If God has given you life make it everlasting, not by your presence but its prominence.
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”, a statement which encompasses the full essence of Karoly Takacs’ life principle.
Born in Budapest, Hungary on January 21, Karoly was the first ever shooter on the planet to win two consecutive Olympic golds in the 25m rapid fire pistol event. By 1936 he became a world class pistol shooter but was denied a place in the Hungarian shooting team for the 1936 summer Olympics on the grounds that he was a Sergeant, and only commissioned officers were allowed to compete. However, to Karoly’s delight the prohibition was lifted in Hungary after the Berlin Olympics.
So now as a reader, you must be thinking that fate was waiting to greet him with a garland in hand, right ? Wrong! The pursuit of happiness stretched very long indeed. During army training in 1938 his right hand was severely injured, when a faulty grenade exploded.
The accident could have easily thrashed his aplomb into tatters. He could have accepted the defeat right in front of his eyes and led the rest of his life in the proximity of pain and pity. But again it wasn’t meant to be, at least not to Karoly. The fire in his conscience was fierce enough to break the shackles of sorrow. He turned a blind eye to the sufferings and concentrated all his efforts into one single target, and that was 1940 Summer Olympics, Tokyo. As it is said, actions speak louder than words, he began the practice of rapid fire pistol shooting with his left hand, in secret.
His efforts were rather fructifying. He became a member of the Hungarian team that won the 1939 UIT world shooting championships.
However, what was waiting for Karoly would have shattered the hopes of any human being. The Olympics of 1940 were cancelled due to Second World War. To further aggravate the situation, the 1944 Olympics games too fell into the hands of World War.
None of us can ever realise the unfathomable agony Karoly underwent, but not to forget he was a man who had already defied destiny. After 10 years of utmost pain he still kept his hopes alive. He appeared for the 1948 London Olympics with the same vigour that motivated him ten years back.
Everybody was surprised to see Karoly in the Olympics and thought he was there to cheer for his country. But poor ones, how little did they know!
Them : Its nice to see that you are here Karoly, cheering for us. Karoly (smirks) : Forget about cheering, I am here to compete.
Shell-shocked, they were. Everybody in the tournament was there with their best hand in the business, but Karoly was competing with his only hand. And whatever followed has been etched in the pages of history. The man with the only hand, with his unprecedented victory, enunciated his presence all over the globe. But the road to glory was not yet over. Karoly then appeared for 1952 Olympics and sealed his victory yet again with another gold medal to his name.
Finally, Karoly Takacs finished his career as Lieutenant colonel. Even after his death, Karoly has continued to reign over the hearts of billions.
While life gets severe,
You ought to persevere;
For hardships are inevitable,
And that you must revere.