The Untold Truth Of The Oldest Living Olympian

Life expectancy is increasing every year in developed and developing countries. As a result, there is also an increase in the number of people who are centenarians — 100 years old or older. According to the United Nations, nearly 570,000 people might become centenarians in 2021 (via Statista). On January 9, Agnes Keleti became one of them, but incredibly, it is not the most outstanding achievement in her life. The Hungarian gymnast won 10 Olympic medals, survived the Holocaust, and is the oldest living Olympic champion alive.

“These 100 years felt to me like 60,” Keleti said while celebrating her birthday in Budapest (via The Guardian). The gymnast also received a call from the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, who said her life is an inspiration. “You have demonstrated the power of strong determination and courage to overcome tragedy. These are the attributes of a great Olympic champion,” Bach said (via Olympics). The book “The Queen of Gymnastics: 100 Years of Agnes Keleti” was released this year to celebrate her milestone birthday. However, Keleti says that calling her a queen is “an exaggeration.”

Keleti has received numerous awards during her life. In 2004 she became one of the “12 Athletes of the Nation” in Hungary and received the Israel Prize, the state’s highest honor, in 2017. Keleti often sounds humble about her impressive achievements in the Olympics (via AP News). “I excelled?” she wondered out loud. “I did what I could, and that’s it.”

Agnes Keleti survived the Holocaust

Agnes Keleti had started training when she was four years old, and at age 16, Keleti was the Hungarian National Champion in gymnastics (via The Guardian). The country had big expectations for Keleti for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1940. However, World War II changed everything, and the Games were canceled in both 1940 and 1944.

Those years weren’t easy for Keleti. In 1941, the athlete was expelled from her gymnastics club for being Jewish. Later, her father and uncle died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, and Keleti managed to escape the country with her mother and sisters. “I managed to buy the identification papers of a Christian girl; she was around the same age as me. In Hungary, all the Jews were required to wear a yellow star for identification, but I refused. With my false papers, I managed to escape to the country. I stayed in a remote village and found work as a maid.”

Keleti married to escape labor camps

During World War II, Agnes Keleti heard a rumor that married women didn’t have to go to labor camps. Trying to save her life, Keleti married Istvan Sarkany in 1944. Sarkany was also a prolific athlete who achieved national titles and represented Hungary during the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. According to the Jewish Women’s Archive, the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews in Hungary during the Holocaust, helped save her mother and sisters.

Sadly, escaping the concentration camps was not a guarantee of a peaceful life. Keleti had to hide until the war ended and experienced traumatic moments. Many people lost their lives during the Battle of Budapest in the winter of 1944-1945. Every morning Keleti collected bodies of people who died the day before and placed them in a mass grave, and her maid job had her working for a family of Nazi sympathizers.

Keleti made her debut in the Olympics at age 31

After World War II ended in 1945, Agnes Keleti started training again (via Olympics). Keleti won the Hungarian championship in 1946 in the uneven parallel bars and started her international career in the following year at the Central European Gymnastics Championships, which she won. Later, the athlete started working at the Faculty of Gymnastics of the Budapest School for Physical Culture.

Keleti seemed unstoppable and was one of the favorite names for the London Games in 1948. However, Keleti suffered a serious injury two days before the event started. Hungary finished second, and the team received a silver medal. Keleti competed for the first time at the Olympic Games in 1952 when she was 31 years old, an age when most athletes are slowing down their careers. The Hungarian athlete won four medals that year: a gold in floor exercise, a silver in the combined team event, and two bronze in uneven parallel bars and hand apparatus-team (via Jewish Women’s Archive).

Keleti also competed at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, winning six medals, including four gold.

Keleti remained in Australia in 1956

In 1956, politics changed Keleti’s life once again. Shortly before the Olympics, Israel invaded Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and Soviet tanks entered Budapest. The invasion led to a boycott of the Olympics, and Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands refused to compete (via CBC). Although Hungary competed, dozens of Hungarian athletes asked for political asylum after the Games were over, including Keleti.

She stayed in Australia for a few months and worked in a factory. In 1957, an Israeli emissary invited her to participate in the fifth Maccabiah Games, and she moved to Israel with her mother and sisters. Keleti coached the Israeli Olympic gymnastics team until the 1990s. In 1957, she married Robert Biro, a Hungarian physical education teacher (via Jewish Women’s Archive).

Keleti built a prestigious career in Israel, and she received the Israel Prize, the most significant state honor, in 2017. The decorated athlete lived in Israel until 2015 when she decided to move back to her home country.

Keleti believes children should train their brains

Keleti has impressive achievements in her life. Among Jewish athletes, only American swimmers Mark Spitz and Dara Torres have earned more Olympic medals, but she doesn’t seem impressed. “It’s not the medals that are significant but the experiences that came with them,” she said (via AP News).

The former athlete can still perform full leg splits, and she is proud of her energy and strength. Although she doesn’t follow sports on television, she has a strong opinion about the pressure children suffer. “That’s not good,” Keleti said. “Tough gymnastics exercises damage their development. It shouldn’t be started early. Not to mention that, in the first place, it’s the children’s minds that should be developed, not their bodies.”

Keleti says that children should be motivated to learn languages and see the world, something she also had the chance to do during her life.

55 thoughts on “The Untold Truth Of The Oldest Living Olympian

  1. Deknnu says:

    buy tricor 160mg online cheap buy tricor no prescription fenofibrate 200mg tablet

  2. Yhopgm says:

    tadalafil 5mg without prescription viagra cost cheap sildenafil for sale

  3. Abymxb says:

    zaditor 1mg pills ketotifen 1 mg cheap order generic imipramine

  4. Emramt says:

    buy mintop online buy ed meds online buy ed pills canada

  5. Sesfcj says:

    buy acarbose 25mg generic glyburide pills brand fulvicin 250mg

  6. Dpxair says:

    buy cheap aspirin buy levofloxacin 250mg imiquimod sale

  7. Mymrkt says:

    where can i buy dipyridamole buy gemfibrozil medication buy pravastatin 20mg generic

  8. Cuezjp says:

    buy cheap generic melatonin order melatonin 3 mg online buy danocrine generic

  9. Tnbyye says:

    order dydrogesterone 10mg sale order generic duphaston 10 mg buy empagliflozin 10mg for sale

  10. Fjsylp says:

    buy fludrocortisone generic buy loperamide 2mg online cheap order loperamide 2 mg sale

  11. Beqndm says:

    prasugrel buy online where to buy tolterodine without a prescription detrol over the counter

  12. Glwhhu says:

    buy ferrous 100 mg buy ferrous sulfate 100mg sale buy sotalol 40mg for sale

  13. Twayry says:

    order pyridostigmine 60 mg sale mestinon 60mg sale rizatriptan online order

  14. Zvrxmd says:

    order vasotec 10mg pills doxazosin uk buy generic duphalac for sale

  15. Wyyhhp says:

    order xalatan sale rivastigmine 6mg tablet buy exelon cheap

  16. Vfdhik says:

    order omeprazole 10mg generic buy lopressor 50mg without prescription generic metoprolol 100mg

  17. Rnrcot says:

    order premarin for sale dostinex 0.5mg pills sildenafil without a doctor’s prescription

  18. Fgmwjo says:

    micardis 80mg usa purchase plaquenil without prescription order movfor sale

  19. Vtvafk says:

    tadalafil 5mg sale cost viagra 100mg buy viagra 100mg

  20. Jbgbos says:

    purchase cenforce generic naproxen cost buy generic chloroquine for sale

  21. Riyefw says:

    order famotidine 40mg pill pepcid online buy cheap generic tacrolimus

  22. Uadjtd says:

    astelin usa buy zovirax 800mg pill purchase irbesartan

  23. Rqjnuu says:

    oral esomeprazole 20mg order nexium generic topamax brand

  24. Zqdqhw says:

    order zyloprim 100mg for sale rosuvastatin order buy generic crestor

  25. Dyolsx says:

    imitrex 25mg brand levaquin 250mg canada buy avodart pills for sale

  26. Vktvdl says:

    buy generic buspin over the counter brand buspar 5mg buy cordarone sale

  27. Mfvvik says:

    zantac us order celebrex 100mg pill celebrex ca

  28. Bswrge says:

    buy domperidone 10mg generic motilium 10mg drug sumycin 250mg uk

  29. Ewfyul says:

    cheap custom essays paper help pay for dissertation

  30. Otnhvq says:

    buy aldactone 25mg without prescription valtrex pills purchase proscar generic

  31. Zlokby says:

    buy fluconazole 100mg online fluconazole 100mg ca baycip where to buy

  32. Iirueb says:

    purchase aurogra online cheap order estrace generic order estrace 2mg pill

  33. Wcntdr says:

    buy metronidazole 200mg without prescription flagyl 400mg pill cephalexin 500mg drug

  34. Vuwmiz says:

    brand lamotrigine 50mg buy generic lamictal buy nemazole without prescription

  35. Kjfpoh says:

    clindamycin cost buy clindamycin for sale over the counter ed pills that work

  36. Jfazek says:

    retin generic brand tadalafil 10mg avanafil 100mg cost

  37. Lswtuv says:

    nolvadex 10mg without prescription purchase rhinocort online rhinocort medication

  38. Fjkhzs says:

    purchase tadalafil pill tadalafil for sale online buy indomethacin 50mg capsule

  39. Dalthj says:

    purchase axetil sale buy robaxin sale methocarbamol uk

  40. Sjuhjh says:

    order desyrel 100mg generic buy clindamycin online purchase clindac a generic

  41. Etvogv says:

    buy lamisil win real money online casino best casino

  42. Clsmes says:

    buy aspirin 75mg aspirin order betfair casino online

  43. Vnqzfo says:

    academic writing cefixime 200mg generic order suprax 100mg generic

  44. Hxnlvk says:

    buy essays for college need a paper written online gambling slots games

  45. Xmskww says:

    buy trimox tablets clarithromycin uk biaxin over the counter

  46. Mdkitp says:

    calcitriol 0.25 mg sale brand rocaltrol 0.25mg buy generic fenofibrate over the counter

  47. Tnjpua says:

    buy clonidine 0.1 mg sale oral catapres 0.1mg tiotropium bromide 9 mcg ca

  48. Fvudqd says:

    best pimple treatment for teens trileptal price oxcarbazepine 600mg pills

  49. Gcwawf says:

    minocycline generic buy generic minocycline buy ropinirole 1mg generic

  50. Wdgbhp says:

    buy alfuzosin 10 mg for sale alfuzosin 10 mg for sale top rated heartburn prescription

  51. Vzwiyg says:

    cost letrozole order albenza 400mg order aripiprazole

  52. Rzslbe says:

    order medroxyprogesterone 10mg for sale buy biltricide generic order microzide 25mg online

  53. Drmktk says:

    nicorette 12 week quit plan should i take osteoporosis medication buy meds without a prescription

  54. Jbsytu says:

    cyproheptadine 4 mg us fluvoxamine us order ketoconazole 200 mg sale

  55. Vuuioo says:

    supplements to help with herpes what tier are steroid inhalers most common diabetic pill

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *