- 2 Aug 08, 11:23 AM
When the Hungarian fencing committee told Aladar Gerevich he was too old to compete at the 1960 Rome Olympics, the 50-year-old had other ideas.
He challenged all the other members of the team, and beat them, to silence the doubters.
Gerevich was not just any fencer, but one who had won six gold medals, one silver and two bronze at the previous five Olympics.
And apart from one of the bronze medals coming in the foil team, all of Gerevich's medals were won in the sabre competition.
He was part of the victorious sabre team at his first Games in Los Angeles in 1932 and repeated the feat in Berlin in 1936, adding individual bronze to his collection.
The intervention of World War II robbed Gerevich of the chance to double his golden haul, but he returned for the London Games in 1948 where he lost only one of his 20 bouts and picked up a third team gold and his solitary individual gold.
In Helsinki, a fourth team gold was accompanied by individual silver and the foil bronze and in 1956, he chalked up a fifth team title.
And after convincing the Hungarian fencing team he was fit to fight in Rome, Gerevich duly led the Hungarians to their seventh consecutive sabre team title, his sixth.
In doing so, he set a couple of records that are yet to be matched - he is the only athlete to win six Olympic titles in the same event and he has the longest gap in years between his first and last gold medal, or any medal for that matter, at 28 years.
As an aside, Austrian sailor Hubert Raudaschl holds the record for most appearances at the Olympics - he competed at nine Olympiad between 1964-96, winning silver medals in 1968 and 1980.
In recognition of Gerevich's longevity, who do you think will be the oldest champion in Beijing?
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