- 28 Sep 2004
- Olympic News
Unique event: only one Olympic and Paralympic medallist
A unique event in Olympic history: one single athlete to date has won medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Bronze medallist in the team foil in Seoul in 1988 before being confined to a wheelchair three years later, Hungary's Pal Szekeres is the only athlete in the world to have stepped up to the podium at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Victim of a car accident
Szekeres injured his spine in a road accident in 1991. Barely one year later, this foil specialist won the gold at the Paralympic Games in Barcelona. In Atlanta in 1996, he won a double gold in the individual sabre and foil, but he had to be satisfied with the bronze in the foil in 2000 in Sydney.
Bronze medal at the Athens Paralympic Games
On Wednesday, in Athens, the day of his 40th birthday, he again took the bronze, but this time in the individual sabre event. Szekeres had been, in his own words, a little disappointed to not be able to step up to the podium for the foil event, bowing out last Saturday in the quarter-finals.
Two fencing categories
At the Paralympic Games the fencing competitions are contended in two categories. Category A comprises athletes whose balance is steady in a seating position, who can move their upper body in all directions and whose movements for the hand holding the sword are not limited. In category B, balance is limited and the athletes need support.
Deputy Secretary of State
Szekeres is now the Deputy Secretary of State for the Hungarian Ministry for Youth and Sports responsible for disabled sport. As an athlete, he is also an all-rounder. He was even part of the Hungarian national wheelchair basketball team in 1995.
Learn more on the Iinternational Paralympic Committee (IPC)
Official website of the IPC
Official website of the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens