1928, 1932, 1936
One of the most successful wrestlers in Olympic history, Karpati competed in both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling and won two medals while representing Hungary at three Olympiads. At the 1928 Amsterdam Games, Karpati competed in the featherweight class of the Greco-Roman discipline. He easily advanced to the fourth round, winning his first three matches (2 on pins and 1 by decision) over an Egyptian, an Austrian, and a Czechoslovakian. In the fourth round, Karpati suffered his only loss of the tournament in a decision against eventual gold medalist, Voldemar Vali of Estonia. Despite winning a decision in his quarterfinal match with Giacomo Quaglia of Italy, Karpati was eliminated from the tournament due to an accumulation of bad marks. Quaglia advanced to the semifinals and won the bronze medal while Karpati officially finished in fourth place.
Four years later at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, Karpati moved up in weight to the lightweight division, and changed styles to participate in the freestyle competition. He won his first two matches by pinning his Japanese opponent in the first round and winning a decision over Osvald Kapp of Estonia, the 1928 gold medalist. In the third round, Karpati was pinned by American Melvin Clodfelter, but the judges ordered a rematch. Despite losing a decision to Clodfelter, Karpati advanced to the final because Clodfelter was eliminated due to the accumulation of 5 bad marks during the tournament. In the final, Karpati lost a decision to Charles Pacome of France but won the silver medal.
At the 1936 Berlin Games, Karpati finally reached the peak of his Olympic career and won the gold medal in the lightweight freestyle class, defeating the German titleholder Wolfgang Ehrl. In 1982, Karpati was presented with the bronze medal of the Olympic Order for his lifelong work in sports education.
Karpati was one of the world's best wrestlers in the 1920s and 1930s, winning 10 Hungarian national championships, and the European lightweight championship in 1927, 1929, 1930, and 1935. After retiring from international competition, he became a Hungarian wrestling coach, including coaching Olympic teams. Karpati is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 2, 1906 - d. 1996
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Olympic Games: Athens 1896-Sydney 2000, (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1999)