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Fact of the Day

Aug 26, 1998

Gold Snatch In Lane Seven
On August 10th, 1936,at the Berlin Olympics, most people thought that Ferenc Csik (pronounced "Sheek") was just another swimmer who had scraped into the 100 metres final by luck and pluck. But no one, even in their wildest dreams, expected him to place let alone win, especially as he had never swum anywhere near his winning time before. Moreover, Peter Fick, the world-record-holder, had defeated Csik no fewer than four times during a European tour the previous year.

But the comparatively unknown Hungarian had his own ideas on the subject. He was to become the big surprise of the Olympic swimming events when he won the first final of the Games in 57.6 seconds, three-tenths of a second ahead of Japan's Masanora Yusa. The 22- year-old student, swimming virtually unseen in lane seven , swept past the favourites who were too busy watching each other in the centre lanes.

Csik completely surpassed his best-ever time in defeating Peter Fick, the odds-on favourite, plus a formidable Japanese trio. Masanora Yusa, Japan, was second, three tenths of a second behind Csik, but Peter Fick placed only sixth in 0:59.7, an unbelievably slow time for him. The other placings were Shigeo Arai,Japan, third, Shoji Taguchi, Japan, fourth, and Helmut Fischer, Germany, fifth. Art Lindgren, the other American finalist, finished seventh and last in 0:59.9.

Dr Ferenc Csik was killed, a few years later, in a bombing raid on Budapest in World War II.