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Hungarian waterpolo player leads list of oldest Olympic champions

It is widely unknown, but the oldest living Olympic champion is a waterpolo player. Hungarian-born Alex Tarics is nearing his 99th birthday; he won a gold medal with the almost unbeatable Hungarian men’s team of the 1930s at the waterpolo tournament of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany – 76 years ago! Tarics is still in pretty good health and plans to attend the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Great Britain.

Tarics was born on 23 September 1913 as Sándor Tarics at Budapest, when the Hungarian metropolis was still part of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire to break up in October 1918. Waterpolo developed pretty soon one of the most popular sports in inter-war Hungary, and he was discovered at a school waterpolo competition in Budapest when he was about 13.
 
In 1936 22-year-old Tarcis made it to Hungary’s Olympic team. Here the reigning title-holders and four-time European champions finally took their second Olympic gold medal in a row when they tied second-ranked home team Germany in the decisive clash of the final round games, 2-2. The match was played in the huge Olympic Swimming Stadium in front of round about 20,000 spectators.
 
The outbreak of the Second World War robbed him the chance of a second Olympic appearance at the 1940 Games. After the war Tarics left Soviet-ruled Hungary pretty soon; his engineering degree earned him a teaching fellowship at an American university. He established a successful architecture and engineering practice in San Francisco, California. He now lives in Belevedere, California and was still playing tennis at the local club only a few years ago.
 
Successful waterpolo players are persons of national fame in Hungary which is shown pretty often. This certainly applies to Taric as well who celebrated Hungary’s third Olympic gold medal in a row at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China even on location. He is reported to attend the 2012 London Olympics as well – at the age of 98 and 76 years after his personal triumph at the Berlin Games... 
 
Pictured: The Berlin Olympic Swimming Stadium with stands for 20,000 spectators created a spectacular setting for the aquatics competitions of the 1936 Olympic Games. Photo by wikipedia. 

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