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János Németh

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJános (James)•Németh
Used nameJános•Németh
Born12 June 1906 in Budapest (HUN)
Died5 March 1988 in Madrid, Madrid (ESP)
Measurements185 cm
AffiliationsÚjpesti TE, Budapest (HUN)
NOC Hungary


János Németh started swimming in 1921 and two years later started playing on the club’s water polo team. He later won 10 consecutive Hungarian Championships from 1930-1939, adding his last one in 1944. He was a member of the victorious team at Los Angeles in 1932 and won his second gold medal at Berlin in 1936. He also won three European titles (1931, 1934 and 1938). He is considered the most dangerous center-forward of all-time, scoring 12 times in three games in 1932 and 20 goals in seven games in 1936. During his 10 year international career (1929-39), Hungary lost only one of 105 matches with Nemeth as center-forward. He coached the national team from 1942-43 and at the 1948 London Olympics. He later worked as a caretaker in a local hospital and then became the head of the Municipal Council. After the uprising in Hungary in 1956 Németh emigrated via the UK to Spain, where he adopted the name James, and again coached swimming, eventually becoming a Spanish citizen. In 1969 Németh was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1932 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) HUN János Németh
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Hungary 1 Gold
1936 Summer Olympics Water Polo (Aquatics) HUN János Németh
Water Polo, Men (Olympic) Hungary 1 Gold

Special Notes