Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Gianouris/Waterpololegends.com
The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today that Dr. András Bodnár will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Dr. Bodnár is the twelfth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA), Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo player Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.
We are so proud of Andras’ induction,” says Hungarian Water Polo President Dénes Kemény. “Because after so many Hungarian water polo players in the Hall of Fame (19), we have one more honoree. And there is no doubt about his greatness!”
Hungary is a land of thermal springs and although landlocked, swimming and water sports are ingrained in their culture. This love of water led to an early domination of international swimming and diving competitions in the late 19th and early 20th century competitions. But in the 1920s, it was water polo that came to symbolize Hungary’s unique strengths and individuality. From 1928 to 2008, the Hungarians have dominated the sport like no other nation, winning 9 gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals, including back-to-back titles twice: 1932 and 1936 and, 1952 and 1956, and a triple – back-to-back-to back – from 2000 to 2008.
András Bodnár was born on April 9, 1942 in Ungvár, Hungary, a town that today is known as Uzhgorod, in the Ukraine. In 1952, he began swimming and playing water polo for various clubs in Eger until 1962, when he joined the team of the Budapest University Medical Association. In addition to being an outstanding water polo player, he was also one of Hungary’s top middle distance swimmers. He was selected for the first of his four Olympic teams as an 18 year-old and would stand on the podium in each appearance, winning a bronze medal in 1960, gold in 1964 and silver medals in 1968 and 1972. In 1973 he was a member of the team that won the gold at the first FINA World Aquatic Championships in Belgrade. Between 1960 and 1976, he played for the Hungarian National Team in 186 international games – at the same time he was pursuing his medical career. Amazingly, he also swam in the Olympic Games in 1960 and 1964, although he did not make the finals.
1964 Tokyo Olympic gold medal team of Hungary, with FINA President and ISHOF Founder, R. Max Ritter – Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Gianouris/Waterpololegends.com
In 1968, Bodnár earned his medical degree from the Budapest Semmelweis Medical University. From 1968 to 1985 Dr. Bodnár was Assistant Professor of Surgery. In 1985 he was promoted to head of surgery at Frigyes Korányi Hospital and later National Public Health and Medical Office Supervisor. A man of incredible energy and dedication to his sport, he served as Vice-President of the Hungarian Swimming Federation, water polo division from 1981 to 1989, and as president of the newly formed Hungarian Water Polo Federation from 1989 to 1992. Since 1990 he has been a member of the LEN (European Swimming Federation) Medical Committee and since 2004 a member of the Francis Field Foundation Board of Trustees.
In a swimming and water polo career spanning almost two decades, in which he won four Olympic medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), the inaugural World Championship Gold, two European Championships and seven Hungarian Championships, Dr. András Bodnár goes down in history as one of the greatest players of all time and the twentieth player from Hungary to be so honored.
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children. It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email email@example.com
Press release courtesy of ISHOF
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