Saturday, January 23, 2021 | ePaper

Oldest living Olympic champion Agnes Keleti to turn 100

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AFP, Budapest :
Hungarian gymnast Agnes Keleti, the world's oldest living Olympic champion as well as a Holocaust survivor, is still showing off ahead of turning 100 on Saturday.
"I feel good, but I don't look in the mirror, that's my trick! Then I remain young!" Keleti told AFP in Budapest in November.
A five-times Olympic champion, Keleti, who celebrates her birthday January 9, is also Hungary's most successful gymnast, and one of the most decorated Jewish athletes in history.
Although her advanced years have affected her short-term memory, her feisty spirit remains intact.
Moving in a sprightly manner around her apartment where both her life mementoes and Olympic medals are on display, she joked about not being allowed to perform the full-leg splits anymore.
"I'm told by my caretaker that it's not good for me at this age," she laughed, while leafing through a new book "The Queen of Gymnastics, 100 years of Agnes Keleti" published to mark her centenary birthday.
Keleti's life story, including Olympic glory and Holocaust escape, reads like a gripping Hollywood film script.
Born in 1921, she won 10 gymnastics medals in all, most won after she turned 30 and was competing against gymnasts half her age, including five golds in Helsinki (1952) and Melbourne (1956).
"I did sport not because it felt good but to see the world," Keleti told AFP in a 2016 interview.
Called up to the national team in 1939, she won her first Hungarian title the next year, but later in 1940 was barred from taking part in any sporting activity due to her Jewish background.

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