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Israelis You Should Know: Agnes Keleti

As you know, we're huge fans of the Olympics - both the competitions and the indomitable spirit shown by so many athletes past and present. And while the Summer Games are now over until 2020, we're still in an Olympic mood. This week, our friends at Jewniverse tell us about Agnes Keleti, a champion gymnast who not only won more Olympic medals in gymnastics than any other woman, who (as seen in the above video) can still do the splits at age of 95, and who made aliyah to Israel after surviving the Holocaust:

Born in Budapest in 1921, Ágnes Keleti (née Klein) began tumbling as a four-year-old at Budapest’s Jewish Club, and was a national champion by the age of 16. But when Germany invaded Hungary in 1944, Keleti’s life was forever changed—and the abrupt end of her gymnastics training was the least of it.

Keleti’s father was sent to Auschwitz. Her mother and sister went into hiding, and were ultimately saved by Raoul Wallenberg. Keleti purchased Christian identity papers and worked as a housemaid for a family of Nazi sympathizers—among other gruesome jobs.

When the war ended, Keleti returned to gymnastics with a passion. She qualified for three Hungarian Olympic teams, competed in two, and landed a distinction she holds to this day: At the age of 35, in a sport dominated by teenagers and twenty-somethings, Keleti became the oldest female gymnast to ever win gold. Between 1952 and 1956, Keleti took home a total of 10 Olympic medals. Five of them were gold...

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