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Water polo's most brutal showdown

Gyorgi karpati was a key player in the hungarian water polo team which dominated the sport in the 1950s

The rivalry between the hungarians and their political overlords was intense at the best of times, but events in budapest during the 1956 games added a whole new dimension to what became known as the in the water match.

Of the directives to all the communist countries came from moscow the idea was to prove that sport was better under communism than in the west, he said.

The 1952 olympics in helsinki the coaches of water polo and fencing, two sports hungary was particularly good at, had to go to moscow and teach the soviet coaches how to do it like us.Karpati and his team mates were in a training camp preparing for the 1956 melbourne games, a popular uprising took place in budapest, and the team departed for australia via prague believing that they were leaving a free country.

But by the time they arrived in what was then czechoslovakia, soviet tanks were back on the streets of budapest, brutally suppressing the uprising.

Much thinking and consideration, the team tms revolutionary committee decided we should go and represent hungary, and to show that we were not with the soviets, he said.Was a very difficult decision to make but we felt it was our duty.

We got to australia we had huge support from the other teams, particularly from the west, as they recognised our struggle.

Gyorgi karpati says 1956 was his country greatest olympic victory

The revolution, people back home cut the red star out of the national flag, so we all cut the red star off our team uniform, just like they did.Showdown with the soviets was always on the cards, and when it came to the semi finals, the two teams came face to face.

Were always prepared for a tough experience playing against them, karpati added.

Knew it was going to be rough but while the soviets were killing our people back home, here was somewhere that we knew we could beat them, even if the people back home couldn tmt.The whole world aware of what was happening on the streets of budapest, the water polo match became the centre of attention in australia.

The game came, it was extremely high profile, ralph lauren official website there was huge interest, karpati recalled.

Soviets were under huge pressure they knew that the whole atmosphere would be against them and for hungary, and in a sport that tms so physical anyway, it was inevitable that there was going to be violence.Pressure took its toll on the soviets and hungary class came to the fore as they opened up a 4 0 lead, with two goals scored by ervin zador.

Then, with time running out, the inevitable ralph lauren outlet online baby happened.

Soviets were trying to cover each player and valentin prokopov, who was marking zador got so frustrated that he punched him in the face, the 76 year old said.

Right eye was opened up, there was blood streaming down his face and into the water, and the fighting began.The end of the game, the soviets needed police protection as spectators tried to get to them, while hungary advanced to the final, to face yugoslavia.

Was exhilarating to win the match and give ralph lauren outlet online hope and something positive to people back home when the tanks were still on the streets, he said.

Same motivation carried us on in the final, the thought that hungary ralph lauren italia outlet can be victorious"We wanted to send that message to the people back home.

Gyorgi karpati pictured on his recent visit to london

Had a tough game against yugoslavia in the final, they were also very good but we wanted to be champions more.The games, zador moved to the united states, where he still lives today.

Although he was no longer involved in hungarian water polo, it was not the end of his olympic connection, as he went on to coach swimmer mark spitz, who won seven gold medals at munich in 1972.

Hungary victory in 1956 was the fourth of their nine olympic water polo triumphs, including at the last three games, and karpati said it was without doubt the most satisfying of the lot.

The story of 1956 is part of hungarian folklore, and the film backed by oscar winning film maker quentin tarantino, has told the story to a new audience.

Tms wonderful that there tms now a film about it, and a book i tmm very pleased with how it was made, he said, tms inspired a new generation, it tms become the stuff of legend, not just back home but in australia too.It tms still in people tms minds.The ready steady doc!5th European Film Festival runs in London until 23 February.
 

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