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Ágnes Keleti
Agneskeleti
Keleti at the 1956 Olympic Games

Country represented

Flag of Hungary Hungary

Born

January 9 1921 (1921-01-09) (age 96)
Budapest, Hungary

Current status

Retired

Ágnes Keleti (born January 9, 1921) is a retired Hungarian artistic gymnast. The winner of 10 Olympic medals including five gold medals, she is considered to be one of the most successful Jewish Olympic athletes of all time. She was the most successful athlete at the 1956 Summer Olympics.

Keleti is Jewish, and was born in Budapest, Hungary. She began gymnastics at the age of 4, and by 16 was the Hungarian National Champion in gymnastics. Over the course of her career, between 1937 and 1956, she won the Championships title ten times.

Keleti was considered to be a top prospect for the Hungarian team at the 1940 Olympics, but the escalation of World War II canceled both the 1940 and the 1944 Games. A member of the Jewish faith, Keleti was forced to go into hiding to survive the war. She purchased working papers and posed as a Christian maid in a village in the Hungarian countryside. Her father died in Auschwitz, and her mother and sister went into hiding, saved by Raoul Wallenberg. They were later discovered and sent to a concentration camp, but survived and were reunited with Keleti after the war.

After the war, Keleti resumed training. She qualified for the 1948 Summer Olympics, but was forced to miss the competition due to injury. She continued training and finally competed at the Olympics for the first time at the age of 31 at the 1952 Games. She earned four medals, including gold on the floor exercise and silver in the team competition, and bronze in the team-portable apparatus event and the uneven bars. Keleti continued on to the 1954 World Championships, where she placed first on the uneven bars.

At the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Keleti won gold medals in three of the four individual event finals: floor, bars, and balance beam and placed second in the all-around. The Hungarian team placed first in the portable apparatus event and second in the team competition. At the age of 35, Keleti became the oldest female gymnast ever to win gold. During the 1956 Olympics, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary. Keleti, along with 44 other athletes from the Hungarian delegation, decided to remain in Australia and received political asylum. Keleti emigrated to Israel in 1957, and was able to send for her mother and sister.

Following her retirement from competition, Keleti worked as a physical education instructor at the University of Tel Aviv and the Wingate Institute for Sport in Netanya. She also coached and worked with Israel's national gymnastics team well into the 1990s.

Keleti was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1981, the Hungarian Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, and the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2002.

Medal Count

Year Event TF PA AA VT UB BB FX
1952Helsinki Olympic Games2nd3rd3rd1st
1954Rome World Championships2nd1st3rd
1956Melbourne Olympic Games2nd1st2nd1st1st1st


Olympic Uneven Bars Champions
Margit KorondiAgnes KeletiPolina AstakhovaVěra ČáslavskáKarin JanzNadia ComăneciMaxi GnauckMa Yanhong | Julianne McNamaraDaniela SilivaşLu LiSvetlana KhorkinaÉmilie Le PennecHe KexinAliya Mustafina


Olympic Balance Beam Champions
Nina BocharovaAgnes KeletiEva BosákováVěra ČáslavskáNatalia KuchinskayaOlga KorbutNadia ComăneciEcaterina Szabo | Simona PăucăDaniela SilivaşTatiana LysenkoShannon MillerLiu XuanCătălina PonorShawn JohnsonDeng LinlinSanne Wevers


Olympic Floor Exercise Champions
Agnes KeletiAgnes Keleti | Larisa LatyninaLarisa LatyninaVěra Čáslavská | Larisa PetrikOlga KorbutNellie KimNellie Kim | Nadia ComăneciEcaterina SzaboDaniela SilivaşLavinia MiloşoviciLilia PodkopayevaElena ZamolodchikovaCătălina PonorSandra IzbaşaAly RaismanSimone Biles


World Uneven Bars Champions
Vlasta Děkanová | Matylda Pálfyová • Anna Petersen | Gertchen Kolar • Agnes KeletiLarisa Latynina • Irina Pervushina • Natalia KuchinskayaKarin JanzAnnelore ZinkeMarcia FrederickMa YanhongMaxi GnauckGabriele FaehnrichDörte Thümmler | Daniela SilivaşDaniela Silivaş | Fan Di • Kim Gwang-SukLavinia MiloşoviciShannon MillerLuo LiSvetlana KhorkinaSvetlana Khorkina | Elena PiskunSvetlana KhorkinaCourtney KupetsChellsie Memmel | Hollie ViseNastia LiukinBeth TweddleKsenia SemenovaHe KexinBeth TweddleViktoria KomovaHuang HuidanYao JinnanFan Yilin | Viktoria Komova | Madison Kocian | Daria Spiridonova

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