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Tibor Benedek

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 3
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games, Coach
SexMale
Full nameTibor•Benedek
Used nameTibor•Benedek
Born12 July 1972 in Budapest (HUN)
Died18 June 2020 in Budapest (HUN)
Measurements190 cm / 96 kg
AffiliationsÚjpesti TE, Budapest (HUN) / AS Roma, Roma (ITA) / Pro Recco, Recco (ITA)
NOC Hungary

Biography

Tibor Benedek hailed from and acting family, with both his father and grandfather making their mark on theatre stages. Tibor, however, was destined to succeed on a different stage. Due to spinal problems as a child, Benedek started swimming, but soon switched to water polo. He won successive junior championships and, as a teenager, played in the junior national team, and in 1989, became Junior European Champion. In 1990, when just 18-years-old, he made his senior international début and won the bronze medal at the World Championships the following year. At the age of 20, Benedek participated in the Barcelona Olympics and became the tournament’s top scorer with 22 goals.

With his club side, Újpest, Benedek won four national championship titles, the LEN Cup in 1993, and the Champions League a year later. In 1993 and 1995, he won silver medals with the national team at the European Championships. Although the Hungarian team missed a medal at the Atlanta Olympics, Benedek was again the tournament’s top scorer. After the Games, he moved to Italy and spent five years with AS Roma and a further three years with Pro Recco. During this first period in Italy, he collected two more championship titles (one with each team) and one national cup victory.

At this time, the Hungarian national team started to enjoy a great deal of success and won the 1997 and 1999 European Championships. Benedek won a World Championship silver medal in 1998, followed by gold at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, when Hungary became Olympic champions for the first time in 24 years. Benedek scored four goals in the final against Russia. In 2002 and 2003 Hungary won both the World League and the World Championships and, in 2004, they defended their Olympic title at Athens.

After the Olympics, Benedek moved back to Hungary and joined Honvéd, led by his former Újpest coach, István Kovács. In three years, he added two more Hungarian titles, taking his total to six. After being diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder, he temporarily stopped playing before a return in 2007, when he added a World Cup silver medal to his collection.

In 2007, Benedek moved to Italy for a second spell, and re-joined Pro Recco. He went on to win four more Italian championships, and a Champions League title, within five years. He also became an Olympic champion for a third time in 2008, when Hungary won in Beijing. After the Olympics Benedek retired from the national team and started to work as an assistant coach with the Hungarian national team. In 2012, at the age of almost 40, he ended his playing career, and six months later, in January 2013, Benedek was appointed head coach of the national team.

As a coach, Benedek’s greatest success was in guiding Hungary to victory at the 2013 World Championships, as he became a dual world champion as player and coach. In the following years he won one silver and one bronze medal at the European Championships. After finishing fifth at the Rio Olympics, he left his coaching position in October 2016 and joined the presidency of the Hungarian Water Polo Association. In January 2017, Benedek became the sport director of Újpest, and later their head coach, which turned out to be his final act in an exceptional career.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1992 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) HUN Tibor Benedek
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Hungary 6
1996 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) HUN Tibor Benedek
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Hungary 4
2000 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) HUN Tibor Benedek
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Hungary 1 Gold
2004 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) HUN Tibor Benedek
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Hungary 1 Gold
2008 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) HUN Tibor Benedek
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Hungary 1 Gold

Coaching results

Games Sport (Discipline) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
2016 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) HUN Tibor Benedek
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Hungary 5

Special Notes