Defying the Odds: Karoly Takacs

In the 3rd episode of Unsung Olympic Heroes, we turn our focus to a very inspiring person who defied the odds after a freak accident to bounce back and became an Olympian Gold medalist twice, Karoly Takacs.

Karoly Takacs was a world pistol shooting champion and career military officer; in 1938 he lost his right shooting arm to a faulty grenade in a military exercise.

Takacs spent a month in the hospital, depressed on the loss of losing his hand and the end to his Olympic dream. At that point most people would have quit. And they would have probably spent the rest of their life feeling sorry for themselves.

Most people would have quit but not Takacs. Takacs was a winner. Winners know that they can’t let circumstances keep them down. They understand that life is hard and that they can’t let life beat them down. Winners know in their heart that quitting is not an option.

Takacs did the unthinkable; he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and decided to learn how to shoot with his left hand! His reasoning was simple. He simply asked himself, “Why not?”

Instead of focusing on what he didn’t have – a world class right shooting hand, he decided to focus on what he did have – incredible mental toughness, and a healthy left hand that with time, could be developed to shoot like a champion.

Karoly Takacs epitomizes the spirit of determination and preserverance; even with a severe injury from an accident, he gave no excuses nor blame but continued to work towards excellence. A lot ofpeople faced with similarly less incidents typically give excuses for their inability to perform tasks or work towards their goals, let alone work on the unknown and unfamiliar like Karoly Takacs.