Regarded as one of the superior water polo players of all time, Dezso Gyarmati of Hungary won medals in five Olympic Games from 1948 through 1964. He was later able to translate his skills when he became the coach of his country’s national water polo team during the years 1975 through 1980 and 1985 to 1988. In 1972, the team won the Olympic silver medal, and then, Under Gyarmati’s coaching, this same team won a gold medal in 1976 and a bronze medal in 1980.
As one of the most famous and the most exciting and decorated players in the history of water polo, Dezsö Gyarmati has long been considered legendary. As a player and as a coach, Gyarmati won medals in eight different games, four of which were gold. After he died at 86 years old, his obituary declared his superiority, contending that he was among “…the greatest players the game has ever seen and the most decorated in history, a left-handed genius who could play in any position. Known for his fearless approach in every game, Dezsö was able to decide the biggest clashes almost single-handedly.”
Boasting a height of six feet and one inch, Gyarmati could swim 100 meters in 58.5 seconds. In 1948, Dezsö Gyarmati competed in his first Olympic Games in London. Hungary won a silver medal that year; however, in the next Olympics held in Helsinki, Finland, the Hungarian team secured a gold medal. Then, in the following games of 1956 in Melbourne, Australia, the Hungarian team and Dezsö Gyarmati retook the gold. In 1960, the Hungarians faced their oppressors, the Soviets, and the game turned into a brawl. Eventually, the match was abandoned. Nevertheless, Gyarmati had captained his team and prevailed in a clash against the USSR, their political oppressors. He was a key player in three of the Hungarians’ four goals, giving Hungary the 4-0 win.
After his years of being a player, Dezsö Gyarmati coached the national water polo team of his country from 1973 through 1980 and 1985 through 1988. While he was a coach, the team won silver, gold, and bronze medals. This incredible athlete and coach has been the most decorated player in Hungarian history and has long been considered a national hero.