Károly Takács

Inspirational People Who Did Not Let Failure Define Them -03

Inspirational People Who Did Not Let Failure Define Them -03

Károly Takács

Károly Takács (Hungarian name order Takács Károly) (21 January 1910 – 5 January 1976) was the first shooter to win two Olympic gold medals in the 25 metre rapid fire pistol event, both with his left hand after his right hand was seriously injured. He is the third known physically disabled athlete to have competed in the Olympic Games after George Eyser in 1904 and Olivér Halassy in 1928, followed by Liz Hartel in 1952 and Neroli Fairhall in 1984.

Takács was born in Budapest and joined the Hungarian Army. By 1936, he was a world-class pistol shooter, but he was denied a place in the Hungarian shooting team for the 1936 Summer Olympics on the grounds that he was a sergeant, and only commissioned officers were allowed to compete. This prohibition was lifted in Hungary after the Berlin Games, and Takács had expectations of success at the 1940 Summer Olympics, scheduled to be held in Tokyo.

During army training in 1938, his right hand was badly injured when a faulty grenade exploded. Takács was determined to continue his shooting career, and switched to shooting with his left hand. He practised in secret, surprising his countrymen when he won the Hungarian national pistol shooting championship in the spring of 1939. He also was a member of the Hungarian team that won the 1939 UIT World Shooting Championships in the event. The Olympic Games scheduled for 1940 and 1944 were cancelled due to the Second World War, but Takács surprised the world by winning the gold medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, aged 38, beating the favourite, Argentine Carlos Enrique Díaz Sáenz Valiente, who was the reigning world champion, who had approached him before the event and had asked him what was he doing there (hearing about his accident. His reply was that he was there to learn, setting a world record. Valiente later congratulated saying you have learned enough.

He won a second gold medal in the same event at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, after the match Valiente congratulated him again and said “you have learned more than enough now it’s time to teach me”. He also attended the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, but finished eighth and failed to win a third medal. His story has given him a place among the “Olympic heroes” of the International Olympic Committee. Two Olympic gold medals were won by Józef Zapędzki (Mexico – 1968 and Munich – 1972) as well but not until Ralf Schumann’s third victory in the 2004 Olympics did a shooter succeed in winning three Olympic gold medals in this event.

Although most associated with rapid fire pistol, Takács also won a bronze medal at the 1958 ISSF World Shooting Championships in 25 metre center-fire pistol. He also won 35 Hungarian national shooting championships.

After his shooting career, Takács became a coach. He trained Hungarian Szilárd Kun, who won the silver medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics. He ended his army career as a lieutenant colonel.

Chris Gardner

Inspirational People Who Did Not Let Failure Define Them 02

Inspirational People Who Did Not Let Failure Define Them – 02

An entrepreneur

BEFORE:

He had a troubled childhood – his parents separated, and his stepfather was physically abusive to his mother and siblings. His mother was falsely convicted twice because of his stepfather’s allegations. Because they had no one to take care of them, he, along with and his siblings, had to stay in a foster home at the age of 8. His first marriage failed partly due to his choice of opting out of a medical career and because he cheated on his wife. Not only did he fail miserably at his job as a medical equipment salesman, but his girlfriend also deserted him due to his deteriorating financial conditions. Homeless, he stayed with his son at motels, parks, airports and once even in a public toilet. He toiled incessantly at a brokerage firm during the daytime, stood in long queues so as to sleep under a roof at night.

AFTER:

After passing the licensing exam in 1982, he became a full-time employee of Dean Witter. He established his own brokerage firm Gardner Rich & Co. in 1987, in which he owns 75% of the stock. He sold a small stake in Gardener Rich in 2006 in a multi-million dollar deal.

He is none other than Chris Gardner, the C.E.O and founder of Christopher Gardner International Holdings – with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. His life was portrayed in a Hollywood film – The Pursuit of Happiness – which not only went on to be a blockbuster, but was also loved by audiences worldwide.

Dr. Glenn Cunningham

Inspirational People Who Did Not Let Failure Define Them 01

Inspirational People Who Did Not Let Failure Define Them -01

Everybody, at some point in their lives, has experienced failure. It could be something as simple as not getting the job you wanted, or getting fewer marks even after working your ass off. But what defines you is not your failure, but how you get back up after being hit.

Here are the failure-to-success stories of some famous people all over the world, that will definitely inspire you on one of those days when you have just given up hope.

1. A sports star
BEFORE:

Once, a young school boy was caught in a fire accident in his school and was assumed that he would not live. His mother was told that he was sure to die, for the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body. Even if he were to survive, he would be a cripple throughout his life.

But the brave boy did not want to die nor did he want to be a cripple. Much to be the amazement of the doctor, he did survive. But unfortunately from his waist down, he had no motor ability. His thin legs just dangled there, lifeless. Ultimately he was discharged from the hospital. But his determination to walk was indomitable. At home, when he was not in bed, he was confined to a wheelchair. One day, he threw himself from the chair and pulled himself across the grass, dragging his legs behind him. He reached the picket fence, raised himself up and then stake by stake, he began dragging himself along the fence, his resolve to walk undeterred. He did this every day, with faith in himself that he would be able to walk unaided. With his iron persistence and his resolute determination, he did develop the ability to stand up, then to walk haltingly, then to walk by himself and then to run.

AFTER:

He began to walk to school, then run to school, to run for the sheer joy of running. Later in college he made the track team.

In February 1934, in New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, this young man who was not expected to survive, who would surely never walk, who could never hope to run – this determined young man, Dr. Glenn Cunningham, ran the world’s fastest mile.
An epitome of the power of positive thinking and faith in one’s self, Glenn Cunningham continues to be an inspiration for many, and his story, a brilliant testimony to how one can bounce back even when all odds are stacked against one, to the extent that death seemed the preferable option.