Agnes Keleti, the oldest surviving Olympic champion, turned 100 years previous on January 9. The Hungarian gymnast received 10 Olympic medals — 5 of them gold — however her athletic achievements are simply part of her unimaginable life story. Keleti can also be a Holocaust survivor.
After successful her first nationwide title at 16, Keleti was anticipated to make the Hungarian staff for the 1940 Olympic Video games. Nonetheless, these video games had been cancelled attributable to World Struggle II. Due to the battle, Keleti did not get an opportunity to compete within the Olympics till she was 31 years previous, gone many gymnasts’ prime, in keeping with the Worldwide Olympic Committee.
In 1941, Keleti was faraway from her gymnastics membership in Hungary for being Jewish, the IOC stated in a web post recounting her extraordinary story. She and her household had been pressured to enter hiding, and Keleti assumed a false identification and labored as a maid. A few of her relations, together with her father, had been among the many 550,000 Hungarian Jews killed at Auschwitz and different camps.
After surviving the Holocaust, Keleti started competing in gymnastics once more and had received her first Central European Gymnastics Championship in 1947.
She went on to compete on the Olympic Video games in Helsinki in 1952 and Melbourne in 1956. She stayed in Australia following the Melbourne video games, receiving political asylum when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary.
She later moved to Israel and have become the nation’s ladies’s gymnastics coach. Keleti was inducted into the Worldwide Gymnastics Corridor of Fame in 2002 and is Hungary’s most-decorated feminine Olympian ever, in keeping with the IOC.
A ebook about her life, “The Queen of Gymnastics: 100 Years of Agnes Keleti,” was launched this yr to mark her milestone birthday. Nonetheless, Keleti instructed The Associated Press that the title “queen of gymnastics” is an “exaggeration.”
At a celebration for her birthday, Keleti spoke to the AP about her full life. “These 100 years felt to me like 60,” she stated.
“I really like life,” Keleti stated. “Well being is the essence. With out it, there’s nothing.”
Keleti does not do full splits anymore, per her physician’s latest recommendation, the AP reviews. Nonetheless, there’ll all the time be a continuing in Keleti’s life: the smile on her face.
“I stay effectively, and it is nice that I am nonetheless wholesome,” she stated. “And I really like life.”