Within 24 hours, Hungary has lost two water polo Olympians. On June 17, György Kárpáti, 3-time Olympic champion left this world at the age of 84, and Tibor Benedek passed away on June 18th.
At one of most famous cemeteries in Hungary, György Kárpáti was accompanied on his final journey. Professor dr. Miklós Kásler, Minister of Human Resources said:
György Kárpáti had showed that human talent is infinite. He was a team player, and was definitely a social person. He had a very big heart.
Attila Vári, President of the Hungarian Water Polo Federation stated that György Kárpáti was able to make everybody laugh.
We have to say goodbye to your teasing. You are a legend who, if touches anything, it becomes gold. You had given motivation and strength along with Dezső Gyarmati.
Vári also added that Kárpáti had played 162 times in the national team.
György Gerendás, on behalf of FTC and as Kárpáti’s former student talked about that his coach meant to him. He said he has become a water poloist from swimming, and Uncle Gyuri was his mentor who recognized his talent.
Along with friends and family and Olympic athletes, dr. Tünde Szabó, Secretary of State for Sport, Pál Schmitt, Honorary President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee and Erzsébet Gy. Németh, Member of the IOC attended the farewell.
At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Kárpáti stood on the top of the podium with the gold medal at only 17 making him the youngest Olympic champion. He earned his second gold in Melbourne in 1956. In 1960, the team got third place, but in ’64 in Tokyo he got to get his third gold medal.
Along with 3 Olympic golds, he also became a European champion in ’54, 58 and 62.
He was part of FTC, which became a 5-time Hungarian Champion and Cup winner making the club’s forever champion.
Before his retirement, between 1970 and 1980, aside from being the national team’s head coach, we was also the trainer. The national team’s first place in 1976 in Montreal was also under his belt. The Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (USA) named him one of water polo’s immortals. Kárpáti was Melbourne and Budapest’s honorary citizen. From 1994 he was a member, and from 2011 he was the president of the Club of the Immortals in Hungary. In 2013, he got elected as the Nation’s Athlete.
György Kárpáti was born in June 23, 1935 in Budapest, and passed away on June 17, 2020 at the age of 84.
Rest in Peace, Legend!
Photo: Péter Szalmás (MOB)