One of the best world water polo players of all time, Tibor Benedek passed away at the age of 48, the Hungarian Water Polo Federation announced.
“At dawn, Tibor Benedek, the three-time Olympic, world and European champion in water polo, closed his eyes forever. Leaving an irreplaceable space behind for his family, his teammates, the entire water polo society, and the fans.
We appreciate your condolences on public surfaces. At the request of his family, we ask both the public and members of the press to respect the rules of the game during this difficult period.”, the Federation announced.
Tibor Benedek was born on July 12, 1972.
He played water polo in Ujpest, Racing Roma, Pro Recco, Honved, and in Sliema (in the summer Maltese league).
In addition to elite sports, he also paid special attention to learning: in 1991, he graduated as a coach from the College of Physical Education, and from 1993, Tibor Benedek was a history student at the Pazmany Peter Catholic University, where he received his degree in 2006.
Tibor Benedek was Hungary’s captain for years. He is one of several players in water polo history who won three Olympic gold medals (2000, 2004, 2008).
He debuted for the national team in 1990. Besides three Olympic golds, he won 18 medals playing for the national team of Hungary.
World Championships: gold in 2003, silver in 1998 and 2007, bronze in 1991.
European Championships: gold in 1997, silver in 1993, 1995, bronze in 2001, 2003, 2008.
World League: gold in 2003 and 2004, silver in 2007, bronze in 2002.
FINA World Cup: gold in 1995, silver in 1993 and 2002, bronze in 1997.
He was named the Hungarian Water Polo Player of the Year in 1992, 1993, 1994, and 2002.
At a club level, Benedek won five titles in the Champions League (with Ujpest in 1994, and with Pro Recco in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012), LEN Cup Winners’ Cup (1993 with Ujpest), five LEN Super Cups (1994 – with Ujpest, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 – with Pro Recco), six titles of the national champion of Hungary (four in Ujpest, two in Honved), seven titles in the Italian Serie A1 (one with Roma, six with Pro Recco)…
He retired from the national team in 2008, while he stopped playing water polo in 2012. Benedek finished the career as Pro Recco’s player.
From 2013 to 2016, Benedek was the head coach of Hungary (in the period 2010-2012, he was an assistant coach in Hungary’s staff led by Denes Kemeny).
Benedek’s most significant success in the coaching job was the gold medal at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona. That was Hungary’s first gold at the Worlds after ten years. He guided Hungary as a coach to two silver medals in the World League (2013, 2014), silver at the European Championships (2014), bronze at the European Championships (2016), and silver at the 2014 FINA World Cup.
In 2015, he became a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. in 2016, his palm print was placed on the Wall of Hungarian Sports Stars, one of the ten three-time Olympic champions in water polo.
From 2017, he worked as the professional director of UVSE and as the head coach from the 2018/19 season. Early in May, Tibor Benedek announced that he had retired from all professional water polo activities.
In 2000, he was voted in the Hungarian water polo team of the century. He was elected the best Hungarian federal captain of the year once (2013). He also received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (2000), the Middle Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (2004) and the Middle Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary with the star (2008). In 2008 he became an honorary citizen of Budapest.