Barta, Istvan : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Barta, Istvan

water polo

Country Represented:

Years Competed:
1924, 1928, 1932

Medals Received:
gold, silver

Olympic Info:
Barta, a goalkeeper, was a member of the Hungarian water polo team at three Olympiads. At the 1924 Games, he played in all of Hungary's matches. They defeated Great Britain 7-6 in the first round but lost to Belgium in the quarterfinals. Hungary went to the consolation bracket and defeated Czechoslovakia, 7-0, before losing to Sweden, 4-1, and officially finishing in fifth place.

Four years later, Barta returned to the Olympics with the Hungarian team and was much more successful. With Barta in goal, Hungary did not allow their opponents to score in the first two games, victories over Argentina (14-0) and the United States (5-0). In the semifinals, the Hungarians defeated France, 5-3, but lost in the gold medal match to Germany, 5-2, to win the silver medal.

At the 1932 Games, Barta was again a member of the Hungarian National team, but was no longer a starter. Instead, he was the back-up to Gyorgy Brody, considered by many to be the greatest goalkeeper in history. In the tournament, the Hungarian team defeated Germany (6-2) in the first round and then destroyed Japan (17-0) in Barta's only start (and final Olympic appearance). Hungary then defeated the United States 7-0 in the final to capture the gold medal.

Career Highlights:
Barta was a member of the Hungarian team that rose to world dominance under Jewish coach, Bela Komjadi. Barta, a goalie, played for the Hungarian National Team in 1923-24, 1928, and 1930-32. He was a member of the European Championship team in 1923-27 and 1931. Barta was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1895 - d. 1942


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Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)