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Atano III
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Athlete
    (February 21, 1904-January 12, 2001)
    Born in Azkoitia, Spain
    Birth name was Mariano Juaristi Mendizabal
    Basque pelota player
    Basque pelota is a court sport with elements resembing handball and jai alai (the degree to which it resembles one or the other depends on which variant of Basque pelota is being played)
    Won the first four official championships of the Bare-Handed Pelota First League (1940,1942,1944,1946)
    Had previously been considered champion since 1926
    He hid his receding hairline under a large beret.
    He had fragile hands and tried to limit his play to once a month.
    Under the rules of the day for the Bare-Handed Pelota First League championship, the reigning title holder advanced directly to the finals, which gave him a rather obvious advantage.
    He revolutionized the sport, making it much faster paced.
    He was paid 6,000 pesetas per appearance at a time when the average player earned only 250.
    In his last years, he was confined to a wheelchair.

Credit: C. Fishel


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