martes, 25 de noviembre de 2008
Tiempos de Gloria. Oscar Charles (Oszkar Csuvik), 1925-2008. el primero en cruzar el telón de acero.
Os explico a groso modo.
Nacido como Oszkar Csuvik en Budapest hijo de un carpintero. En 1937 el y su hermana Ilona huyeron de Hungría, pero volvieron en 1939 para luchar contra los nazis. En 1938 su padre había sido atropellado por un camión nazi. Se escondieron en un piso de la resistencia de un judío amigo.
Cuando los nazis empezaron a tirar gente al Danubio, Oszkar empezó a salvar y revivir gente o en el peor de los casos recuperar el cuerpo para las familias.
Por su condición de deportista, se podía mover con mas libertad entre los nazis y proporcionaba documentos y alimentos.
Después de la guerra comenzó derecho en la universidad y fue parte del equipo húngaroque ganó los campeonatos de Europa 1946. En la Juegos Olímpicos de Londres, el equipo quedó en segundo lugar por detrás de Italia.
En esa olimpiada desertó y en 1950 se dirigió a Australia para formar un equipo para dar competencia al Sidney. En un primer momento utilizo el nombre de Oscar Fleming pero cuando empezaron a buscarlo se lo cambió al final por Oscar Charles, que adoptó definitivamente en 1964.
Fue el entrenador de Australia en Juegos Olímpicos de 1952 en Helsinki. Hungría ganó ese año, dando medallas de oro a cuatro de sus compañeros del equipo de 1948. A continuación entrenó en Sydney y sus conocimientos fueron fundamentales para el juego en Australia.
Después de casarse con Pamela Tinslay, una veterinaria, en 1956, Charles fue contratado como comentarista de radio para los Juegos Olímpicos de Melbourne. Las fuerzas soviéticas acaban aplastando la revolución húngara y Charles se encontraba en la piscina cuando huvo los enfrentamientos entre la Unión Soviética y el equipo húngaro. Poco le faltó para tirarse a la piscina.
Años después colaboró con el Comité Olimpico australiano. En 1988 se sacó la licencia de traductor y trabajo como asesor de empresas.
A pocos dias de su muerte todavía pensaba en las costillas de cerdo, su comida favorita...
Esta es la historia de otra Leyenda.
Strong arm … Oscar Charles's defection from Hungary was Australia's gain.
ONE day in 1948 Oscar Charles did not go home. He was a water polo silver medallist at the London Olympic Games and the home he didn't go back to was Hungary. Charles had defected from behind the Iron Curtain; he was one of the first Olympic athletes to do so.
Charles is still regarded by experts as possibly the world's best water polo player. He was often likened to a grey nurse shark for the way he could move effortlessly around a pool at great speed. His long legs provided drive under water, leaving his torso and arms free for strength in attack and defence.
After two years in England he migrated to Australia. His arrival in Sydney was immediately welcomed by the Australian Swimming Union and the water polo fraternity. He played in, then coached, local teams.
Charles, who has died at 83, was born Oszkar Csuvik in Budapest, second of the two children of Ferenc Csuvik and his wife, Emelia Kohazi. Ferenc was a carpenter who owned a small parquetry factory and Emelia came from a well-off farming family.
Oscar was a slight and weedy child and his older sister, Ilona, decided he had to be built up. She taught him to swim and enrolled him in athletics classes run by a strapping young blonde woman. Young Oscar was always first to volunteer for any activity there, although he confessed in later life that it was because at the front of the line he could bury his head in her splendid bosom.
Ilona married Alex Tarics, a water polo champion who, at this year's Olympic Games in Beijing, was awarded a medal as the oldest surviving gold medallist. Tarics taught Oscar water polo before winning a scholarship to study in America. He and Ilona left Hungary in 1937 but returned in 1939 to fight the Nazis.
In 1938 Ferenc had been killed, run over on the street by a Nazi truck. Emelia and the children, who were Catholics, helped the Resistance and hid a Jewish family friend in their flat throughout World War II. When the Nazis threw, or shot, people into the Danube, Oscar, by now a strong swimmer, would collect as many as he could, either to resuscitate or at least get the bodies home. Because of his water polo games, he could move around Budapest more easily than most people, and he smuggled forged documents.
After the war he started law at university and was in the Hungarian water polo team that won the 1946 European championships. At the London Olympics the team was beaten into second place by Italy in a disputed final.
Once he had defected, Charles was offered the chance to finish his law degree at Cambridge but had already decided to go to Australia, where he had contacts. Arriving in 1950, he and other Hungarians formed a team to play in the Sydney competition. At first he used the name Oscar Fleming in case Hungarian authorities tried to trace him, then started using Oscar Charles, which he officially adopted in 1964.
He was the coach for Australia's water polo team at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. Hungary won that year, giving gold medals to four of Charles's 1948 teammates. He then coached in Sydney and the skills he taught remain central to the game in Australia.
After marrying Pamela Tinslay, a veterinary surgeon, in 1956, Charles was hired as a radio commentator for the Melbourne Olympics. Soviet forces had just crushed the Hungarian revolution and Charles was at the pool when fighting broke out between the Soviet and Hungarian water polo teams. He was only just restrained from jumping into the pool.
In 1957 he managed to bring his mother from Hungary. Unfortunately, Pam and Emelia did not get on; this contributed to the breakdown of the marriage, although the couple remained good friends. Pam returned to work after their first baby and supported the family while Oscar took an accountancy degree.
He was the manager of the 1968 Australian water polo team but the International Olympic Committee disallowed the team for not being high enough in world rankings to compete in Mexico City.
Charles was an accountant until he had a stoke in the 1980s. In 1988 he gained a translator's certificate and also worked for some years as a consultant for failing businesses.
He had many health problems in later years, but his survival powers astonished his doctors. Even on the day before he died, he was enthusiastic about being offered a piece of pork crackling, his favourite food.
Oscar Charles is survived by Pam; their daughters, Sally and Tabitha; their granddaughter, Chyna, a promising water polo player; and Ilona Olgyay and her family.
Sosiego y Calma