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Hungarian Olympic Thriumph

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When Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi was asked if he believed in extraterrestrials, he replied,
"They are already here...they are called Hungarians!"

Despite its being torn apart after WWI and losing half her total population and 2/3 of her territory, Hungary ranks 8th in the world in medals - this does not include the Hungarians that won medals as nationals of other countries after borders were artificially redrawn.

The beginnings of the Olympic Movement in Hungary go back further than the Games in Athens.
Ferenc Kemeny, a great pacifist and member of the International
Peace Bureau, was one of Pierre de Coubertin's first kindred spirits, with whom he struck up a friendship in the 1880's.
He took an active part in the Congress for the re-establishment of the Games held in Paris in 1894 and was one of the founder members of the IOC.
Thanks to the Hungarian Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee for many of the pictures here.

1896, Athens

1900 Paris

1904 St. Louis


  • Swimmer Halmay Zoltan wins 2 Golds!
  • Swimmer Kiss Geza takes Silver and Bronze

Halmay Jeno Zoltan (1881-1956), Swimming: 50 yard freestyle swimming 1st Gold
Halmay Jeno Zoltan (1881-1956), Swimming: 100 yard freestyle swimming 2nd Gold

See (in Hungarian)

Featured Olympian, Halmay Jeno Zoltan:
(b. 6/18/1881, Nagymagasfalu,  Northern Hungary - d. 5/20/1956, Budapest)

Winner of 9 Olympic Medals!
Though he was born in Northern Hungary 125 years before it was taken from Hungary and the area became known as "Czechoslovakia" and then "Slovakia," the Slovaks try to claim him and call him Imrich Zoltán Halmaj. Do not be fooled. 

Halmay competed in three consecutive Olympics and medaled in each one. His swimming prowess
earned him - 

  • 3 Medals in 1900: 2 Silver (220yd, 4000m freestyle), 1 Bronze (1000m freestyle)
  • 2 Medals in 1904: 2 Gold (50 yard freestyle, 100 yard freestyle)
  • 2 Medals in 1906: 1 Gold (4x250m freestyle relay), 1 Silver (100m freestyle); and 
  • 2 more Medals in 1908: 2 Silver (100m freestyle; 4x200m freestyle relay).

1906 Athens


  • Swimmer Halmay Zoltan wins Third Gold!

Gold Medalists:

Gyorgy Sztantics, Speed Walking: 3000m

Men's Team Hungary - Swimming: 4x250m freestyle

Jozsef Onody, 
Henrik Hajos,
Geza Kiss, 
Zoltan Halmay
3rd Gold
After disappointing receptions in Paris and St. Louis, the Olympic movement returned to Athens for the "Intercalated" Games of 1906. The mutual desire of Greece and Baron de Coubertin to recapture the spirit of the 1896 Games led to an understanding that the Greeks would host an interim games every four years between Olympics. Nearly 900 athletes from 20 countries came to Athens, including, for the first time, an official American team picked by the USOC. The enthusiasm for these Games was great and the Games seemed to regain their popularity. 

Unfortunately, because of political unrest in Greece around 1910, the intercalated Games were cancelled for that year and never continued. Medals won are considered unofficial by the IOC.

1908 London


  • Men's Team Fencing begins historic streak of Gold through 14 CONSECUTIVE Olympics!

  • Fencing Legend Fuchs Jeno wins first 2 out of4 Golds

  • Halmay wins 10th Medal and Men's Swimming Team take Silver

Gold Medalists:

Dr. Fuchs Jeno (1882-1955), Fencing/kardvivas 1st Gold
Weisz Richard
(1879-1945), heavyweight wrestling/birkozas nehezsuly

Men's Team Hungary - Fencing/kardvivas: 1st Gold

Dr. Foldes Dezso (1880-1950), 1st Gold
Dr. Fuchs Jeno, (1882-1955) 2nd Gold
Dr. Gerde Oszkar
(1883-1944), 1st Gold
Dr. Toth Peter
(1882-1967), 1st Gold
Werkner Lajos
(1883-1943) 1st Gold

Featured Olympian, Fuchs Jeno:
(b. October 29, 1882 - d. March 14, 1955)

One of the greatest fencers in Olympic history...
Fuchs competed in only two Olympiads for Hungary, but won every competition he entered. At the 1908 London Games, had only one touch against him in the finals. In the team competition, Fuchs then led the Hungarians to the gold medal with victories over Germany (9-0), Italy(11-5), and Bohemia (9-7).

Featured Olympian, Weisz Richard:
(b. 1879, d. 1945)

Champion Weightlifter, Wrestling Gold...
An enormous man who weighed 209 pounds and possessed a 20-inch neck and a 50-inch chest, Weisz competed as a heavyweight in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1908 London Olympics. In his first match, he almost pinned his Danish opponent in the first minute and eventually won in a little over 13 minutes. After defeating another Dane in the second round, Weisz became Hungary's first Olympic wrestling champion by defeating Aleksandr Petrov of Russia in the gold medal match.

Weisz, who began wrestling at the age of 20, was also a marvelous weightlifter. Besides his Olympic medal in wrestling, Richard was the Hungarian National heavyweight wrestling champion, Austria's first national weightlifting champion, and was also Hungary's National heavyweight weightlifting champion from 1903-1909.

1912, Stokholm


  • Fencing Legend Dr. Fuchs Jeno wins his third and fourth Golds! Teammates Bekessy Bela and Meszaros Ervin take Silver and Bronze
  • Werkner Lajos, Toth Peter, Foldes Dezso, and Gerde Oszkar win 2nd Gold!

Dr. Fuchs Jeno (1882-1955), Fencing/kardvivas 3rd Gold
Prokopp Sandor
(1887-1964), Shooting/loveszet hadipuska csapat

Men's Team Hungary - Fencing/kardvivas: 2nd Gold

Berty Laszlo (1875-1952),
Foldes Dezso
(1880-1950), 2nd Gold
Dr. Fuchs Jeno
(1882-1955), 4th Gold!
Gerde Oszkar
(1883-1944), 2nd Gold
Meszaros Ervin
Schenker Zoltan
Dr. Toth Peter
(1882-1967), 2nd Gold
Werkner Lajos
(1883-1943), 2nd Gold

See all 1912 medalists (in Hungarian)

Featured Olympian, Fuchs Jeno:
(b. October 29, 1882 - d. March 14, 1955)

Fuchs returns...
The legendary fencer Fuchs returned to the Olympics in 1912 at the Stockholm Games and was absolutely brilliant. He went through both the individual and team competitions undefeated as he captured two more gold medals. In 25 matches in individual competition during his Olympic career,  Dr. Fuchs had an amazing record of 22 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw. Fuchs and the Men's Team took gold again.

Sandor Prokopp was one of the big surprises of the Olympics taking gold in shooting.

1920, Antwerp: a Year of Shame

1920, Antwerp
A defeated Hungary was not allowed to participate due to the aftermath of WWI. After the US left the "negotiations" in disgust, the victors split Hungary into pieces at Trianon where Hungary lost two-thirds of her territory and 1/3 of her Hungarian-speaking population. See map and link.
The Tragedy at Trianon
The United States did not support these new borders and left the "negotiations" in disgust, leaving the French to prevail and reward their allies who switched sides a week before the end of the war. Despite promises and treaties, Hungarians today face cultural genocide as termed by the Helsinki Watch Committee. Czechoslovakia and its Benes Decrees expelled hundreds of thousands of Hungarians and confiscated their property. Today Hungarians in Rumania are still fighting to get their properties back and preserve their culture and language. Ethnic cleansing by Milosevic was very successful too. Read more about The Tragedy at Trianon.

1924, Paris


  • A dismembered Hungary returns to the Olympics and takes 2 Gold!

  • Swimming Legend, Zoltan Halmay, takes Silver in Architecture after French objection to his deserving Gold
  • Fencers take Silver and Bronze

Gold Medalists:

Dr. Halasy Gyula (1891-1970) Skeet Shooting/loveszet agyaggalamb
Dr. Posta Sandor
(1888-1952) Fencing/kardvivas

See all 1924 medalists (in Hungarian)


Hungary slowly recovers...
Though Halasy and Posta overcame much adversity, the disaster of WWI is seen in this sub-par showing. It wasn't until 1928 that Hungary was able to regain its Olympic prowess.

1928, Amsterdam


  • Fencer Tersztyansky Odon wins Two Golds! 
  • Teammate Attila Petschauer takes Silver and Gold!

Gold Medalists:

Keresztes Lajos (1900-1978) Lightweight Wrestling/kotottfogasu birkozas konnyusuly
Kocsis Antal
  (1905- ) Boxing/okolvivas legsuly
Dr. Mezo Ferenc
(1885-1961) Epic Novel / Muveszeti Verseny Irodalom Epika (no longer awarded)
Tersztyanszky Odon
(1890-1929) Fencing/kardvivas, 1st Gold defeating teammate Attila Petschauer!

Men's Team Hungary - Fencing/Kardvivas: 3rd Gold

Garay Janos (1889-1945),
Glykais Gyula
Dr. Gombos Sandor
Petschauer Atilla
(1904-1943), 1st Gold
Rady Jozsef
Tersztyanszky Odon
(1890-1929), 2nd Gold

See all 1928 medalists (in Hungarian)

Click for larger images

1932, Los Angeles


  • Legendary Fencer Gerevich Aladar wins first of his RECORD 7 GOLD MEDALS!
  • Petschauer Attila wins 2nd consecutive Gold
  • Pelle Istvan takes 2 Golds and 2 Silvers!
  • Piller Gyorgy wins 2 Golds
  • Men's Team Waterpolo begins Olympic Domination toward 7 Total Golds!
  • Future Wrestling Gold Medalist, Karpati Karoly, wins Silver
  • Future Wrestling Gold Medalist, Zombori Odon, wins 2 Silvers

Gold Medalists:

Enekes Istvan (1911-1940), Box/okolvivas legsuly
Pelle Istvan
(1895-1968), Floor Exercises / muszabadgyakorlat lolenges
Pelle Istvan
(1895-1968), Pommelled Horse / lolenges
Piller Gyorgy
(1889-1960), Fencing/kardvivas 1st Gold

Men's Team Hungary - Fencing/Kardvivas: 4th Gold

Gerevich Aladar (1910-), 1st Gold of 6!
Glykais Gyula
Kabos Endre
(1906-1944), 1st Gold (also took bronze in the individual sabre)
Nagy Erno
Petschauer Atilla
(1904-1943), 2nd Gold
Piller Gyorgy (1899-1960) 2nd Gold

Men's Team Hungary - Water Polo/Vizilabdazas: 1st Gold

Barta Istvan (1895-1948),
Brody Gyorgy
(1908-1967), 1st Gold
Halassy Oliver (1909-1946), 1st Gold
Homonnai Marton (1906-1969), 1st Gold
Dr. Ivady Sandor
Keseru Alajos
Keseru Ferenc
Nemeth Janos
(1906-), 1st Gold
Sarkany Miklos
(1908- ), 1st Gold
Vertesy Jozsef
(1901- )

See all 1932 medalists (in Hungarian)

Featured Olympian, Gerevich Aladar:
(b. Jaszbereny 3/16/1910, d. 5/14/1991)

Greatest of all Olympic Fencers...
Aladar Gerevich is the greatest of all Olympic fencers. His six successive gold medals in the sabre team event at every Games from 1932 to 1960 stands as a record for any Olympic sport. When told in 1960 that he was to old to compete for a place in the Hungarian team, he challenged the entire team and defeated them all. In the sabre, he won individual gold in 1948, silver in 1952, and bronze in 1936, and a further bronze in the foil team event in 1952. He confirmed his reputation as the world's greatest sabreur with three individual titles at the World Championships (1935, 1951, 1955) and he competed on nine winning Hungarian sabre teams at the World Championships. In addition to his 1952 Olympic medal in team foil, he won the Hungarian national championship with the foil seven times. His wife Erna Bogathy is part of three generations of medal winners. Her father Albert Bogen (1882-1961) was part of the Austrian Sabre team that won silver in 1912 (behind Hungary), she won bronze (under the name Erna Bogen) in foil in 1932, and their son Pal Gerevich (born during the Olympics in 1948) was part of the silver winning Hungarian Sabre team of '72 and '80. Gerevich  later coached at the Vasa Sports Club in Budapest.  

Read more at International Olympic Committee Heroes and see photos and more information.. 

Teammates, Fencers Piller Gyorgy, won 2 golds, while Kabos Endre wins Gold and Bronze.

Enekes Istvan wins boxing Gold and Gymnast Pelle Istvan wins 2 Golds. The Waterpolo Team begins Hungary's Olympic 7-time Championship legacy with their first Gold.


Click for larger images

1936, Berlin


  • The now tiny Hungary finishes third in overall Gold!
  • Kabos Endre wins 2nd and 3rd Gold Medals and a bronze!
  • Kovacs Pal wins first of 6 Gold Medals!
  • Amputee Waterpoloist Halassy Oliver wins 2nd Gold!

Gold Medalists:

Csik Ferenc (1913-1945), 100m freestyle (also won bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay)
Elek Ilona (1907-)Fencing 1st Gold
Harangi Imre (1913-1979), Boxing, Lightweight
Kabos Endre (1906-1944), Fencing 2nd Gold
Kadarne Csak Ibolya (1915-), Highjump
Karpati Karoly (1906-), Wrestling: Lightweight
Lorincz Marton (1911-1969), Wrestling: bantamweight
Zombori Odon (1906-), Wrestling

Men's Team Hungary - Fencing/kardvivas: 5th Gold

Berczelly Tibor (1912-), 1st Gold
Gerevich (Gerei) Aladar (1910-), 2nd Gold of 6!
Kabos Endre (1906-1944), 3rd Gold
Kovacs Pal (1912-), 1st Gold
Dr. Rajczy Imre (1911-1978),
Rajcsanyi Laszlo (1907-) 1st Gold

Men's Team Hungary - Waterpolo/Vizilabda: 2nd Gold

Brandy Jeno (1913-1980),
Brody Gyorgy (1908-1967), 2nd Gold
Bozsi Mihaly (1911-),
Halassy Oliver (1909-1946), 2nd Gold
Hazai Kalman (1913-),
Hommonai Marton (1905-1969), 2nd Gold
Kutasy Gyorgy (1910-1977),
Molnar Istvan (1913-),
Nemeth Janos (1906-), 2nd Gold
Sarkany Miklos (1908-), 2nd Gold
Tarics Sandor (1913-)


Click for larger images

See all 1936 medalists (in Hungarian)

The 1936 Berlin Olympics...
are best remembered for Adolf Hitler’s failed attempt to use them to prove his theories of Aryan racial superiority. As it turned out, the most popular hero of the Games, even among the German people, was the legendary African-American sprinter and long jumper Jesse Owens... A Hungarian Amputee added to the insult by winning Gold!

Featured Olympian, Csik Ferenc:
(b. Kaposvár 12/12/1913, d. Sopron, 1945)

Gave His Life Helping Others...
This International Swimming Hall of Famer took 1936 gold (100m freestyle) and bronze (800m freestyle relay). He set  3 World Records (relays), 6 European Records (100m freestyle, 400m, 800m freestyle relays) and 13 Hungarian Records (100m, 200m freestyle, 100m, 200m breaststroke; relays); won 4 European Championships  (100m freestyle; freestyle relays); and 17 Hungarian Championships(100m, 200m freestyle; 100m, 200m breaststroke; 300m individual medley; 400m, 800m freestyle relays). A medical doctor, he died at the age of 32 in Sopron in an allied bombing raid while he was tending patients..

Featured Olympian, Kabos Endre:
(b. November 5, 1906 - d. November 4, 1944)

One of the World's Greatest Fencers Returns...
Kabos began fencing after receiving a fencing outfit as a birthday present. Although he hid the outfit in his wardrobe, a friend found it and teased him. He enrolled in a fencing club to spite his friend the following day and went on to compete in two Olympiads for the H ungarian fencing team in the 1930s. A sabre specialist, he won four medals (three gold) during his Olympic career. At the 1932 Los Angeles Games, he won a gold medal in the team competition; Hungary defeated the United States (13-3), Italy (9-2), and Poland (9-1) in the finals. Kabos also medaled in the individual competition as he won five of nine matches to the win the bronze (he tied with Erwin Casmir of Germany for third but Kabos was awarded the medal because he received fewer touches in the finals). Kabos also won the individual sabre at the 1933 and 1934 World Championships

Kabos returned to the Olympics four years later at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and dominated the competition. He won gold medals in both the team and individual events, winning 24 of 25 matches in the individual competition, while Hungary as a team went undefeated.

Featured Olympian, Halassy Oliver:
(b. 1909 - d. 1946)

A Lesson in Tenacity: Amputee Wins Gold!
The International Swimming Hall of Famer and Water Poloist Oliver Halassy won his 2nd Gold Medal despite the fact that one of his legs had been amputated below the knee following a streetcar accident. He also won 1928 silver and 1932 gold; European Championships: Gold (1500m freestyle); and 25 Hungarian Individual Swimming Titles (400m to 1500m freestyle).

1948, London


  • Legendary Boxer Laszlo Papp wins first of his historic 3 Consecutive Golds!
  • Fencer Elek Ilona wins 2nd Consecutive Gold Medals!
  • Men's Swimming Team take Silver
  • Deszo Gyarmati and Men's Waterpolo Team take Silver

Gold Medalists:

Bobis Gyula (1909-1972), Wrestling: Heavyweight
Csik Tibor (1927-1976), Boxing
Elek Ilona (1907-),Fencing 2nd Gold
Gyarmati Olga (1924-), Long jump
Nemeth Imre (1917-), Hammerthrow (World Record) His son would win Gold in 1976!
Papp Laszlo (1926-), Boxing, Middleweight 1st  of 3!
Torma Gyula (Július) (1923-1991), Boxing: Welterweight - (Competing for Slovakia)
Pataki Ferenc
(1917-),Gymnastics Floor Exercise/muszabadgyakorlat
Takacs Karoly (1910-1976), Shooting: 25m rapid fire pistol/loveszet otalakos gyorspisztoly 1st Gold

Men's Team Hungary - Fencing/Kardvivas: 6th Gold

    Bercelly Tibor (1912-), 2nd Gold
    Gerevich Aladar (1910-), 3rd Gold!
    Karpati Rudolf (1920-), 1st Gold
    Kovacs Pal (1912-), 2nd Gold!
    Papp Bertalan (1913-), 1st Gold
    Rajcsanyi Laszlo (1907-) 2nd Gold



Click for larger images

See all 1948 medalists (in Hungarian)

Featured Olympian, Laszlo Papp:
(b. 3/25/1926 Budapest)

A Tragic Champion...
After winning the Olympic middleweight title in 1948 Hungary's László Papp won the light-middleweight crown in 1952 and 1956 to become the first boxer to win three Olympic gold medals (only great Teofilo Stevenson of Cuba could later match this feat). He also won European amateur titles in 1949 and 1951. Possibly his finest victory in the Olympic ring came in the 1956 final when he beat José Torres (USA), a future world professional champion. A skillful, hard-punching southpaw, Papp was the first fighter from the Soviet bloc allowed to turn professional and he won the European middleweight title in 1962. He would eventually amass 6 European Middleweight Titles (1962-1965). However, in 1965, the Hungarian authorities withdrew their permission for him to fight professionally and the chance of a world title bout was denied him. Papp later served as the coach of the Hungarian national boxing team from 1971-92. 

- See the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Heroes for additional photos and bio or The Hungary Page's own Famous Sports Hungarians section.

Featured Olympian, Takacs Karoly:
(b. Budapest, 1/21/1910, d. 1/5/1976)

The Right-Handed Shooter Who Won With His Left Hand...
Karoly Takacs was a member of the Hungarian pistol shooting team in 1938 when, while serving as a sergeant in the army, a defective grenade exploded in his right hand - his pistol hand - and shattered it completely. After spending a month in the hospital, Takacs secretly taught himself to shoot with his left hand. The following year he won the Hungarian pistol shooting championship and was a member of the Hungarian team that won the automatic pistol event at the world championships. The next two Olympics, in 1940 and 1944, were cancelled because of war, but in 1948 Takacs qualified for the Hungarian Olympic team in the rapid-fire pistol event. He was 38 years old. Before the competition, the favorite, world champion and world record holder, Carlos Enrique Díaz Saenz Valiente, asked Takacs why he was in London. Takacs replied, "I'm here to learn." Takacs won the gold medal and beat the world record by ten points. During the medal ceremony, Díaz Saenz Valiente, who finished second, turned to Takacs and said, "You have learned enough." Four years later in Helsinki, Takács successfully defended his Olympic title to become the first repeat winner of the rapid-fire pistol event. 

- See the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Heroes for additional photos and bio or read more about Olympic Shooting.

1952, Helsinki


  • The Legendary Soccer "Golden Team" makes its mark!
  • The Great Laszlo Papp wins Boxing Gold again!
  • "Disabled" Shooter Takacs Karoly wins 2nd Consecutive Gold becoming first repeat winner of the rapid-fire pistol event; teammate Szilárd Jun, takes Silver!
  • Fencer Elek Ilona also takes Silver!

Gold Medalists:

Csermak Jozsef (1932-), Hammerthrow (broke the world record of 59.88m set by fellow Hungarian Gold Medalist Imre Nemeth two years earlier)
Gyenge Valeria (1933-), 400m Freestyle Swimming
Hodos Imre, Wrestling
Keleti Agnes (1921-), Floor Exercise
Korondi Margit (1932-), Gymnastics - Uneven Bars
Kovacs Pal (1912-), Fencing 3rd Gold!
Papp Laszlo (1926-), Boxing 2nd Gold!
Szekely (Gyarmati) Eva (1927-), 200m Breaststroke
Szilvasy Miklos (1925-1969), Wrestling
Szoke Katalin (1935-),100m Freestyle swim
Takacs Karoly (1910-1976), Shooting: 25m rapid fire pistol 2nd Gold!

Men's Team Hungary - Fencing/Kardvivas: 7th Gold

Bercelly Tibor (1912-), 3rd Gold!
Gerevich Aladar (1910-), 4th Gold!
Karpati Rudolf (1920-), 2nd Gold
Kovacs Pal (1912-), 4th Gold
Papp Bertalan (1913-), 2nd Gold
Rajcsanyi Laszlo (1907-), 3rd Gold!


Men's Team Hungary - Soccer/labdarugas: 1st Gold
THE LEGENDS! "The Golden Team"/Az Arany Csapat! "The Magnificent Magyars"

Bozsik Jozsef (1925-1978),
Budai Laszlo (1928-),
Buzanszky Jeno (1925-),
Czibor Zoltan (1929-),
Csordas Lajos (1932-1968),
Dalnoki Jeno (1932-),
Grosics Gyula (1926-),
Hidegkuti Nandor (1922-),
Kocsis Sandor(1929-1979),
Kovacs Imre (1921-),
Lantos Mihaly (1928-),
Lorant Gyula (1923-1981),
Palotas Peter (1929-1967),
Puskas Ferenc (1927-),
Zakarias Jozsef (1924-1971)

Men's Team Hungary - Modern Pentathlon 1st Gold

Benedek Gabor (1927-),
Kovacsi Aladar (1932-),
Szondy Istvan (1925-)

Women's Team Hungary - 4X100m Relays/gyorsvalto:

Novak Ilonka (1925-),
Temes Judit (1930-),
Novak Eva (1930-),
Szoke Katalin (1935-),
Littomeritzky Maria (1927-)

Men's Team Hungary - Water Polo/Vizilabda: 3rd Gold

Antal Robert (1921-),
Bolvari Antal (1932-), 1st Gold!
Fabian Dezso (1918-1973),
Gyarmati Dezso (1927-), 1st Gold!
Hasznos Istvan (1924-),
Jeney Laszlo (1923-), 1st Gold!
Karpati Gyorgy (1935-), 1st Gold!
Lemhenyi Dezso (1917-),
Markovits Kalman (1931-), 1st Gold!
Marlim Miklos (1931-),
Szittya Karoly (1918-),
Szivos Istvan (1920-), 1st Gold!
Vizvari Gyorgy (1928-)

See all 1952 medalists (in Hungarian)

Featured Olympian, Puskas Ferenc:
(b. 4/2/1927 Budapest, d. )

The "Greatest Soccer Player in History"...
"He played 84 times and scored a world record 83 goals! No player, not even Pelé, has scored that many goals for a national team." The"Little Cannon," the "Galloping Major," or the "Left-Foot Magician."Whichever nickname you remember him by, he exemplified the role of a striker and shoting. His dreadful left-feet shoot frightened many goalkeepers. It was Puskas who bruised the chest of Korean soccer player Deok-young Hong, the Goal Keeper of the Korean Team during the 1954 World Cup Soccer Games. Puskas began his career with Honved, which in the years following World War Two was the Hungarian army team.  Earning an enduring reputation for his deadly left foot, he won an Olympic gold medal with the national side in 1952. Led by Puskas, Hungary recorded one of the most famous victories in soccer history in 1953 when they became the first continental team to beat England at Wembley, winning 6-3 in magnificent style. 6 months later,despite German attempts to injure him in an earlier match, Puskás led Hungary with its incredible 4-year, 33 game winning streak to defeat powerhouse England 7-1 and into the 1954 World Cup finals where favored. Hungary lost to Germany after a controversial call taking away a clear Hungarian goal.

The "Golden Team "disintegrated after the 1956 uprising against communist rule in Hungary was brutally put down by Soviet troops. Puskas, on tour at the time with Honved, did not return home and instead joined Real Madrid, where he formed his great partnership with Di Stefano. Puskas won three European Cups, six Spanish championships and two Spanish Cups with Real. Puskás later became head coach for team Greece. Read more on our own Sports page.

Featured Olympian, Szekely (Gyarmati) Eva:
(b. 4/3/1927 Budapest, d. )

One of the greatest Olympic Swimmers...
Szekely competed in three Olympiads for Hungary. At the 1948 Games, Szekely finished fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke, fifth in the 4x100-meter freestyle, and sixth in the 400-meter freestyle. She returned to the Olympics four years later at the 1952 Helsinki Games, competed in two events, and won her first Olympic medal. In the 200-meter breaststroke, Szekely won her preliminary heat and then set an Olympic record in the semifinals. In the final, Eva won the gold medal and lowered her Olympic record again.

Szekely's final Olympic Games occured in 1956, when she and her husband, Dezso Gyarmati (Hungary's water polo captain and "Greatest Waterpoloist of All Time") left for the Melbourne Olympics during the first days of the Hungarian revolt against Communism. Eva later explained that the world turned upside down when: "...we arrived in Melbourne, we learned that the Russians had come into power...we had no word of our two-year old daughter, or my parents. I didn't get any real sleep for a week before I was due to race and lost over 12 pounds. My husband also was extremely worried, of course..." At the Games, Eva won the silver in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:54.8). She said of her silver medal: "...even though it was one of the few times that I have been beaten in competition, considering everything, I am very proud of the silver medal..."

Between 1940-1958, Szekely set 10 World records and 5 Olympic swimming records. Her World Records included the 100-meter breaststroke (1:16.9) in 1951, the 400-meter individual medley (5:50.4) in 1953, and the 400-meter freestyle relay (4:27.2) in 1952. Eva also won 10 World University Championships, 68 Hungarian National Titles, and held 107 Hungarian National records! In 1952, the definition of breaststroke was such that the arms had to move in parallel. Szekely was the first to use the butterfly stroke when she won the gold at Helsinki. By 1956, the definition had changed and the butterfly was a medal discipline of its own.


  • In 1957, Dezso was beaten and left for dead when the communist puppet regime heard about the family's intention of defecting. He survived and took Eva and daughter Andrea with forged passports and fled Hungary to the United States. They returned to Hungary the following year because they were concerned about Eva's parents (who remained in Hungary). Dezso continued to compete for the national water polo team. Andrea Gyarmati, was a 1972 Olympic silver medalist in the 100m backstroke bronze medalist in the 100-meter butterfly. She later married Mihaly Hesz, the 1968 Olympic canoeing champion.

1956, Melbourne


  • Revolution in Hungary! Russians Invade...
  • "Blood in the Water - legendary Hungary vs. Russia Waterpolo match
  • Hungary finishes fourth in overall Gold!
  • Gymnast Keleti Agnes Wins 4 Gold Medals: Three Individual one as member of Team Hungary!
  • Boxing Legend Papp Laszlo wins Third Consecutive Gold Medal - First Boxer to Win Three!

    Gold Medalists:

    Karpati Rudolf (1920-), Fencing/kardvivas 3rd Gold!
    Keleti Agnes (1921-), Uneven Bars/felemaskorlat,  1st Gold
    Keleti Agnes (1921-), Beam/gerenda,  2nd Gold
    Keleti Agnes (1921-), Floor Exercise/muszabadgyakorlat 3rd Gold!
    Papp Laszlo (1926-), Boxing/okolvivas nagyvaltosuly - 3rd Consecutive Gold Medal!

    Men's Team Hungary - 1000m Kayak

      Uranyi Janos (1924-1964),
      Fabian Laszlo (1936-)

    Men's Team Hungary - Fencing 8th Gold

      Gerevich Aladar (1910-), 5th Gold!
      Hamori Jeno (1933-),
      Karpati Rudolf (1920-), 4th Gold!
      Keresztes Atilla (1928-),
      Kovacs Pal (1912-), 5th Gold!
      Magay Daniel (1932-)

    Women's Team Hungary - Rythmic Gymnastics

      Koteles Erzsebet (1924-),
      Keleti Agnes (1921-) 4th Gold!
      Kertesz Aliz (1935-),
      Tass Olga (1929-),
      Bodo Andrea (1934-),
      Korondi Margit (1932-)

    Men's Team Hungary - Water Polo 4th Gold

      Bolvari Antal (1932-), 2nd Gold!
      Boros Otto (1929-), 1st Gold!
      Gyarmati Dezso (1927-) 2nd Gold!
      Hevesi Istvan (1931-), 2nd Gold!
      Jenei Laszlo (1923-), 2nd Gold!
      Kanizsa Tivadar (1933-1975), 1st Gold!
      Karpati Gyorgy (1935-), 2nd Gold!
      Markovits Kalman (1931-), 2nd Gold!
      Mayer Mihaly (1933-), 1st Gold!
      Szivos Istvan (1920-),  2nd Gold!
      Zador Ervin (1935-)



    See all 1956 medalists (in Hungarian)

Revolution in Hungary! Flag of the New Republic Flies Over Melbourne!
The 1956 Olympics was bittersweet indeed. After a successful revolution and a few weeks of freedom. the Soviets kidnapped the premier and general under a white flag and invaded Hungary. When officials raised the communist-Hungarian flag, the Olympic Village received numerous calls objecting to it not being the Kossuth Arms flag adopted during the Hungarian uprising. The flag was vandalized one night, with the red star of communism being removed from the center and replaced by the Kossuth Arms with a mark of mourning. When the Village staff requested clarification from the newly formed, free Federal government, they were informed that the Kossuth Arms flag was being flown in Budapest and therefore was the correct flag.

Blood in the Water: Hungary vs. The Soviet Union...
Amid all the tension caused by the Soviet invasion of Hungary, Hungary and the Soviet Union met in a water polo match, one of the most famous water polo matches in history. The game was played in a packed stadium with many Hungarian-born Australians in the crowd. In addition to the political tension it was also a crucial game in terms of the water polo competition. If Hungary were to win it would almost be assured of the gold medal.

The match was rough from the beginning but became increasingly violent after Hungary took a 4-0 lead in the second half. At one point a Hungarian player, Ervin Zador, was heavily knocked by a Soviet player and emerged from the pool with serious facial bleeding. The crowd became enraged and police were called to prevent a riot. The match was abandoned shortly before full time and Hungary was credited with a victory. This ultimately secured it the gold medal after the completion of other matches.

Many of the Hungarian team were not able to return to their homeland to rejoice in this victory, choosing instead to remain in Australia or seek refuge in other countries rather than return to their war-ravaged country. Read more here, http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~sgati/gatiproductions/starting_over/revolution.htm or our on own 1956 page.

Featured Olympian, Deszo Gyarmati:
(b. 10/23/1927 Miskolc, d. )

The Greatest Water Polo Player of All-Time...
Deszo Gyarmati's feat of winning water polo medals at five successive Olympic Games (gold 1952, 1956, 1964; silver 1948; bronze 1960) has never been matched. He also captained winning Hungarian teams at the 1954 and 1962 European Championships. An excellent swimmer with a best time of 58.5 seconds for 100m (quite fast in that era), Gyarmati was called the "world's fastest water polo player." He was ambidextrous and could play either back or forward. Gyarmati was considered a Hungarian national hero. He coached the Hungarian team that won the Olympic title in 1976 and later became a member of Parliament. see The International Olympic Committee's Olympic Heroes


  • He married the 1952 Olympic 200m breaststroke champion Eva Székely

  • In 1957, when the post-revolution, communist puppet government learned that Deszo and Eva were planning to defect, four men dragged Deszo to an abandoned building and beat him to a bloody pulp, leaving him for dead. He survived, and they used forged passports to flee the country with their daughter, Andrea who would later become a world record swimmer and Olympic Silver Medalist.


1960, Rome


  • Fencing Legend Gerevich Aladar wins RECORD 6th CONSECUTIVE GOLD!
  • Fencing Great, Kovacs Pal, wins 7th Medal (6th Gold)!
  • Another Fencing Great, Karpati Rudolf, wins 6th Gold!
  • Deszo Gyarmati wins an unprecendented 5th medal at his fifth consecutive Olympics!
  • Legendary High Jumper Iolanda Balas takes Gold! (Competing for Rumania)
  • Wrestler Polyak Imre sets Olympic Record with 3rd consecutive Silver!
  • Men's Soccer Team Hungary takes Bronze

Gold Medalists:

Karpati Rudolf  (1920-), Fencing 5th Gold!
Nemeth Ferenc (1936-), Modern Pentathlon
Parti Janos (1932-), Canoe C1 1000m
Torok Gyula (1938-), Boxing
Iolanda Balas (1936-), High Jump

Men's Team Hungary - Fencing/Kardvivas: 9th Gold

    Delneky Gabor (1932-),
    Gerevich Aladar (1910-), RECORD 6th Consecutive Gold! Not matched until Sydney 2000!
    Horvath Zoltan (1937-),
    Karpati Rudolf (1920-), 6th Gold!
    Kovacs Pal (1912-), 6th Gold!
    Mendelenyi Tamas (1936-)

Men's Team Hungary - Modern Pentathlon 2nd Gold

    Balczo Andras (1938-), 1st Gold!
    Nagy Imre (1933-),
    Nemeth Ferenc (1936-)

See all 1960 medalists (in Hungarian)

Featured Olympian, Iolanda Balas:
(b. 12/12/1936 Transylvania, d. )

Dominated like no other...
Iolanda Balas (Balazs) completely dominated women's high jumping between 1957 and 1967. Balas, a Rumanian citizen of Hungarian origin born in Transylvania in 1936, was married to her coach and fellow high jumper Ion Soeter (he died in 1987). She is now a leading international official. Iolanda Balas occupies a special niche in athletics history, a class apart.  For a whole decade she went unbeaten winning an incredible 140 consecutive competitions and breaking the world records 14 times, mostly her own. Her 1961 record of 1.91 metres remained unbeaten for ten years.  She captured Olympic titles in 1960 and 1964 by huge margins, and such was her supremacy that at the time she cleared 1.91m no other woman had gone higher than 1.78m. Some of her luckless contemporaries complained that they had no chance against her because she was so very tall (1.85m, or nearly 6ft 1in) with particularly long legs even for that height. But that physical advantage was largely cancelled out by her inability to master the more efficient straddle and western roll techniques of the pre-Fosbury Flopera. She explained: "My style is quite obsolete but it suits my body structure." 

Read more at the International Association of Athletics Federations or at the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Heroes

Featured Olympian, Kovacs Pal:
(b. 12/12/1936 Transylvania (annexed by Rumania), d. )

Winner of 7 Olympic Medals!
Member of the Hungarian Sabre team that won gold at Berlin, London, Helsinki, Melbourne and Rome. He also won individual gold in '52, bronze in '48. He was World Sabre champion in 1937 and 1953. He later became president of the Hungarian Fencing Federation.

Click for larger images

1964, Tokyo

N.B. All information from here on are screenprint and links will not work.
I couldn't guarantee the previous ones either.

1968, Mexico City

1972, Munich

1976, Montreal

1980, Moscow

Click for larger images

1984, Los Angeles

1988, Seoul

1992, Barcelona

1996, Atlanta

2000, Sydney

N.B. A recent mail on my desk.

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