The 1936 Berlin Olympics gold medalist water polo player celebrated his 100th birthday on September 23, 2013. At the occasion, he was greeted by Bence Szabo, the Secretary General of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, and Dénes Kemény the President of the Hungarian Water Polo Association in his home in Belvedere, California.
Since August 2, 2011 he has been the oldest Olympic champion in the world.
In his final year, he was wheelchair-bound, but he was intellectually active until the last moment of his life. In his final years, he turned to mathematics and investigated challenging mathematical problems.
Sándor Tarics was born in Budapest on September 23, 1913. From 1929 he was a member of KISOK (National Centre for High School Sports Circles), and from 1932 to 1945 of the Hungarian Athletic Club (MAC). He was a member of the Hungarian National Water Polo team between 1933 and 1940 and a member of the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics gold medal winning team; he was the winner of three college world championships as well.
He emigrated to the United States in 1949, where he worked as an architect designing earthquake-resistant buildings. Due to his patents, thousands of earthquake-resistant buildings were built around the world in the past decades. Tarics developed a structure, which absorbs the power of earthquakes, which could be applied to the construction of tall buildings, skyscrapers, and bridges as well.
“We are very proud that a Hungarian water polo player was the oldest Olympic Champion in the world, whom we all respected and liked a lot. It was a great honor that I could visit and greet him at his 100th birthday in his home. I think any of us would be happy to live such a long life. God rest his soul!” wrote the President of the Hungarian Water Polo Association Dénes Kemény in a death farewell massage on the Hungarian Water Polo Association website.
Sándor Tarics had a wonderful sense of humor as well. At age 93 he said this: “When I wake up in the morning, I browse the obituaries from the newspapers and if I’m not on the list I get on with my business.”