Elemér Somfay

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Non-starter
Full nameElemér•Somfay (Stromfeld-)
Used nameElemér•Somfay
Born28 August 1898 in Budapest (HUN)
Died15 May 1979 in Budapest (HUN)
Measurements178 cm / 72 kg
AffiliationsMagyar Atlétikai Klub/Ludovika Akadémia Sportegyesület
NOC Hungary
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1


Elemér Somfay graduated with honors from the Maria Theresa Military Academy in Wien (Vienna), and fought in Italy during World War I. Recovering from a serious war injury, he began competing as an athlete in his late 20s with MAC Budapest. In 1924 Somfay finished second in pentathlon at the Paris Olympics. All his life Somfay believed that he had won the pentathlon in 1924. This was due to the fact that he believed he ran the 200 m in 22.8 seconds, which would have been enough to win. He protested with a written confirmation from one of the timekeepers, but the president of the Hungarian NOC was not interested in investigating the matter, and the protest was denied. According to his last will “Elemér Somfay Olympic Champion” was carved on his tomb.

From 1922 to 1930, Somfay won 19 Hungarian champion titles. In 1928 he sustained a serious injury to his Achilles’ tendon, but a year later he was back on track. In 1932, he competed in modern pentathlon at the Los Angeles Olympics.

Between 1941 and 1944, Somfay was the commander of the Toldi Miklós Honvéd Central Physical Education Institute, honorary chairman of the Modern Pentathlon Association, and head coach of the Hungarian athletics team. Since 1979, the 400 m hurdles at the national championship has been organized as a memorial race for Elemér Somfay.

Personal Best: Dec – 6247 (1923), TJ - 14.05 (1924)


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1924 Summer Olympics Athletics HUN Elemér Somfay
400 metres Hurdles, Men (Olympic) DNS
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Hungary DNS
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Hungary DNS
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) DNS
Triple Jump, Men (Olympic) DNS
Pentathlon, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Decathlon, Men (Olympic) DNF
1928 Summer Olympics Athletics HUN Elemér Somfay
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) DNS
Triple Jump, Men (Olympic) DNS
Decathlon, Men (Olympic) DNS
1932 Summer Olympics Modern Pentathlon HUN Elemér Somfay
Individual, Men (Olympic) 7