According to index.hu, the Hungarian Olympic Committee (HOC) talked about a successful participation in Rio. The eight gold medals are actually not bad, but the government, primarily Viktor Orbán missed efficiency. It’s symbolic that a new sport law was proposed right after the constitutional amendment.
The 2012 London Olympic Games, which brought eight gold medals, cost State Secretary for Sport Attila Czene his job, whose post was taken over by István Simicskó. Now, after another eight gold medals, the government reorganises the whole direction of sports through the changing of the sport law.
According to the proposal submitted on Monday, the power, influence and money divider role of the Hungarian Olympic Committee would be abolished, while the State Secretariat for Sport would be significantly invigorated.
The tasks, which were assigned to HOC by the 2012 sport law, were taken back and given back to the Ministry of Human Resources led by Zoltán Balog.
Secretary for State Tünde Szabó became stronger while HOC President Zsolt Borkai weakened – this is the easiest interpretation of what happened.
Zoltán Balog, Tünde Szabó and Zsolt Borkai
It’s not clear yet whether or not the second line training will get a separate Deputy State Secretariat as the rumours formerly had it.
Different branches of sport received billions through HOC in the past four years, but this will end now. The proposer of the law is the government, more exactly Minister for Sport Zoltán Balog. He was there in Rio when the first ideas about directing Hungarian sports came up.
What happened at the Rio Olympic Games?
Hungary kept its leading role in the world with its eight gold medals, but there was no mark of euphoria. Not even at the location, because only a few fans took on the journey and no matter how hard HOC tried to frame our participation as a success story, the message didn’t make it through.
Four years ago the medals came from eight different sport events and the Hungarians were in the top 4 of two team sports. Now we only had gold medals in three sport events and only made it into the top 4 of one team sport, women’s water polo. The issues were also shown by the fact that we achieved less medals (by 2) and less points all together, and we didn’t even have an Olympic Champion under the age of 25.
Viktor Orbán wasn’t satisfied with the work of HOC, he told President Zsolt Borkai right away what he lacked: he didn’t see the signs of a strong central direction not only in professional sport, but in other departments, as well. He was told that he produced a lack of professional sportsmen and that less people started sports in the last four years as one would expect due to the increased support.
Borkai emphasized his great relationship with the prime minister in several interviews, but it is definitely shaded by this reorganisation. Secretary general Bence Szabó called speculations affecting HOC nonsense.
The government already faced the fact how it is a wrong message, while sport is a strategic branch and one of its most important leaders is primarily the mayor of Győr, who only leads the committee in social works. Meanwhile the minister and the State Secretary find it hard to conciliate with him.
After Viktor Orbán returned from Rio, the Olympic participation was discussed immediately at a government session on the 24th of August. According to Index’s information, the case of Hungarian sport was on the tapis for one and a half hour. One week later, State Secretary for Sport Tünde Szabó had a lecture about her ideas.
The summary was the following: HOC didn’t live efficiently with the exemplary situation of having more money flowing into sport since 2012 than ever before.
The abolition of HOC didn’t come up, partly because the committee submitted the Olympic bid, but from now on their task would be keeping in touch with the International Olympic Committee, representation, the making of team books and, of course, the entering of the Olympic team.
The British Olympic Committee has a similar scope of duties – their participation seems like a benchmark now – so this structure is not unique is sport direction.
The state scholarship sportspeople get and the managing of life annuity will be the task of the ministry.
The success of Katinka Hosszú or Danuta Kozák can only slightly be connected to HOC. For instance, the secretary general called the trainer change of the latter tabloid-like, even though Danuta already proved that her decision was right with gold medals.
Minister Zoltán Balog already alluded into an even more efficient direction when he accepted the report of the last four years from HOC. The mood was quite frigid in HOC then, they felt that the most important field would be taken away from them. This was implied by the fact that the invitations for the event were sent out by the ministry, which suggested a serious announcement. But a new law, about which the parliament might vote this week, came instead.
Copy editor: bm