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Sandor Tarics (1913 - 2016)

AP Photo / MTI / Tibor Illyes

Sandor Tarics (1913 - 2016)

Sandor Tarics, the oldest living Olympic champion, died May 21, according to the Hungarian Olympic Committee. He was 102.

Tarics was a member of the Hungarian water polo team that won gold at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. His team also won gold at the International University Games in 1933, 1935, 1937, and 1939. Hungarian teams have frequently been water polo winners, having won nine Olympic gold medals between 1932 and 2008.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 23, 1913, Tarics had been training in water polo since he was a young teen. He intended to play in the 1940 Olympics as well, but they were canceled as World War II raged.

Tarics later escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary and immigrated to the U.S. in 1949, where he taught engineering. He went on to establish an architectural firm, living in California and designing earthquake-proof buildings. In 2012, he attended the Summer Olympic Games in London, already the oldest living champion.


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In 2015, Tarics spoke fondly of his Olympic days in an interview published by the Hungarian Olympic Committee: "Sport is an area where people love each other. Sports competition leads only to good things among nations."

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