Khadr El-Touni

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Khadr El Touni
خضر التوني
Khedr el-Touni - Berlin Olympics 1936.jpg
Khadr El-Touni at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin
Born December 15, 1916
Cairo, Egypt
Died September 25, 1956(1956-09-25) (aged 39)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Khadr El-Touni
Medal record
Representing the  Egypt
Men's weightlifting
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1936 Berlin -75 kg

Khadr Sayed El Touni (Arabic: خضر التوني‎‎, also spelled Khedr Eltouny; December 15, 1916 – September 25, 1956) was an Egyptian weightlifter, widely regarded as the best weightlifter of all time. He was ranked number one on the list of history's 50 greatest weightlifters issued by the International Weightlifting Federation, until Turkey's Naim Süleymanoğlu surpassed the Egyptian to top the list at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Eltouny began practicing the sport at a young age along with the students of Shobra School. One day, they placed two stones weighing 40 kg each on a broomstick; only Eltouny succeeded in lifting it. Determined to succeed in this area, Eltouny continued to weightlift at various sporting clubs in the Cairo area.

1936 Olympics[edit]

At the time, Eltouny had already set the world record for his weight class. The International Weightlifting Federation, however, did not recognize this as a world record; they claimed it was an impossible feat. They were forced to acknowledge this record when he successfully performed at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Crushing two German world champions at the time on their home soil, Eltouny broke then the Olympic and world records.

After winning the middleweight class gold medal,[1] Eltouny continued to compete for another 45 minutes, finally exceeding the total of the German silver medalist by 35 kg. The 20-year-old Eltouny lifted a total of 387.5 kg, while the German lifted 352.5 kg. Furthermore, Eltouny had lifted 15 kg more than the light-heavyweight gold medalist, a feat only Eltouny has accomplished. Eltouny's new world records stood for thirteen years.

Fascinated by Eltouny's performance, Adolf Hitler, who was watching from the stands, rushed down to greet this human miracle. Prior to the competition, Hitler was said to have been sure that Rudolf Ismayr and Adolf Wagner would embarrass all other opponents. While awarding Eltouny with the gold medal, Hitler told him: 'Egypt should be proud of you. I wish you were German. I hope you consider Germany your second home'. Hitler was so impressed by his domination in the middleweight class that he ordered a street named after him in Berlin.[2]

His achievement was recorded in the official book of the 1936 Olympics which is available in many libraries[3] containing all the signatures of Golden medals carriers including his signature in Arabic[4]

In recognition of his achievement, Hitler ordered that one of the streets in the Olympic Village of Berlin be named after Eltouny. In addition to the street in Berlin, Eltouny also had streets in Alexandria and Nasr City named after him in his home country of Egypt. Nearby his home in his final residential town of Helwan, a major square [5] was also named after Eltouny. Besides the honorary streets and squares, Eltouny received a 1,000 L.E. cash bonus, as well as a free pass from the tramway company. Eltouny cashed in the policy in 1953 and built a house in Helwan which is still occupied by his wife Gamalat.

1948 Olympics[edit]

Eltouny could have taken part in the 1940 and 1944 Olympics, but World War II put an end to those dreams. Finally in 1948, when the games resumed in London, Eltouny was able to compete again. Eltouny fell ill the night before the games, and would require surgery (exact illness not known). Doctors ordered Eltouny not to compete, but frustrated about missing the prior two Olympic Games, Eltouny refused to follow the doctors' orders. Well past his prime at the age of 32, and in terrible pain, Eltouny attempted to win a medal once again. Unfortunately, Eltouny failed to win a medal this time. Although he tied for third place, he lost the bronze medal on tiebreak. Nevertheless, Eltouny won the hearts of the Egyptian people with his determination. Immediately after the competition, Eltouny was rushed to a nearby hospital for surgery.

Later years[edit]

Eltouny died in 1956 by electrical shock while making a home repair.

See also[edit]