What brought the baby name Breland back in 1984?

Boxer Mark Breland at the 1984 Summer Olympics
Mark Breland

The other day we talked about two girl names that were influenced by the 1984 Summer Olympics, so today let’s look at two boy names that were influenced by the same event.

The first is Breland, which appeared in the U.S. baby name data once in the 1920s, returned in 1984:

  • 1986: 9 baby boys named Breland
  • 1985: 11 baby boys named Breland
  • 1984: 10 baby boys named Breland
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

The man who brought it back was welterweight boxer Mark Breland, who won a gold medal at the Olympics after defeating South Korea’s Young-Su An.

The surname Breland could be either French or Norwegian. The French version was based on the Old French word brelenc, meaning “card table” (i.e., gambler), while the Norwegian version was a place name based on either bre, “glacier,” or breid, “wide.”

The name Tranel, like Ecaterina, was a one-hit wonder in the data in 1984:

  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: 8 baby boys named Tranel [debut]
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

The influence here was 21-year-old, 6′ 5″ athlete Tranel Hawkins, who competed in the 400-meter hurdles. He placed 6th overall, but might have done better if he hadn’t been assigned to Lane 1.

“Lane 1 is like the kiss of death,” Hawkins said.

Which name do you like more, Breland or Tranel?


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