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Blood in the pool. The provocations of the Hungarians deprived the USSR national team of Olympic gold

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 16:02:17

The meeting of the USSR and Hungarian water polo teams within the framework of the 1956 Olympic tournament from the very beginning did not promise anything good for those who were accustomed to the spirit of fair competition and beautiful wrestling in the pool. Relations between the two countries at that time were strained to the limit. As for the prospects of the tournament, both teams at that time had golden chances, but for the opponents of our team, the sports result this time receded into the background – the main task was to drive the Soviet water polo players out of each other. themselves, and if at the same time they managed to win, the task could be considered over-accomplished.


The leader of that Hungarian team’s attacks, Erwin Zador, later admitted: “I studied Russian at school more than my mother tongue, so I knew what to say to get even the most patient of opponents into trouble.” a fight”. Also, the stands were packed, and most of the seats were taken by emigrants who settled in Australia, desperately supporting the Hungarians. So the only way to avoid the carnage was to cancel the match, but that was impossible to allow. The meeting was one of the two keys to the end of the tournament, and without it, the Olympic gold simply would not have been played for, or the Yugoslavs would have gone without a fight, which did not suit either the organizers or both sides. Therefore, even before the start of the game, it was clear that this match would definitely not end well, but no one could imagine the ultimate scale of what had happened.

Photo source: IOC


Already at the debut of the match, the Hungarian player Dezhe Gyarmati broke the nose of the captain of the USSR national team Pyotr Mshvenieradze. After that, our water polo players also stopped being shy and began to frankly beat their opponents. The photograph of Erwin Zador’s bloody face after the game appeared in all the newspapers in all corners of the world. The Hungarian’s shout after a powerful blow from Valentin Prokopov silenced the stands hostile to our athletes for a moment. But this silence did not last long. Hungarian fans continued to rage, chanting anti-Soviet slogans and throwing everything that came to hand into the pool, from coins to bottles. Spitting on these statistics of undisguised rudeness and hatred could not even be taken into account – there were so many of them that it was easy to arrange a medium-sized flood.

Photo source: RIA Novosti

And with the score 3:0 in favor of the opponents, our team completely stopped defending, it was simply not safe. Soviet water polo players gathered in a circle in the center of the pool and tried to stop the barrage of objects flying at them, while the Hungarians hit the fourth ball into the empty net. The general madness was stopped only by the Australian police and the voice of the announcer, who said that the match would not end, and the victory was awarded to the Hungarian team.


As a result, the Hungarians completed both tasks that they faced before this game – they made a big scandal and paved their way to Olympic gold, which they received after winning the final meeting with the Yugoslavs. After this match, the Soviet athletes were deliberately scolded, but they were not severely punished. And Pyotr Mshvenieradze, upon his return from Melbourne, was awarded the title of Honorable Master of Sports, an unprecedented case at the time, given what happened and the lost Olympics. In the spring of 2002, all the participants of that game who were still alive at that time were able to come together and apologize to each other for the interruption of the game. So the reconciliation still took place, albeit after almost half a century.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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