Ágnes Keleti

Hungarian Olympic Champion Celebrates 99 Years of Age

January 10, 2020

Hungary's five-time Olympic gold medalist gymnast Ágnes Keleti celebrated her 99th birthday on January 10. She is the oldest living Olympic champion.

Ágnes Keleti began practicing the sport seriously in 1935, when she was 16. Before it was cancelled due to World War II, she was considered a top prospect for the 1940 Olympic Games.

She used forged papers to survive the Holocaust, working as a maid in a factory. In 1946, she won her first Hungarian national championship, a title she would successfully defend for the ten following years. An injury kept her out of the 1948 Olympic Games, but she persisted. In 1952, at the age of 31, she made her Olympic debut at the Helsinki Games, winning four medals, including gold in floor exercise. As Soviet troops invaded Hungary during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Keleti, along with 44 other athletes from the Hungarian delegation, decided to remain in Australia and received political asylum. The next year, she moved to Israel and is considered as the founder of gymnastics in that country. Since 1990, she has been pending more and more time in Hungary and now lives in Budapest.


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