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Posted: 2/12/2006 6:08:42 PM EDT
Ibolya Csák
(Filed: 13/02/2006)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/13/db1302.xml&DCMP=EMC-new_13022006

Ibolya Csak, who died on February 9 aged 91, won a gold medal for Hungary at the Berlin Olympics of 1936 in one of the most exciting and extraordinary high-jump competitions ever seen.

Csák, who was Hungary's national champion at the event, had briefly retired from athletics in 1935 in order to devote herself to wifely duties. The new bride kept fit, however, chopping wood and shovelling snow, and in the spring declared herself ready for the Games.

She was expected to be challenged strongly by Britain's Dorothy Odam, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, and by Gretel Bergmann, who had won the German Olympic trials.

Two weeks before the Games, however, Bergmann was informed by the German Olympic Committee that she was being dropped from the team because of her "mediocre" performance at those trials.

The real reason, of course, was that Bergmann was Jewish. Germany would be represented by Elfriede Kaun and by a rather deep-voiced woman named Dora Ratjen.

Watched by Nazi leaders, the competition lasted a marathon three hours. The German girls were brought water by officials, who refused to give any to their rivals.

Despite this advantage, Ratjen could place only fourth, while a young Fanny Blankers-Koen finished sixth. Csák, Odam and Kaun were the sole athletes to clear 1m 60cm (5 ft 3 ins), Odam at the first attempt and Csák at the second. All then failed at 1m 62cm.

Under modern rules, this would have given Odam gold, but as things then stood the trio went into a jump-off. The bar was set once more at 1m 62cm, and this time Csák arched herself clear of it.

The other two were unable to emulate her, and she became the first Hungarian woman ever to win an Olympic event.

After another jump-off at 1m 60cm, Odam took silver, as she would in similar circumstances in 1948, when she again lost gold to a competitor who had had more failures than her. (British women, in fact, claimed second place in the event at every Olympic Games from Berlin until Tokyo in 1964).

The double irony for the Nazis was that the excluded Bergmann had cleared 1m 64cm at the trials, and that Csák herself was Jewish.

Ibolya Csák was born in Budapest on January 6 1915. As a girl she excelled at athletics, and went on to win nine Hungarian national titles, including a double in the high jump and long jump in 1937 and 1939.

By the time of the European Championships in 1938, held in Vienna, Gretel Bergmann had emigrated to the United States, and had already won their national title. It appeared at first that it had fallen to Ratjen to exact revenge on behalf of Germany when she beat Csák into second place.

The heartiness of Ratjen's "Guten Morgen!" in the showers had, however, been perturbing the other girls for some time, and shortly after the medals ceremony it was announced by the judges that Ratjen was a hermaphrodite, and was withdrawing from athletics. Csák was awarded the gold, and her winning jump of 1m 64cm stood as the Hungarian record for almost a quarter of a century.

Then, in 1957, Ratjen revealed that he was actually a man who had been christened Hermann - leading him to be dubbed in future as "Hermann the German". The erstwhile "Dora" Ratjen claimed that he had been pressurised into competing as a woman by leaders of the Hitler Youth movement, although the truth of this was never established.

Csák, meanwhile, had retired anew to housewifery. Until a recent fall she remained - even in old age - a frequent spectator at athletics meetings in Hungary.

Her husband predeceased her, and she is survived by a son and a daughter.


Link Posted: 2/13/2006 8:33:34 AM EDT
Are there any pictures of Hitler watching his "master race" getting beat by Jews, and blacks? I can only imagine the look on his face, and most certainly would not want to be anywhere near him afterwards.

Has anybody done a Mastercard spoof yet?
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