The oldest living Olympic champion, Agnes Keleti celebrated her 100th birthday last weekend. The fantastic gymnast won five Olympic gold medals in the 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games and worked in the sport for several decades. We collected other athletes with similar records and made a list of the oldest living Olympic champions, let’s see them below.
To be an athlete in the first half of the twentieth century could have been a totally different experience. Still, the achievements of the athletes from that era are just as important as the current sports stars’ results. Sadly only a few of them are still living today. But it’s important that we don’t forget them even if they are not with us any more. As their lives can be a great example for the next generations and show how they’ve managed to overcome different difficulties during their careers.
The 100th-year old Agnes Keleti leads the list of the oldest living Olympic champions
Let’s start with the oldest and one of the greatest Olympic champions, Agnes Keleti. She is the most successful Hungarian female athlete with her 10 Olympic medals including five gold medals. Her results are remarkable even without knowing the circumstances she achieved them. Keleti was born in 1921 and was a promising gymnast when the Second World War broke out and forced her to hide. After the end of the war, she continued her training and became a member of the Olympic team. Keleti won her first gold medal in the 1952 Games in Helsinki and added four more in Melbourne four years later.
At that time the top Hungarian athlete was already 35 years old, which is quite a high age in gymnastics. Agnes stayed in the sport after retiring and led the Israeli gymnastics team for 20 years. She was still active at the age of 90, walking, swimming and doing exercises regularly. After the death of cross-country skier Lydia Wideman in 2019, Keleti became the oldest living Olympic champion. Hopefully she can wear this title for several more years.
Russian sport shooter is the oldest male Olympic champion
Vasily Borisov is almost two years younger than Keleti, he is still the oldest living male Olympic champion. He competed in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games and won a gold, a silver and a bronze medal in them. Borisov also won 20 medals at the world championships between 1954 and 1966. Getting 13 medals in his first event in 1954.
He is followed by his compatriot, Viktor Shuvalov who won the gold in the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, in Italy. He was a member of the Soviet Union’s ice hockey team which defeated Canada and the US to win the gold medal. It was the team’s first Olympic title which also meant their second World and third European title. Shuvalov played for CSKA Moscow, and was inducted into the Russian and Soviet Hockey Hall of Fame. His former team leads the KHL league this season again. Online sportsbooks in Russia mention the defending champions as one of the favorites to win the title.
A French cyclist and a cross-country skier
96-year-old Charles Coste won the gold medal in the team pursuit in the 1948 London Olympics. He was a member of the French team which finished ahead of Italy and Great Britain. At that time only men’s events were held in the Games, two road and four track cycling events. Coste also finished fourth in the classic one-day race, the Paris-Roubaix in 1950, which is still one of the most famous one-day races.
We have another female athlete, Siiri Rantanen in the list of the oldest living Olympic champions. The Finnish cross-country skier competed in three Olympics. In 1952, 1956 and 1960 and won a medal in each of them. After winning the bronze medal in the individual 10km in 1952, she won the gold in Melbourne in the 3x5km relay. She also won five medals at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Where Norwegian, Swedish and Russian women athletes dominate now. Online gambling sites in Russia favor their local favorite, Alexander Bolshunov to win in the men’s event.
The oldest living Olympians
Beside the Olympic champions we’d also like to mention the oldest living Olympians, who haven’t won any medals in the Games, but took part in them. The oldest of them is Uruguayan sailor, Felix Sienra who competed in the 1948 London Olympics. He was born in 1916 and will be 105 years old in a week’s time. While the oldest living female Olympian is Celina Seghi, an Italian alpine skier who will be 101 this March. She took part in two Winter Olympics, in St Moritz in 1948 and in Helsinki in 1952. Seghi finished fourth in the women’s downhill and combined on her first Olympics, and in slalom four years later. She got her only medal, a bronze in this discipline in the 1950 World Championships.
Amazingly we can also find three athletes who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The oldest of them is American swimmer Iris Cummings, who has just turned 100 last December. She wasn’t only a great athlete and the 200m breaststroke US champion, but also a great pilot. Cummings served in the Second World War and worked as a flight instructor until her retirement. How remarkable life-stories, which can really motivate the next generations of Olympic athletes. Who can hopefully compete this summer in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.