Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Water Polo
Inducted: 1992
Country: Hungary
Born: 1892 in Budapest, Hungary
Died: 1933

The most innovative water polo coach of his time, Bela Komjadi developed Hungary into a World water polo power. His Olympic teams won a pair of gold medals and one silver medal. One of those medals was earned posthumously.

Komjadi’s 1928 Olympic Team took silver medal honors, edged out for the gold by Germany. His Hungarian side returned the favor four years later in Los Angeles, capturing the 1932 championship and gold medal, with Germany returning home with a silver medal.

“Uncle Komi” died in 1933 at the age of only 41. But his team returned to the Olympic arena in 1936, half the 10-man roster veterans of the previous Olympiad, including the brilliant “goal
defying” goalie, Gyorgy Brody. With the spirit of Komjadi infusing the determination of the Hungarians and the specter of rising Nazism on his home ground, Berlin, this competition had
more on the line than the gold medal.

In his book Ghetto to the Games, author Andrew Handler writes: “On a rainy and chilly 14 August, they (Hungary) battled the Germans to a 2–2 tie in the Schwimmstadium, where 20,000
German fans shouted deafening encouragement.” Thus, the decisive matches were played the following day. Germany beat Belgium 4–1. Hungary had to win by a wider margin of goals against France to retain its better goal average and the Olympic title. In a
nerve-wracking match of many missed opportunities on both sides, Brody proved unbeatable. Few Hungarians failed to bring to mind Uncle Komi on that tearfully joyous day. The late“ Great Master” earned Hungary’s second consecutive gold medal in water
polo as much as did the players he had coached to world fame.

Upon returning home from Berlin, the water polo Olympians held a memorial salute to Komjadi at his graveside.


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