A starting halfback for Hungary in the Olympics, Vago played in all three of his country's games during the tournament. After an initial 7-0 loss to Great Britain, Hungary moved to the consolation round, where they defeated Germany, 3-1. Germany had two Jewish players, Julius Hirsch and Gottfried Fuchs. The Hungarians then played in the consolation final and defeated Austria to finish fifth overall in the tournament. Vago was captain of the Hungarian squad against Germany and Austria. Two of Vago's teammates were Jewish stars, Gyula Biro and Bela Sebestyen.
Considered Hungary’s best left halfback in the 1910s and 1920s, Vago appeared in 17 international games for the National team. According to the Andrew Handler in From the Ghetto to the Games, Vago had, "flawless ball control, accurate passing, unerring instinct for being at the right place at the right time, and an astonishing range of defensive skills."
A defensive-minded player, Vago was a perfect compliment for right halfback (and Olympic teammate) Gyula Biro. When Biro plunged into the offensive zone, Vago seemed to instinctively know to fall back and provide cover against a potential counterattack. Handler called the duo, "a smooth and efficient midfield pair…one of the strongest components of the Hungarian National team."
During his career, Vago also helped his club team MTK Budapest dominate the Hungarian League for a decade. They first captured the league championship in 1914, the same year they won the Hungary Cup to pull off the "double." Although the league did not play in 1915-1916 due to World War I, when competition resumed during the 1916-17 season, MTK finished first in the league. They went on to capture the next eight championships, from 1918-1925. Vago played with the club until 1923, the same year they again won the Hungary Cup.
Birth and Death Dates:
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
From the Ghetto to the Games: Jewish Athletes in Hungary, by Andrew Handler (Boulder, Colorado: East European Monographs, 1985)