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olympians

They were the sporting legends of their time. But their time has past, and their years, advancing. Hidden inside the aging skin and decades-old sporting equipment, there is a deeper, almost imperceptible story of the human experience, in which the struggle against time and the quest against personal limitation lives on.

Jan Szczepanski: Polish Boxer. Represented Poland internationally 15 times. Became European Champion in '71, and Olympic Champion in '72. 251 wins, 24 loses. Remains a legend in Polish boxing.

Mithat Bayrak: Turkish Wrestler. Won Olympic gold in Greco-Roman Wrestling in '56 and '60. Wrestled and worked as a trainer for 20 more years after.

Armin Hary: German Sprinter. First non-American since 1928 to win the Olympic 100 meters. Won European Championships in '58 for the 100m and 4 x 100m. First man in history to run the 100m in 10 seconds.

Jan Kowalczyk: Show Jumping Champion. Won 650 competitions from '55 to '91. Participated in 3 Olympic games. Won gold in Individual Jumping and silver in Team jumping at the '80 Olympics.

Mark Rakita: Soviet Fencer. Won world championship in '65, '67, '69, and '71. Two Olympic Golds and one silver for team competition, one gold for individual competition. Inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in '88.

Irena Szewinska: Polish sprinter. Seven Olympic medals, which include three golds. First woman to hold three sprinting world records at the same time. Won 13 medals in European Championships. Won 26 Polish sprinting championships.

Alexander Medved: Soviet Wrestler. First Soviet to win three gold medals in Freestyle Wrestling. Won seven World championships, three European championships. Recognized by FILA as the Greatest Freestyle Wrestler of the 20th Century.

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By  VNW