Written by Edgar Swan, 21-11-2016
Translated by SEA
Edited by SZRE
Katinka Hosszú is a tough gal. Not just the sporty way or the way a leading athlete is tough: she is tough as only a dedicated, brave person can be, who is ready to stand by her principles. Dangerously brave. She is the kind of person who cannot be intimidated and cannot be blackmailed. Because there is nothing to cow her or to blackmail her with. She is not afraid, because she has no one and nothing to be afraid of. Dangerous, because she is independent.
Fortunately, she is not alone. The otherwise customary Hungarian plague of dissension seems to affect the swimmers less than other parts of our society. Not all of them, of course, but many stand by Katinka. And not because Katinka would like to achieve something for herself; more money or better conditions – she is not in need of those – but because she is fighting for the swimming sport as a whole. She is braving the attacks and all the unpleasantness without gaining anything from it but damage. The abuse has already started, because this is the way of power. Not just the government but any self-appointed chief uses these tactics if someone dare go against their interests.
The same thing happened with the Paralympians, the rapist coach, but also when Household Expenses Champion aka Szilárd Németh wanted to become chairman of the Hungarian Wrestling Federation. It is happening in the case of Flórián Farkas or in the diverse cases of Antal Rogán. They kept attacking Mária Sándor, the dissenting teachers, András Horváth and still keep attacking Péter Juhász or the Two-Tailed Dog Party. These attacks will only intensify as this is their only tool.
They are incapable of logical argument, they have never had any moral fibre and they are not able to discuss or compromise. This is true in the case of the Hungarian Swimming Association, just as it is true in the case of the government. What happens in the Swimming Association mirrors exactly what happens in our country. Gyárfás is a puffed up nobody who punishes, rewards, threatens and bribes people as he pleases. Always according to his interests. He does not serve the swimmers, he uses them. And he does this under the full (and false) impression of his immunity, unchangeability and unaccountability. He does not understand how these nobodies, these slaves can turn against him. That they dare have the cheek. The courage.
It first started with the lying and the insinuations that he (Gyárfás) had done everything to make Katinka happy, had fought for everything, had given her everything (repeatedly stressing how she had been given more, better and more expensive things than the others), and still she is ungrateful. In principle, this kind of talk should bring about results. Fuelled by their jealousy and pitiful envy all the other swimmers should have lined up behind Gyárfás inadvertently strengthening his position. However, nothing like this happened or if it did, it went by unnoticed.
Then the strategy changed and we found out what a selfish pig Katinka was, how insatiable she was; how she wanted a position for her husband. I will not be surprised if in the next bout Katinka turns out not to be a woman at all but a man, or if not a man then at least a dyke. This will be a job for the fluffer media and they will gladly oblige. Anything that pays.
In the meantime, a character called Ferenc Salamon turned up. He is a member of the masters’ committee of FINA (International Swimming Federation) and he squawked like a true mercenary. Enough of fighting, peace and love, because swimming is what matters, World Aquatics Championships, country, nation and world peace.
And we mustn’t forget such choice morsels like András Hargitay trying to confute Olympic champion Dani Gyurta not just once but at least twice, lest it goes unnoticed among all the havoc.
The current state of the matter is that a unity of some consequence seems to be emerging. Not to protect the position of Gyárfás, but to depose him – and his associates -, to renew sport of swimming, to change the whole system. The setup in itself will not change. Neither Gyárfás nor Hargitay will jump into the pool and swim. They still need the swimmers to do that. They are not replaceable or disposable. If they cannot be set by the ears, they will not be at each other’s throats therefore the leaders, be it Gyárfás or any other substitute, are powerless.
What happens in swimming (and I am not as naïve, as to suppose that other competitive sports are different) is the exact same thing that happens in our country. Autocratic leadership, citizens in vulnerable situations, ‘carrot and stick’ policy, dictatorship, bullying, blackmailing, discrediting – all at the expense of the sport and for the interests of the leader alone. Exactly the same.
However, while the citizens of our country are not able to unite and while the bitching-blackmail-bullying-and giving a sop strategy works with them, the swimmers seem to know better than that. They are stronger, wiser and have more solidarity than we others do. If despite trying every means power has no success, the swimmers will reach their goal. Because it will become clear that the leaders are for them and not the other way round.
This is dangerous, because it can create a precedent. The athletes of other sports can buck up but more importantly, the simple-minded people of our country may realise that change can be reached by unity. So, even if it is rumoured that Orbán wants to dispose of Gyárfás and probably there is a castoff minister, Under-Secretary, relative-friend-lover of someone already vying for the position, the two dictators have to work together. Because good sense cannot prevail and they cannot let the swimmers have their way. It cannot become apparent that the king has no clothes. Because none of the kings have clothes.
There is one last thing I can add to this: GO, KATINKA, GO!