Water polo at the 1956 Summer Olympics

In the XVI. 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne took place a water polo tournament. Venue was the swimming stadium in the Olympic Park. The blood match from Melbourne between Hungary and the Soviet Union entered the water polo history as the most brutal game.



There were a total of ten teams which were divided into the first round in three sets. The top two teams from each group came into the final round, in which they competed against all teams against which they had not played in the preliminary round. The results from the preliminary round were carried into the final round. The remaining teams denied a consolation round for positions 7 to 10

Preliminary round

Group A

Group B

Group C

Final round

The game between Hungary and the Soviet Union went under the name Blood Game of Melbourne as the most brutal game in water polo history. Immediately prior to the arrival of the athletes of the Hungarian national uprising was crushed by the Soviet Army. Some of the Hungarian athletes did not want to return to Hungary. Before the game, the Hungarians were one point ahead of Yugoslavia and two points ahead of the Soviet Union. A victory would have left open the Soviet team a good chance of Olympic victory, a victory for Hungary meant a secure silver medal and a real final against the team of Yugoslavia.

The game was so bloody that the pelvis red marks were visible. With the score at 4-0 for the Hungarians, the game was stopped one minute before the end, after exile Hungary in the audience vigorously protested against the action of Prokopow Valentin, who had the Hungary Ervin Zádor inflicted a gash on his face. In the last game the Hungarians defeated the team of Yugoslavia 2-1.

Place 1-6

Place 7-10


The Hungarian team coach Béla Rajki went to the Olympics in the United States. Dezso Gyarmati, István Hevesi, Bolvári Antal, László Jeney, Ervin Zádor and Mihály Mayer did not return with the rest of the team returned to Hungary. Except for Ervin Zádor but no player remained permanently in the United States.

The German team was represented by players of the Federal Republic and consisted of Hans -Werner Seher, Karl Neuse, Erich Pennekamp, Alfred Obschernikat, Wilhelm Sturm, Hans -Günther Hilker, Hans -Joachim Schneider, Friedrich Osselmann, Wilfried Bode, Emil Bildstein. The line-up of the German Swimming Association had prevailed in April and May in an all-German excretion in six games in qualifying Kika Transportation Alversdorf and East Berlin against the selection of the GDR.


  • Volker Kluge: Olympic Summer Games - The Chronicle. Volume II, Sports Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-328-00741-5, pp. 410-411.

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  • Competition at the Summer Olympics in 1956
  • Water polo at the Summer Olympics