Pal Szekeres is a former Hungarian fencer who first won a bronze medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and a Gold at the 1992 Paralympics.
We have all heard of multiple medal winners across sports at the Olympics. There have been Olympians such as Michael Phelps and Simone Biles who have more medals than certain countries as well. However, there is one man who has a distinct record of being the only medal winner in both the Paralympics and the Olympics. Pal Szekeres is a former Hungarian fencer. He holds this unique record for his feat in fencing. Pal first won a bronze medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. He took part in the foil team event in fencing and won Bronze along with the Hungarian fencing team. He was still only 24 at that time and had a long way in his fencing career. However, an unfortunate accident in 1991 resulted in him suffering from certain disabilities that also put him in a wheelchair.
— #WheelchairFencing 💜 #Tokyo2020 (@IWASFencing) September 23, 2020
At that time, the Paralympics were already quite a big event. The next event was expected to take place in 1992 in Barcelona. Not wasting even a moment to take up Paralympic fencing training, Pal practiced for less than a year and finally competed at Barcelona in the individual foil event at the Paralympic Games. He went on to win gold in his very first fencing event on a wheelchair.
This began a continuous trend of him winning medals at the Atlanta Paralympic games. (Gold in foil individual and sabre individual) and bronze at the Athens, Sydney, and Beijing Paralympics. Pal Szekeres is Hungary’s most successful Paralympian and has also won medals at the World Championships and European Championships. Also, his record might stay on for a long time to come given the nature of the sport and how he managed to make a phenomenal recovery to achieve such sporting greatness.
From 1999 to 2005, Szekeres was deputy state secretary within the Ministry of Children, Youth and Sports. He also worked as the Ministerial Commissioner and Senior Programme Officer tasked with a government programme to provide “equal opportunity through sport for people living with disabilities.”
In 2005, he became President of the Hungarian Sports Federation for the Disabled. As of 2005, Szekeres was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Paralympic Committee of Hungary, and was participating in the organising of the International Paralympic Sport Film Festival.