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Aladar Gerevich

  • Story Highlights
  • Olympic record: 7 gold medals, 1 silver medal, 1 bronze medal
  • Gerevich joined the team as an 18-year-old in Los Angeles in 1932
  • he remains the only competitor to win the same Olympic event six times
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(CNN) -- Just as Brazil is synonymous with football, so Hungary and the ancient sport of fencing are inextricably linked.

Take the analogy one step further and Aladar Gerevich must be described as the sport's Pele -- the greatest Olympic swordsmen ever.

Between 1928 and 1960 Hungary was unbeaten in the Olympic team saber competition, winning seven straight gold medals.

Gerevich joined the team as an 18-year-old in Los Angeles in 1932 and was still there 28 years later in Rome.

As well as six team titles, Gerevich also won individual gold in London in 1948, improving on his bronze in 1936, and he completed the full set of medals by claiming silver in Helsinki in 1952.

Gerevich remains the only competitor to win the same Olympic event six times, and he is the only person to win gold medals at six editions of the Games.

Olympic record

1932 -- 1 gold (team saber)
1936 -- 1 gold (team saber), 1 bronze (individual saber)
1948 -- 2 gold (individual saber, team saber)
1952 -- 1 gold (team saber), 1 silver (individual saber), 1 bronze (team foil)
1956 -- 1 gold (team saber)
1960 -- 1 gold (team saber)

He would surely have won yet more titles too, had his career not been disrupted by World War Two.

The highlight of Gerevich's career was his individual title in 1948, an event he dominated so completely that he was beaten just once in 20 bouts.

The 1956 Games in Melbourne took place against the backdrop of the Hungarian uprising against Communist rule and its subsequent brutal suppression by the Soviet Union.

Despite the distraction -- there was confusion over whether the Hungarian team should compete under the communist flag or the flag of Imre Nagy's short-lived government -- Gerevich once again led his team to victory, although by now he had slipped to fifth in the individual event.

While many of his Olympic teammates chose exile, Gerevich returned to Budapest.

In 1960, aged 50, he was told that he was too old to compete at another Olympics.

Undeterred, Gerevich challenged the entire Hungarian team and beat them all -- going on to collect the seventh gold medal of his illustrious career.

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