Profile Krisztina Egerszegi, born in Budapest on 16 August 1974, started swimming at age four. Ten years later, at 14, she won her first Olympic gold medal at the 1988 Games in Seoul, in the 200m backstroke, becoming the youngest ever athlete to win swimming gold. It was the start of a sparkling swimming career.
At the 1992 Olympics Games in Barcelona, Egerszegi successfully defended her Olympic title at the 200m backstroke and added two more gold medals to her collection: the 100m backstroke and the 400m individual medley. Four years later, in 1996, she became only the second woman after Dawn Fraser (who won the 100m freestyle three times: in 1956, 1960 and 1964) to win an Olympic gold medal at three successive Olympics, in the same event and distance (200m backstroke).
Egerszegi became the "Queen" of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Nicknamed "Queen Krisztina" and also “Egerke” (little mouse) in Hungary, she is the only woman to have won five gold medals in individual swimming events. She retired after the 1996 Games in Atlanta, at the age of 22, having been entered only in the medley relay. This could have been a mistake: her leadoff backstroke time in the medley final was faster than the winner’s time in the 100m individual backstroke final showing that she could have won her sixth individual gold. After her retirement she was granted a very special “Olympic champion annuity” by the Hungarian state.
Several years later she commented on her retirement, saying: “I needed to be away from swimming for a while, because I never had time for anything else. I started swimming when I was four and never had a break. It was my life, I loved it very much, but after Atlanta I felt that the time had come to do something else."