The IAAF is deeply saddened to hear that Hungary’s 1956 Olympic steeplechase silver medallist Sandor Rozsnyoi died on Tuesday (2) at the age of 84, less than a week after the 60th anniversary of his first world record.
Born in Zalaegerszeg in 1930, Rozsnyoi’s early years were spent playing basketball in school. His talent for running was discovered by renowned coach Simek Ferenc and Rozsnyoi began competing in the 800m before moving to the steeplechase.
He later joined Mihaly Igoi’s group of “Magnificent Magyars”, training alongside the likes of Sandor Iharos, Istvan Rozsavolgyi and Laszlo Tabori, all former world record-holders at 1500m and other distances.
Rozsnyoi won the Hungarian title in 1954, qualifying for that year’s European Championships, where he won gold with a world record of 8:49.6.
Two years later, and with his world record having been broken by several other athletes, Rozsnyoi regained the world record with a time of 8:35.6, just two months before the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. The record stood for two years.
He went on to take the Olympic silver medal in Melbourne behind Chris Brasher of Great Britain. Brasher was momentarily disqualified for an obstruction but was later reinstated. Rozsnyoi, who always stated that he has not been obstructed by Brasher, was given the International Fair Play Award in 1961.
After the Melbourne Games, Rozsnyoi remained in Australia as his home country had been invaded by the Soviet Union. He became a physical education teacher and athletics coach in New South Wales. In 1960 he worked for the Australian Olympic Committee.