died: November 27, 1958 in Wilrijk, Antwerpen, Belgium
Affiliations: Beerschot VAC, Antwerpen (BEL)
Country: BEL Belgium
Sport: Polo

Related Olympians: Brother of Albert Grisar.

Biography

Probably the greatest Belgian polo player, Alfred Grisar is regarded as the “Father of Belgian Polo”. Whilst born in Antwerp he spent some of his schooldays in England at Brighton College and was to later return to play most of his polo in England. His father Ernest had purchased an old racecourse in Antwerp in 1895, and whilst at Brighton Alfred saw the importance of multi-sports clubs and in 1899 convinced his father it would be a good idea to turn it into a multi-sports stadium as it had all the facilities; grandstand, stables, club house and changing rooms, and so was born the Beerschot Football and Athletic club.

Grisar’s favourite sport at the time was football, although he was also a good tennis player and golfer, as he played in goal for FC Antwerp but with the formation of the new club they formed their own Beerschot football team and Grisar managed to recruit many of the Antwerp players to join the new club. They entered the Belgian League in 1900-01 and finished runners-up in their first season. They did not win the title for the first time until 1922 but then won it seven times in the next 12 years. Grisar started playing polo in Argentina with the famous Hurlingham Club, who still contest a trophy in his honour. He founded the Antwerp Polo Club (later the Royal Antwerp Polo Club) in 1905 and was home to many top Belgian players between the two World Wars, until its demise in 1940. It was in England that Grisar earned a reputation as a top player, and he played for Eastcott, Roehampton, the Automobile Club and his own Brussels-based Pilgrims team. He won the 1924 Coronation Cup at Ranelagh with Eastcott, and twice won the Roehampton Trophy with the Pilgrims, in 1913 and 1929. He continued playing with the Pilgrims well into his fifties.

A registered left-handed player, he had a 6-goal handicap and was a member of the Belgian team at the 1920 Olympics on home soil. He played in the 8-3 defeat by Great Britain and also in the bronze medal match in which they lost heavily again, 11-3 to the United States. But that wasn’t the end of his involvement in the 1920 Olympics because he was the umpire of the final between Great Britain and Spain. Grisar’s brother Albert won a bronze medal in the sailing events at the same Games. Four years later Alfred was the President of the executive committee for the Polo competition at the 1924 Paris Olympics, and was the only non-British member of the committee.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1920 Summer 38 Antwerpen Polo Men's Polo Belgium BEL 4

Men's Polo

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result
1920 Summer 38 Antwerpen Polo Belgium BEL Final Round Match 3/4 2 1920-07-28 USA 11, BEL 3
1920 Summer 38 Antwerpen Polo Belgium BEL Semi-Finals Match #2 2 1920-07-26 GBR 8, BEL 3
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