Krisztina Egerszegi

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Krisztina Egerszegi
Personal information
Full name Krisztina Egerszegi
Nickname(s) Egérke (Little Mouse), Egér (Mouse), The Water Otter (1988)
Nationality  Hungary
Born (1974-08-16) 16 August 1974 (age 40)
Budapest, Hungary
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 57 kilograms (126 lb)
Sport
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Backstroke, individual medley
Club Budapest Spartacus SC
The native form of this personal name is Egerszegi Krisztina. This article uses the Western name order.

Krisztina Egerszegi (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkristinɒ ˈɛɡɛrsɛɡi]; born 16 August 1974 in Budapest, Hungary) is a Hungarian former world record holding swimmer and one of the greatest Hungarian Olympic champions of the modern era. She is a three-time Olympian (1988, 1992 and 1996) and five time Olympic champion; and one of three individuals (Dawn Fraser and Michael Phelps being other two) to have ever won the same swimming event at three Summer Olympics.

She held the world record in the long course 200 m backstroke for almost 17 years (August 1991 – February 2008), after setting it at the 1991 European Championships (2:06.62). As of June 2009, that time remains the European and Hungarian records. It is the oldest record on the European list, and the second-oldest on the Hungarian list—Egerszegi's former world record in the 100 m backstroke (1:00.31), set 3 days prior to the 200 m backstroke, is the oldest. She is considered by many to be the greatest female backstroker of all-time.

Biography[edit]

She made her international debut at the 1987 European Aquatics Championships at the age of 13, coming fourth in the 200 m backstroke and fifth in the 100 m backstroke.

At the 1988 Summer Olympics she won silver medal in the 100 m backstroke and became Olympic champion in the 200 m backstroke. At the age of 14 years and 41 days she became the youngest-ever female Olympic champion in swimming. This youth record was broken in 1992 by Kyoko Iwasaki of Japan, who won a gold medal in the 200 meter breaststroke at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games at the age of 14 years and six days.

At the 1989 European Aquatics Championships she competed in three events adding the 400 m medley to the 100 m and 200 m backstroke, winning silver medal in all three events.

In 1991 she competed at the World Championships winning the gold medal in both backstroke events. Few months later at the European Championships she won three gold medals and set World records in the 100 m and 200 m backstroke event.

At the 1992 Summer Olympics she won three individual gold medals, becoming the only female athlete at the Games to do so. The next year at the European Championships she competed in the 200 m butterfly for the first time and went on to win four gold medals also winning the 400 m medley and the 100 m and 200 m backstroke.

In 1994 she announced that she would retire after the World Championships. After getting a disappointing fifth place in the 100 m backstroke and coming second in the 200 m backstroke she decided to compete for two more years, citing the two defeats as the main reason.

She competed at the 1995 European Aquatics Championships where she won the last two of her nine European titles in the 400 m medley and the 200 m backstroke event. For the first time, she competed in the 4x100 m medley relay where one of her teammates was a young Ágnes Kovács, a future Olympic champion. They came second and Egerszegi has named this silver medal as 'the one that made her the happiest'. She decided not to compete in the 100 m backstroke even though her time of 1:00.93 clocked during the 4x100 m relay final was better than Mette Jacobsen's winning time of 1:02.46 by almost two seconds.

At the 1996 Summer Olympics she won her first and only Olympic bronze medal in the 400 m medley and went on to win the 200 m backstroke becoming the second of only three swimmers in Olympic history (Dawn Fraser and Michael Phelps being the other two) to win gold for the same event at three successive Olympics (200 m backstroke: 1988, 1992, 1996). Between 1988 and 1996 she won 5 Olympic gold medals, which was a record for a swimmer for individual gold medal wins. This record has since been broken by Michael Phelps, who has to date won 11 individual gold medals. Egerszegi announced her retirement from swimming soon after the Olympic games, at the age of only 22.

Her nickname was "Egérke" ("Little Mouse") or "Egér" ("Mouse"), a play on her surname, because of her youthfulness and size.

She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2001.[1] She was named Hungarian Sportswoman of the Year on a record-breaking seven occasions (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996) and Female World Swimmer of the Year three times.

Impact on Hungarian culture[edit]

Her 1988 winning in Seoul became one of the biggest TV-moments in Hungary. The famous phrase "Come on Little Mouse! Come on little girl!" ("Gyerünk Egérke! Gyerünk kicsi lány!") by Tamás Vitray, who was the speaker on the air, is part of the popular culture. Egerszegi is still regarded as the role model of the "champion" in the country.

In 2000 a documentary film called Egerszegi was made about her swimming career.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Egerszegi's bio from the International Swimming Hall of Fame; retrieved 2009-07-08
  2. ^ The film's profile from the Internet Movie Database; retrieved 2010-08-06

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by
East Germany Ina Kleber
Women's 100 metre backstroke
world record holder (long course)

22 August 1991 – 10 September 1994
Succeeded by
China He Cihong
Preceded by
United States Betsy Mitchell
Women's 200 metre backstroke
world record holder (long course)

25 August 1991 – 16 February 2008
Succeeded by
Zimbabwe Kirsty Coventry
Awards
Preceded by
Mariann Engrich
Hungarian Sportswoman of The Year
1988–1993
Succeeded by
Rita Kőbán
Preceded by
Rita Kőbán
Hungarian Sportswoman of The Year
1996
Succeeded by
Ágnes Kovács
Preceded by
Janet Evans
World Swimmer of the Year
1991–1992
Succeeded by
Franziska van Almsick
Preceded by
Samantha Riley
World Swimmer of the Year
1995
Succeeded by
Penny Heyns
Preceded by
Anke Möhring
European Swimmer of the Year
1990–1992
Succeeded by
Franziska van Almsick
Preceded by
Franziska van Almsick
European Swimmer of the Year
1995
Succeeded by
Michelle Smith