Mayer, Mihaly : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Mayer, Mihaly

water polo

Country Represented:

Years Competed:
1956, 1960, 1964, 1968

Medals Received:
gold, bronze

Olympic Info:
Mihaly competed on Hungary's water polo team in four consecutive Olympics, winning medals in all competitions. Mayer won gold in 1956 and 1964, and a bronze medal at the 1960 and 1968 Games;- he is one of only four people in Olympic history to have four medals in water polo.

At the 1956 Olympics, an infamous match between Hungary and the Soviet Union took place as the two nations faced off in the semi-finals. One month prior to the Games, Soviet troops invaded Hungary and suppressed an anti-Communist rebellion. With the Hungarians leading, 4-0, the game was stopped. The pool had become 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. There was blood in the water, and some of the players had bloody noses, cut lips and eyebrows.

Career Highlights:
Mayer was a member of the Hungarian water polo teams that dominated the sport in the 1950s and 1960s. Along with his Olympic gold medals, he won gold as a member of the Hungarian team that won the 1958 and 1962 European Championships. In 1987, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1933


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The Jewish Almanac, edited by Richard Siegel and Carl Rheins (New York: Bantam Books, 1980)