Are you curious as to what kinds of sports the Hungarians enjoy?
Here, you can find all the information you need on the most popular sports in Hungary.
Water polo is widely regarded as Hungary’s national pastime. In contrast to many other countries, Hungary’s national sport is not football but something considerably less well-liked. A popular sport, water polo is played by seven-member teams consisting of six outfielders and one goalkeeper. The game’s rules are a lot like football.
Hungry is a central European landlocked country. Budapest, the capital, is home to more than 1,752,000 people and borders Slovakia, Ukraine, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Austria (but more than 3,011,000 if you include the metropolitan area).
Hungary is the birthplace of water polo, a sport that has since spread worldwide. It’s deeply ingrained in Hungarian culture and has been for quite some time. Water polo is a game that was very recently introduced to the US. The sport has progressed from its 1987 Hungarian debut to the professional ranks.
It’s a lot like soccer in that it values quickness and teamwork. Although commonly performed in pools, the sport can also be enjoyed in the open ocean. Goals in men’s soccer are typically 20–30 meters apart, whereas, in women’s, it’s 25 meters. The pool can be any length, but it should be at least 10 to 20 meters wide. The optimal depth range is 1.8 m – 2 m. A two-meter and a five-meter line should also be painted on the pool’s perimeter.
For many years, Soviet authorities enforced strict control over Hungary, a satellite state. When the communists took over Hungary, the national water polo team practiced outside Budapest. Hungarian emigrant Ervin Zador escaped the camp and made it to Budapest to see his mother before the Soviets arrived. After learning about the insurrection, he returned to the camp to report on it.
Like the rest of the world, Hungary places a premium on football.
Although the Hungarian national team struggled, it enjoyed prolonged success in the 1950s and was even dubbed the “Golden Team.” They were captained by one of the game’s all-time greats, Ferenc Puskás, and came up short in the 1954 World Cup finals against West Germany amid allegations of referee assistance and doping. The FIFA Puskás Award, given to the player who scored the year’s most exquisite goal, bears his name in tribute.
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Water sports primarily consist of water polo and swimming, Hungary’s second most popular sport. Although Hungary has no coastline, the country’s water polo (the national sport) and swimming teams are among the best in the world.
Overall, Hungary’s performance at the Olympics has been nothing short of phenomenal. The country ranks ninth in overall medals, eighth in total gold medals, and second in total gold medals per capita.
In the same vein as football, Hungary once had one of Europe’s top basketball teams from the middle of the 1940s until the middle of the 1960s. They had a lot of success in the European Basketball Championship and made it to the Summer Olympics several times. The quality has decreased since its previous peak.
Dávid Kornél is the only Hungarian basketball player in the NBA and is the most well-known.
Ice hockey is quite popular in Hungary, ranking as the number four sport there. Since 1928, the Hungarian national ice hockey team has competed at the Olympic Games, the IIHF European Championships, and the IIHF World Hockey Championships due to the sport’s widespread popularity in the country. They have been regulars at the World Championship and are now ranked 19th in the world by the International Ice Hockey Federation.
The Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation governs all aspects of ice hockey in Hungary, and the sport has a membership of about 8,000 people. However, there currently needs to be Hungarians playing in the NHL in North America.
Canoeing is a hugely popular sport in Hungary, and the country is a global powerhouse in the discipline. With five gold and three silver medals, the national team is also among the finest in the world.
Hungary’s many lakes and rivers make it an ideal location for sport. Additionally, it has a rich history in the sport, having won 67 Olympic medals overall, including 17 gold. According to the International Canoe Federation, it also holds the top spot in the world.
Hungarian handball teams have a strong international presence due to the country’s widespread interest in the sport. Most teams compete as part of a club formally recognized by a national governing body. These governing bodies run leagues and tournaments. The IHF puts on the World Championships for both men and women and junior players.
An estimated 19 million people participate in hockey worldwide, with 166 federations being members of the International Hockey Federation. The field measures 40 by 20 meters, with goals at both ends. The goals usually are two meters in height and three meters in width and are anchored to the ground or a wall for safety.
The officials agree upon the penalties in most handball games during a timeout. The referee’s final judgments may only be challenged if a team has violated the regulations.
Hungary takes great pride in its gymnastics heritage, as the sport is widely followed and practiced throughout the country. One of the country’s most famous athletes is Agnes Keleti, a five-time Olympic winner and former coach. She placed third all-time among female Olympians and fourth among gold medalists with 10 medals from three different games. She also had great success as an athlete and was considered one of the most prominent Jewish women in sports.
Keleti started training at age four and won her first national championship at sixteen. She received her diploma in 1939, but antisemitic quotas meant that she could not continue her studies through high school. To make ends meet as she trained for the 1940 Olympics, which were ultimately canceled due to World War II, Keleti was obliged to take a job as an apprentice furrier.
Hungary’s women’s gymnastics team was a powerhouse at the 1976 Olympics. Among Hungary’s top eight routines, seven were created by Onodi. Moreover, she scored over nine points on each routine on average, making her the second-best gymnast overall. She also led the Hungarian squad in the All-Around finals, where her colleagues fell short.