Always a vicious cunt.
Ever the mean bitch.
Together they conspired to deny Karoly Takacz his dream of participating at the Olympics, not once, but thrice. The Hungarian Army Sergeant was one of the best contemporary shooters in the world, but was not even considered as a probable for the Berlin Olympics, because Hungary allowed only commissioned officers to compete. Hungary did away with this requirement soon after, but a grenade decided to make Karoly’s life more interesting by exploding in his right hand in 1938, two years before the scheduled Tokyo Olympics.
The hand that held the pistol was blown to smithereens. No Matter. Dreams did not disappear, just shifted laterally sideways.
Karoly trained his left hand, utilized only to handle toilet paper till then, to handle the pistol. All this, within a year of the accident. That was the kind of unbending determination he possessed. Soon he began winning nationals with the left hand. But the dream had always been the Olympics. Once the veto of the hand was removed, Hitler intervened. The German blitzkrieg put paid to Takacz’s plans. Tokyo 1940 was cancelled. London 1944 could not be held either. Sports could wait. But could Takacz? He was 35 by the time the war ended. The next Olympics were still three years afar.
Karoly Takacz did not let his age bog him down. He focussed on his training, and arrived in London to compete. The favourite and the then World Record holder Carlos Diaz Valiente of Argentina asked him why was he there. “I am here to learn”, said the Hungarian. Every single day ends up teaching you something. The pupil learns, as well as the Master. What is coming towards you anyway must be received with gratitude and eagerness. That is the key to improve and excel. Karoly broke the world record by ten points, and bagged the Gold Medal in 25 m rapid fire pistol event.
Karoly was not yet done. He kept shooting, he kept learning and improving. He won another gold medal at the Helsinki Games in 1952. His pupil and countryman, Szilard Kun, bagged the Silver. Carlos Valiente, the Argentine, finished fourth. “You have learned more than enough; now it’s time to teach me!”, he told Takacz. At the age of 46, Karoly competed at the Melbourne Games in 1956, and finished eighth. He kept appearing in shooting competitions at the highest level till the late 1950s (by that time he had himself turned almost fifty).
“All you need is one pattern to make a living.” So says Linda Raschke, a successful American financer and a trade analyst. You do need passion to live out a good life. You are here to learn. It is never too early to begin, it is never too late to give it a shot. This is an oft-repeated story. But some of them are too important to be not retold for the fear of being branded as repetitive. Karoly Takacz’s is one such- not quite a fairy tale, but a saga full of blood, toil and steel.
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