Hungary - Culture - Sport

Sport

Only seven countries (US, USSR, UK, France, Italy, China, and Germany) have won more Summer Olympic gold medals than Hungary. At the all time total medal count for Olympic Games, Hungary reaches the 9th ranking out of 211 participating nations, with a total of 465 medals. See All-time Olympic Games medal table (2008 data).

One of the reasons of this achievement is the Hungarians' success in water sports: in water polo the Hungarian team is the leading medal winner by a significant margin (See: Water polo at the Summer Olympics) and in swimming the men are fourth most successful overall while the women are eighth most successful overall. (See: List of Olympic medalists in swimming (men). List of Olympic medalists in swimming (women).) There has also been success in canoeing.

Some of the world's leading best Sabre (fencing) athletes have historically hailed from Hungary.

In 2009, the Hungarian national ice hockey team qualified for their first IIHF World Championship.

See also: Hungary national football team

Hungary has remarkable football history, having won three Olympic titles, finishing runners-up in the 1938 and 1954 FIFA World Cups, and third in the 1964 UEFA European Football Championship. Hungary revolutionized the sport in the 1950s, laying the tactical fundamentals of Total Football and dominating international football with the remarkable Golden Team which included legends like Ferenc Puskás, top goalscorer of the 20th century, whom FIFA dedicated its newest award, the Puskás Award. The side of that era has the all-time highest Football Elo Ranking in the world, with 2166, and one of the longest undefeated runs in football history, remaining unbeaten in 31 games, spanning over more than 4 years and including matches such as the Match of the Century.

The post-golden age decades saw a gradually weakening Hungary, though recently there is renewal in all aspects. The Hungarian Children's Football Federation was founded in 2008, as youth development thrives. For the first time in Hungarian football's history, they hosted the 2010 UEFA Futsal Championship in Budapest and Debrecen, the first time the MLSZ staged a UEFA finals tournament. Also, the national teams have produced some surprise successes such as beating Euro 2004 winner Greece 3–2 and 2006 FIFA World Cup winner Italy 3–1. Although they have not qualified for a major tournament's finals since 1986, they came semi-finalists at the 2008 European Under-19 Championship and qualified for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup which saw their U-20 national team gaining third place to bring home Hungary's first major tournament medal in nearly half a century, feeding their hopes of a future revival.

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