Great Races: Krisztina Egerszegi Makes History With Three-Peat in 200 Backstroke (Video)

Krisztina Egerszegi

Great Races: Krisztina Egerszegi Makes History With Three-Peat in 200 Backstroke (Video)

As Swimming World continues its series on some of the great races in history, attention is turned to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. At the Centennial Games, Hungarian legend Krisztina Egerszegi pulled off one of the great feats in the history of the sport, as she captured a third consecutive gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke.

Prior to Egerszegi’s triple, only Australian Dawn Fraser had managed the trifecta, having won the 100 freestyle at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics. The three-peat club now features four members, with Michael Phelps (200 individual medley; 2004-2016) and Katie Ledecky (800 freestyle; 2012-2020) joining Fraser and Egerszegi.

The Hungarian, who is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, won her first Olympic title as a 14-year-old at the 1988 Games in Seoul. There, she clocked in at 2:09.29 to defeat East Germany’s Kathrin Zimmerman by more than a second. Four years later, Egerszegi repeated behind a performance of 2:07.06, which was more than two seconds faster than the 2:09.46 of Germany’s Dagmar Hase. Egerszegi also secured golds in the 100 backstroke and 400 individual medley in Barcelona.

In Atlanta, Egerszegi delivered her most lopsided triumph. Although her winning time of 2:07.83 was slower than four years prior, she bettered silver medalist Whitney Hedgepeth of the United States by more than four seconds. Hedgepeth touched the wall in 2:11.98, with bronze medalist Cathleen Rund of Germany checking in at 2:12.06.

The dominance of Egerszegi was evident from the start of the race. She went out in 30.30 and by the time she turned at the midway point in 1:02.09, Egerszegi owned a lead of more than two seconds over Russian Nina Zhivanevskaya. The Hungarian continued to expand her lead over the final two laps and each of her laps was the fastest in the field.

Here is a look at Egerszegi’s third straight title in the 200 backstroke and induction into a special club that has limited membership.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.