Olympic Water-Polo Medalist

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Deszo Gyarmati

Born October 23, 1927 in Miskolc, Deszo Gyarmati studied art at university before devoting himself to water polo. According to the official web site of the Olympic Movement, he is "the greatest water-poloist of all time." He also is the only athlete ever to win medals at five successive games (1952-1960) in the modern Olympics.[1]

A talented swimmer, Gyarmati was considered the fastest-swimming water-poloist. Because he was ambidextrous, he was able to play both forward and back and had the power to "hurl a polo ball across the water with cannon-like power using either arm."[2] Gyarmati was "a Hungarian national hero."[3]

After retiring from the Hungarian Olympic water-polo team, Gyarmati became the teamís Head Coach and led the Hungarians to a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. That same year, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He also was a member of the Hungarian parliament.

Gyarmati was married to the Jewish-Hungarian swimmer Eva Szekely, an Olympic medalist in breast stroke. In 1972, their daughter Andrea won Olympic medals in butterfly and backstroke.



  2. Taylor, Paul, Jews and the Olympic Games: The Clash Between Sport and Politics (Sussex Academic Press: 2004), p. 136


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