LONDON – It’s been said that age is nothing but a number.
Hungarian Alex Tarics is living proof.
The 98-year-old, a former water polo gold medalist at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games, attended the Hungary men’s water polo match on Wednesday against defending world champion Italy.
He was also in the stands as Hungary took home the gold from Beijing in 2008.
Tarics, a San Francisco resident since 1948, remains an avid support of Hungary’s water polo team. Hungary’s 11-9 loss to Italy on Wednesday triggered this reaction: “Even the greatest series have to end sometimes. Still these guys are the best in the world, and Hungary have quite a few talented players, so in Rio (in 2016) we will come back.”
Tarics plans to be there.
“Why not? It’s not a matter of being more than 100 years. It’s a matter of being fit and I’m fit enough,” Tarics said.
A long time coming: On Wednesday, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, riding Nino Des Buissonnets, picked up his nation’s first equestrian jumping gold medal since Alphonse Gumuseus in 1924.
“It’s difficult to say how I feel,” Guerdat said. “I did not know when I came out after the second round if I had a medal or not . . . so I will just enjoy it now. I am just happy for myself and my team.”
How appropriate: Roger Bannister, the first man to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile in 1954, watched the men’s 1,500-meter race on Tuesday with Sebastian Coe, the Olympic champ in 1980 and ’84 and now the London Olympics Organizing Committee chief.
For Coe, it was a big thrill.
“Of all the people that I knew had to be in that stadium on the night of the 1,500 meters, it had to be Roger Bannister,” Coe told The Associated Press. “It was one of my dreams come true. He is the senior partner of the milers.”
Pun of the day: The Wednesday cover page of the The Sun displayed Great Britain’s 22 gold medals (through Tuesday) framed around big capital letters with the words “UNITED BLINGDOM.”
Non-Olympic-related big news from the U.K.: Buried on page 17 of the Wednesday edition of The Times was a six-paragraph story with the following introduction: “Church of England has sold its shares worth £9 million in News Corporation in response to the phone-hacking scandal.”
Name of the day: Greek sprinter Likourgos-Stefanos Tsakonas, who competed in the men’s 200-meter semifinals on Wednesday night at Olympic Stadium.
Swimming analysis: Yahoo Sports’ Patrick Hattman weighed in on Japan’s swimming team after the end of the action at the Aquatics Centre wrapped up last weekend with the relays.
“Japan had five swimming medalists in London — (Ryo) Tateishi, (Ryosuke) Irie, (Kosuke) Hagino, (Satomi) Suzuki and (Natsumi) Hoshi — who are no more than 23 years old, which should give them several top swimmers to build around over the next four years as aging stars like (Kosuke) Kitajima retire.
“A suggestion to perhaps improve the performances of Japan’s swimmers at the 2016 Olympics would be to schedule their Olympic swimming trials in the summer, as the U.S. does, instead of early in the year. There is too much pressure on Japan’s best to peak several months before the Olympics, and then to try and do the same thing again several months later.”