Dezso Lemhenyi (HUN)
Honor Water Polo (1998)
FOR THE RECORD: 1948 OLYMPIC GAMES: silver; 1952 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold; 1940-1952 Hungarian National Team, Member; Ten Time Hungarian Water Polo Champion; 1952-1960 Hungarian National Water Polo Team, Head Coach; 1961-1968 French National Team, Head Coach; Water Polo Administrator in France, Canada, Hungary; 1940-1964 Water Polo Referee; 1948 Best of the World Team, Member.
The most dominant country in water polo over the past 70 years has been the small, land-locked, European nation of Hungary. Hungary has developed many outstanding international players over the decades and many of these players continue in the sport as coaches, administrators, clinicians and officials. Dezso Lemhenyi is no exception and his contribution to the sport of water polo is bountiful.
From his birth in 1917 in Budapest, Lemhenyi loved the water. His participation and involvement in the aquatic disciplines culminated in a Master Diploma in Swimming and Water Polo from the Hungarian University of Physical Education. From 1940 to 1952 he was a member of the Hungarian National Water Polo Team. The 1948 team won the Olympic silver medal in London, the 1952 team won the gold medal in Helsinki. Hungary’s legendary Bela Rajki admired Dezso’s understanding of the game. He was a 10 time Hungarian Water Polo Champion.
From 1952 to 1960, Lemhenyi was the head coach of the Hungarian National Water Polo Team. During this time, Hungary won gold and bronze medals in Olympic competition at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne and the 1960 Olympics in Rome, as well as gold in the 1954 and 1958 European Championships. Under his tutelage were Hall of Fame players Dezso Gyarmati, Gyorgy Karpati, Tamas Farago, Istvan Szivos – Senior and Junior, Mihaly Mayer and Kalman Markovitz. Following the 1960 Rome Olympics. His French swimmer, Michael Rousseau, won the 1970 European Championship 100m freestyle gold medal in Barcelona. During this period he published Techniques, Play & Practice which became a textbook for the Sport Institute of France.
Returning to Hungary from 1969 to 1972, he was the director of Sport Institute, Kozponti Sport Iskola, the breeding ground of Hungarian swimming and water polo. In 1973, he became the head coach of the Canadian Water Polo Association, Just like fellow countryman and Hall of Famer Stefan Hunyadfi, he was a world class coach in three countries during his career.
Many have learned for his teachings. His play and contributions to international water polo are an inspiration to all.