No medals for swimming star a political issue in Hungary

After the furor over gymnast Simone Biles, the case of an athlete from Hungary is now showing how much pressure from the media and society Olympians from all over the world are under. Three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú failed to win any medals in the swimming competitions in Japan. Commentators examine her absence from the press conference after the events and note how quickly sport can morph into politics.

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Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

Remain role models even in failure

The athlete owes Hungarian society an honest explanation for her performance, says theologian Antall Kiss in the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap:

“A - former - champion should be capable of going before the cameras according to protocol. As an exhausted, fallible human being struggling for breath, she should be able to look us Hungarians bravely in the eye and say that she did the best she could and beyond but still failed to achieve victory, because it simply wasn't enough. In this weakness, strength would have been revealed. The strength of the soul.”

Népszava (HU) /

Polarisation once again

Népszava takes issue with the fact that a personal sporting achievement has immediately been appropriated by politics in Hungary:

“There is almost no public figure who has not spoken out about Katinka Hosszú. The issue suddenly became a political statement, an opportunity to support the government's position. Of course Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's Facebook post in which he gave the support for the swimmer a political dimension carried the most weight. ... Those who address the reasons for her failure now are pushed into the corner of the unpatriotic opposition.”