Scandal Erupts Around Hungarian Swimming Sport As Iron Lady Leads Revolt Against Federation Chief
Tamás Székely 2016.11.18.
Tamás Gyárfás the head of the Hungarian Swimming Federation (MÚSZ), should resign immediately, according to three-time Olympic champion swimming star Katinka Hosszú.
Tamás Gyárfás is not only the head of the Hungarian swimming federation since 1993 but also the member of the executive committee of FINA, the international federation, and the Hungarian Olympic Committee
Hosszú, who had clashed with MÚSZ official before, wrote in her latest criticism on her Facebook page that federation president Tamás Gyárfás is Hungarian swimming’s “most harmful factor” and rejected his comments that everything was fine between them. “Tamás Gyárfas was the first one who said in 2008 that I should quit swimming and retire because, among other issues, poor training conditions haven’t improved” she inisisted.
“If it was up to him, Hungary would have returned from the Rio Olympics with three fewer gold medals and one less silver medal”, Hosszú said. She also faulted the federation for taking undue credit for the results of Hungarian swimmers; said the organization’s decision-making process was undemocratic; and implied that financial pressures were involved in the election of its leadership.”They are working to have people believe that there is no life outside the system,” Hosszú wrote. “This is simply laughable. I myself am the living example that there is life after the Hungarian Swimming Federation. In fact, that’s when there really is (life).”
The federation rejected Katinka Hosszú’s claims and harshly criticized her American husband and coach Shane Tusup. In a lengthy reply to Hosszú, MÚSZ said its officials had been unable to have substantive talks with her since October 2015, when they said their relationship deteriorated after Hosszú allegedly refused to take part for free in a promotional video. “The federation’s leadership … is baffled by Katinka Hosszú’s latest comments,” MÚSZ said, while praising her results and denying that Gyárfás had told her to quit in 2008. “The accusations in her serious criticism are equally unfounded.”
While calling it “a gift of fate” that Hosszú and Tusup had met, the federation said swimming officials and competition organizers were increasingly critical of Tusup’s behavior, with most clashes occurring due to financial conflicts. “Professionalism is fully recognized in the sporting world, but Shane Tusup’s behavior and style have become increasingly unacceptable in world swimming,” the federation said. Hosszú won three gold medals and a silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, holds several world records in individual medleys and was named FINA female swimmer of the year in 2014 and 2015.
Olympic champion Dániel Gyurta has also expressed his doubts about the Hungarian Swimming Federation
Meanwhile other Hungarian swimmers, including Boglárka Kapás, Evelin Verrasztó, Dávid Verrasztó, Péter Bernek and Dániel Gyurta have also expressed their doubts about the Hungarian Swimming Federation. Olympic champion DánielGyurta told news website 24.hu that the institution was prioritizing its own interests over those of the athletes. It is evident that there is no order surrounding Hungarian swimming. The saddest part is that this damages the swimmers, who this should all be about”, he said. Furthermore, Attila Czene, former Olympic champion swimmer and former sport state secretary told Lokál that there is a “dictatorship” within the Hungarian swimming federation and he experienced the same during his career. Decision-making and finances of the federation should be transparent”, he noted.
In response to the growing criticism, MÚSZ has released a statement, promising it will address the complaints from athletes on issues ranging from financial support to poor training conditions. The federation said it would compile and make public the swimmers’ grievances and continue its efforts to ensure their success. “The athletes, giving their names or anonymously, can say what would help them achieve even better results,” it said, adding that the complaints will be investigated by a four-member comittee that does not include MÚSZ top officials but four independent figures, including swimming star László Cseh.
Tensions around Hungarian swimming sport are a massive concern for Hungary as Budapest will host the 2017 world swimming championships, and it is also competing with Paris and Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympic Games.