János Varga, the Sportsman of the Nation, has passed away


János Varga, Olympic champion wrestler and Sportsman of the Nation, died at the age of eighty-three.

According to the Thursday newsletter of the Hungarian Wrestling Federation (MBSZ), the president of the MBSZ, Szilárd Németh, reported on the sportsman’s death on his Facebook page.

On October 29, 2018, János Varga was recommended as a new member of the National Sportsmen’s Association, after the death of the four-time Olympic champion duellist, Győző Kulcsár, left one of the twelve members vacant.

János Varga won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City in the 57-kilogram weight group of the knitters and was also a two-time world and two-time European and 14-time Hungarian champion.

The MBSZ reminded that Varga was born on October 21, 1939 in Abony, and there he learned the basics of the sport. He was introduced to the mysteries of wrestling by the excellent specialist Sándor Skultéty, his extraordinary talent unfolded in the Bp.

On the mat, he was characterized by tremendous self-discipline, endurance and extraordinary physique, he won a total of ten world competition medals, including five golds – wrote the MBSZ, adding that Varga is one of the six Hungarian wrestlers who can call himself an Olympic, World Cup and European Championship winner.

He won his Olympic gold medal in the 57-kilogram weight category of the tightrope walkers, but in addition to his success at the 1968 Mexico Games, he also won gold medals at the 1963 and 1970 World Championships and the 1967 and 1970 European Championships. In addition to all this, he was second in the World Cup in 1961 and 1967, third in the World Cup in 1962 and 1971, and he was able to stand on the second step of the podium at the European Championship in 1968. János Varga’s qualities as a competitor are shown by the fact that he won a medal in freestyle at the 1961 and 1962 World Championships.

After his retirement, he worked as a coach of the Bp. Honvéd and then the junior national team, and obtained a master’s coaching certificate. His career was recognized with a medal of merit by the Hungarian Olympic Committee in 2007, in 2010 he received the civilian section of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, and in 2016 he was elected to the Sports Hall of Fame by the International Wrestling Federation.

The MBSZ newsletter explained that János Varga is considered by the Ministry of National Defense, the Hungarian National Guard, the Hungarian Olympic Committee, the Hungarian Wrestling Association and his hometown, Abony, to be their own dead, and arrangements will be made for his funeral with military honors later.