"Guo's death is a great loss to our physical education and scientific research," said a statement issued by the Xi'an Institute of Physical Education on Tuesday, where Guo served as a coach and instructor.

"The IAAF is saddened to hear that Guo Jie died on Sunday at the age of 103. He had been the oldest surviving Olympian," said a statement issued by the world athletics governing body.

Born in Dalian in January 1912, Guo was good at several sporting events when he was young. But it was the discus in which he excelled and won a berth for the Olympics in a national qualifier in 1935 and set a national record of 41.07 metre.

He improved on that mark at the Berlin Olympics, making 41.13m, but it wasn't enough to progress to the final.Guo continued to compete in athletics after the Olympic Games. He also studied agricultural science and technology at the universities in Japan, and then went on to work in that field in Peking and Xi'an.

He returned to the sporting circle in the 1950s and became a researcher and coach at the Xi'an Institute of Physical Education. He retired in 1987.  In his 80s, Guo organised a survey of old people in Xi'an who usually did morning exercises. He also wrote a book about the role of aerobics in preventing cardiovascular disease.Leading up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Guo carried the Olympic torch running along the streets of Xi'an.

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