In 1896, Alfred Hajos, a Hungarian Jew, became Olympics' first-ever swimming champion after winning the 100 meter race.
If he stopped there, that would have make him profile-worthy. After all, that's a rather historic accomplishment. And we could have talked about him hiding his Jewish last name, Guttmann, behind Hajos, the Hungarian word for sailor. Or how he became Olympics' youngest champion. Or the race itself, which took place not in a swimming pool, but in the frigid Mediterranean...
But Hajos didn't stop there. He turned around and won the the 1200 meter race, making him a two-time Olympic champion in one short day.
And there is more... Oh, there is more. Back in Hungary, Hajos didn't excel in just swimming. He won national titles in hurdles in discus. He played for — and later coached — the national soccer team. And then, in 1924, he returned to the Olympics, winning a silver medal in architecture.
Yes. You heard that right. A silver medal in ARCHITECTURE. Let us explain.
From 1912 to 1948, Olympics included "art competitions": there were medals awarded for architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. Those medal totals are no longer included in the official tally, but back then they were all too real. And Hajos, who became a renowned architect, won for his design of a stadium.
Yes, you heard that right again. He WON, but only got a silver for it. They decided not to award the gold in architecture that year. Antisemitism? Perhaps.
But definitely a most worthy profile.