Xpat Opinion: Barcelona 2013: Hungary's Another Excellent Performance

  • 13 Aug 2013 9:00 AM
Xpat Opinion: Barcelona 2013: Hungary's Another Excellent Performance
By Ferenc Kumin: Two weeks ago, when Hungary won its bid for the 2021 World Aquatics Championships, I mentioned that we are truly a watersport nation. At that time, the 2013 Barcelona World Aquatics Championships had just begun, so it was too early to include the many results we can now be so proud of. In Barcelona, Hungary came in at an impressive fifth place on the medal rankings, with four gold, one silver and two bronze medals. That means Hungary outperformed the likes of Great Britain, Germany, Australia and a slew of others.

If the most memorable moment was the new generation of the men’s water polo team defeating Montenegro in an epic match for the gold, we are just as proud of swimmers Katinka Hosszú and Dániel Gyurta.Hosszú won the the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley events while Gyurta brought home gold in the 200-meter breaststroke.

László Cseh, on the podium at a world championships for the sixth time in a row, won the silver medal in the men’s 100-meter butterfly. Katinka Hosszú earned a bronze medal in the women’s 200-meter butterfly. The final bronze went to the women’s water polo team, which just missed out on the final after losing to host Spain, but beat Russia in the bronze match.

All of this goes to show that, while Hungary may not be among the most populous of countries, ours is rich in talent capable of competing – and winning – at the very highest levels across a range of sports. We still rank eighth on the all-time medal count for the summer Olympic Games.

We have always had an unusual affinity – and aptitude – for aquatic sports. More than a century ago, Alfréd Hajós won so many events during the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 that he still holds the record for the highest percentage of swimming victories at any Olympics.

At the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, the men’s water polo semifinal between Hungary and the Soviet Union became known as the “Blood in the Water” match, due to the hostilities in the pool and in the stands. The match was played after the Soviets crushed Hungary’s attempt to return to the democratic world. But in the pool, the tables were turned: the Hungarian team soundly defeated the Soviets 4-0 and went on to win the gold.

We still have a while to wait until the 2021 World Aquatics Championships splash into Hungary. But if you consider Hungary’s continuing legacy of success in the pool, it’s easy to see why this nation is excited already.

Source: A Blog About Hungary

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