Károly Takács was the first shooter to win two Olympic gold medals in the 25 metre rapid fire pistol event, both with his left hand after his right hand was seriously injured. He is the third known physically disabled athlete to have competed in the Olympic Games after George Eyser in 1904 and Olivér Halassy in 1928, followed by Liz Hartel in 1952 and Neroli Fairhall in 1984.Takács was born in Budapest and joined the Hungarian Army. By 1936, he was a world-class pistol shooter, but he 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 officerswere allowed to compete. This prohibition was lifted in Hungary after the Berlin Games, and Takács had expectations of success at the 1940 Summer Olympics, scheduled to be held in Tokyo.
During army training in 1938, his right hand was badly injured when a faulty grenade exploded. Takács was determined to continue his shooting career, and switched to shooting with his left hand. He practiced in secret, surprising his countrymen when he won the Hungarian national pistol shooting championship in the spring of 1939. He also was a member of the Hungarian team that won the 1939 UIT World Shooting Championships in the event. The Olympic Games scheduled for 1940 and 1944 were canceled due to the Second World War, but Takács surprised the world by winning the gold medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, aged 38, beating the favourite, Argentine Carlos Enrique Díaz Sáenz Valiente, who was the reigning world champion, who had approached him before the event and had asked him what was he doing there (having heard about his accident). His reply was that he was there to learn, setting a world record. Valiente later congratulated saying you have learned enough.
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