AP NEWS

Olympic water polo champion Antal Bolvari dies at 86

January 8, 2019
File---In this picture taken on Jan. 28, 2010 Olympic champion Hungarian water polo player Antal Bolvari is seen at an exhibition in the National Museum of Ethnography in Budapest, Hungary. On Monday, Jan.8, 2019 Bolvari died in hospital in Budapest at the age of 86 after a long battle with illness. He was part of the gold medalist men's water polo team of Hungary at the 1952 Helsinki and the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympic Games. (Lajos Soos/MTI via AP)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Antal Bolvari, a two-time Olympic water polo champion who scored a goal in Hungary’s famous 4-0 win over the Soviet Union in the “Blood in the Water” match at the 1956 Melbourne Games, has died. He was 86.

Bolvari, who won gold at both the 1952 and 1956 Olympics, died Tuesday in the hospital after a long, undisclosed illness, his family said.

The Olympic semifinal match against the Soviet Union, just weeks after the Soviets crushed the 1956 Hungarian uprising, turned violent and became known as the “Blood in the Water” match after Hungarian player Ervin Zador bled profusely from cuts around his right eye after being punched by an opponent.

Hungary went on to defeat Yugoslavia 2-1 in the final.

Like several of his teammates, Bolvari defected to the West after the Olympics, living in Australia for five years. Returning to Hungary, he played for club teams Vasas, Spartacus and Ferencvaros.

After his playing career, Bolvari coached Spartacus and Honved, as well as Hungary’s junior squad. In the early 1980s, he was also an assistant to head coach Mihaly Mayer with Hungary’s senior squad. Bolvari was also an officer in the Hungarian army, dedicated to sports.

Bolvari was born May 6, 1932, in the southwestern city of Kaposvar.

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