Olympic champion Varga dies aged 84
Monday, January 9, 2023 - 06:35 By United World Wrestling Press
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (January 16) — Olympic and world champion Janos VARGA died last month in Budapest, Hungary at the age of 84.
The Hungarian wrestling legend was a two-time world champion, two-time European champion and a retired army colonel
Varga was born on October 21, 1939 in Abony, where he learned the basics of the sport and then completed his unparalleled career in the Budapest Honvéd Armed Forces.
On the mat, he was characterized by enormous self-discipline, endurance and extraordinary physique, and won a total of ten world competition medals, including five gold.
He is one of the six Hungarian wrestlers who can call himself an Olympic, World Championships and European Championship winner.
Considered among the best in both Greco-Roman and freestyle, he won his first world championship title with a broken rib in 1963, after winning silver and bronze in freestyle in 1961 and 1962 respectively.
He won silver at the 1967 World Championships at 57kg and climbed to the top of the podium at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City alongside his best friend Istvan Kozma.
His second World Championships gold medal came in 1970 as he won the 57kg weight class in Edmonton, Canada. He finished his career with bronze at the 1971 World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
After his sport career, Varga did not turn his back to the mat, working as the head coach of the Budapest Honvéd and the junior national team. In addition, he also acted as an international referee.
Varga’s death was mourned by Ministry of National Defense, the Hungarian National Guard, the Hungarian Olympic Committee, the Hungarian Wrestling Federation and his hometown, Abony, and his funeral was held with military honors.