The world may seem upside down right now, but this Saturday, we got a wondrous cause for celebration: Olympic gold medalist and Holocaust survivor Agnes Keleti turned 100. She celebrated the landmark birthday at a (Covid-safe!) celebration in her native Budapest, where she’s lived since 2015, after more than a half-century away.
She is, according to the International Olympic Committee, the oldest surviving Olympic champion. She’s also the most decorated female Jewish Olympian of all time — having won 10 Olympic medals — and her story is truly awe-inspiring.
Despite the pandemic, Keleti had a respectable birthday party, thrown by the Israeli Embassy in Hungary. It was attended by local and Israeli press (who Zoomed into the event), and her son, Rafael, who does not often leave her side. Keleti was presented with a beautiful layer cake covered with chocolate shavings (which she happily sampled before getting her own slice), decorated with two alarmingly loud sparkling candles as well as three numbered candles that indicated the milestone birthday. When she was unable to blow them out, she daringly waved at them until they were extinguished. On the table, for a crowd of professional photographers, Keleti displayed her Olympic medals.
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