Considered the finest Spanish gymnast of all time, Joaquim Blume was part of the FC Barcelona gymnastics section since its creation in 1958. Born in Barcelona in 1933, he was Spanish champion for ten years from 1949 and was just 19 when he went to the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, the first Spanish man to do so. Three years later he won five gold medal at the Mediterranean Games in Barcelona and in 1957 became European champion in Paris, beating the hot favourite from the Soviet Union, Iuri Titov. In recognition, he took the honorary kickoff at the Camp Nou before a game with Athletic Bilbao. He was expected to bring home gold from the Rome Olympics in 1960, but a plane accident meant his talent was lost forever.
An Iberia Douglas FEC-ABC left Barcelona for Madrid at 15.15 that ill-fated Wednesday 29 April 1959, with Blume and the rest of the gymnasts off to catch a connecting flight to the Canary Islands, where they were due to appear in exhibitions. The plane hit thick fog and an electrical storm, and came down over Valdemeca (Cuenca), and all 24 passengers and the three crew members all lost their lives, including his wife and fellow gymnast María José Bonet, who was expecting their second child.
There was public mourning in Barcelona, with 5,000 people lining the streets as the coffin entered the church, borne by representatives of FC Barcelona and the Catalan Gymnastics Federation. The crowds meant the traffic had to be cut off in the city centre as people went to pay their last respects.
Scores of senior dignitaries from the military, sport, police and other walks of live attended the funeral, led by Francesc Miró-Sans, president of FC Barcelona, and the rest of the board bearing the team colours.
The image of Blume forming a perfect cross on the rings is one of the most iconic in Catalan sport, and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him would say that not only was he an extraordinary athlete, but he was also a charming, modest, polite gentleman who always had an endearing smile on his face. He was sorely missed, and still is to this day.