The Association of Hungarian Sports Journalists (MSSZSZ) has named Kristof Milak and Katinka Hosszu as their 2019 Hungarian Athletes of the Year. The 2019 awards are the 62nd edition and saw 399 votes cast for the best in multiple categories.
For Hosszu, this is a 7th award, which ties another great Hungarian swimmer Krisztina Egerszegi for the most such awards. Even after a 2018 that saw turmoil for Hosszu both personally and professionally, 2019 was another banner season for the 30-year old. She swept long course World Championships in the 200 IM and 400 IM for the 4th-straight meet, which included becoming the first woman to claim 4-straight world titles in an event (the 200 IM) and the first woman to claim 5 overall world titles in an event (the 400 IM. She also won her 300th overall gold medal at the FINA Swimming World Cup, easily the most in history, and was named the MVP at 1 of the 3 International Swimming League meets in which she participated.
Hosszu accepted her award via a recorded message as she is in China this week competing at the FINA Champions Series, where through 1 meet she is the leading money-earner.
As for the 19-year old Milak, his award for Male Athlete of the Year was presented by American Mark Spitz, whose father’s family is from Hungary. As compared to Hosszu, who has been dominant in Hungary for a decade, Milak had a breakout season in 2019. He won his first World Championship gold medal, topping the 200 fly in a new World Record time of 1:50.73. That broke the old World Record held by Michael Phelps – the most decorated swimmer in history.
It was a big night for aquatics: Zsolt Varga, the coach of the Ferencvaros men’s water polo team, was named Coach of the Year after leading his team to a clean sweep of all possible trophies, including the European Champions League title. His Ferencvaros squad was named Team of the Year.
Other Award Winners
- Tennis mixed doubles pair Timea Babos and France’s Kristina Mladenovic were named the individual sport, team competition, athletes of the year.
- Peter Gulacsi, goalkeeper of the Hungarian National Team, was named the men’s soccer player of the year.
- Zsanett Jakabfi was named the women’s soccer player of the year
- Daniel Zsori won the award for the most beautiful goal in soccer.
- Former Hungarian soccer captain Gyorgy Mezey received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hungarian Football Association.
- Hungarian Olympic Committee and MSSZSZ gave a lifetime achievement award to 9-time world champion canoeist Tamas Wichmann.
- Coach of the Year for Athletes with Disabilities was given to swim coach Almos Szabo, while men’s special Olympic basketball team Pal Kiss Pal and Paralympic long jumper Luca Ekler were named the Disability Team and Athlete with a Disability of the Year.