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Puszta Olympics – Sports, Hungarian Style

May 2006

When you think of Hungary, \"Puszta\" is one the first expressions that comes to mind. The Puszta, actually the Great Hungarian Plain, with its unique climate, fauna and vegetation, and traditional heritage has always been a major attraction for visitors.

The word „Olympics” may sound a lot more remote in connection with Hungary, but in fact Hungarian sportsmen have always been among the most successful  in the history of Olympic Games. Great ancestors like Laszlo Papp, Ferenc Puskas, Krisztina Egerszegi and many others have won 452 medals (157 gold) since 1896, ensuring Hungary a place among the 10 most successful countries of all time.

But what happens when we combine these two expressions: Puszta and Olympics. It promises a lot of fun in a beautiful landscape, a great opportunity to enhance team spirit, some healthy exercise, a spectacular show of brave men and their horses, and to top off the day, a culinary experience you will never forget.

Your day starts either by driving to the Puszta in a Trabant (east-German car from the 70ies with a wooden chassis) on your own, or by riding there in a nostalgic steam train. That may sound nice and easy, but the tough part begins after arriving in the Puszta. Participants are divided into groups that will rotate among the different stations with the help of GPS. And the fun begins.

Everyone gets an opportunity to prove himself in activities that native Hungarians call real sports, like Puszta darts, javelin-throwing at bales of hay using a pitchfork, riding the barrel, driving a horse carriage, knocking down a bottle with a whip, horse shoe throwing, barrow shove, sack races, rescuing a partner on a stretcher, \"crossing the marsh\", donkey riding, springing into a saddle, and find the needle in the straw.

Those who like it a bit more comfortable can take lessons in driving a horse-carriage from world champions, join a falconer- or jousting-show, or enjoy the performance of a csikós (horseman) riding 5 horses at the same time.

And as evening comes, campfires are lit, the ox roasting begins, and we all sit together in the csarda with a glass of palinka (hot Hungarian brandy) thinking of the day that will be long remembered, the day we came to know what sports really means to Hungarians.

For more information and/or to integrate this activity into a program, please contact Mr. László Pásztor at

Puszta Olympics