Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Melbourne, 1956: Barely a month after the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to squelch an uprising against the country's puppet Communist regime, the two nations staged what remains among the most famous water polo games ever played. The action was as intense as the atmosphere, with bitter feelings turning a rough sport violent. With his team up 4-0 late in the game, Hungarian star Ervin Zador (pictured) was sucker-punched by Soviet captain Valentin Prokopov and had to be helped out of the pool. As blood streamed from Zador's eye and disorder prevailed, referees stopped the match and awarded the win to Hungary. After going on to claim gold, half the Hungarian team defected.