1952, 1956, 1960, 1964
Karpati was a member of the Hungarian water polo teams of the 1950s and 1960s, which dominated the sport. At the age of 17, he won a gold medal in team water polo at the 1952 Games, captured gold again at the 1956 and 1964 Olympics, and a bronze medal in water polo at the 1960 Games.
At the 1956 Olympics, an infamous match between Hungary and the Soviet Union took place as the two nations faced off in the semifinals. One month prior to the Games, Soviet troops invaded Hungary and suppressed an anti-Communist rebellion. Karpati scored the second goal of the match, but the game was stopped with the Hungarians leading, 4-0. The game had turned into a battleground, with players brawling and bloodied. The Swedish referee said later that he had stopped the game because it had come to resemble an underwater boxing match. Blood filled the pool as some of the players had bloody noses, cut lips and eyebrows.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Hungary and Russia faced in the gold medal match. Karpati, now a VIP guest, was the sole player from the 1956 match sitting at the Aquatic Centre to witness the 2000 re-match. Hungary defeated Russia, 13-6, as the match was played in the Olympic, rather than Cold War, spirit.
Karpati was a member of the Hungarian water polo teams that won the European Championship in 1954, 1958, and 1962. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1982.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 23, 1935
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
The Olympic Games: Athens 1896-Sydney 2000, (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1999)
The Jewish Almanac, edited by Richard Siegel and Carl Rheins (New York: Bantam Books, 1980)