The Oddity That Was Hungary


Forum devoted to track & field items of an historical nature.

The Oddity That Was Hungary

Postby dj » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:06 am

Hungary has a unique position in the world of track. It's the only country in the world that was not under British rule at one time and yet conducted its early national championships at English distances, not metric.

The Hungarian national championships began in 1896, but it wasn't until 1915 that Hungary switched to the metric system for track races. (I don't know how field events were measured from 1896-1914.)

So here's the big question for which I've yet to find a definitive answer: Why? Why was non-Brit Hungary using yards and miles?

I figured this might be due to hereditary ties to the Court of St. James dating back to Queen Victoria. But the Austro-Hungarian Empire appears to have had no such ties. On the other hand, Victoria did have or produce 19th century hereditary ties to Denmark, Greece, and several principalities of Germany. But none of those countries ever ran English distances at their national championships.

So why Hungary???
dj
 
Posts: 6199
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:31 am

Re: The Oddity That Was Hungary

Postby Marlow » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:37 am

dj wrote:Hungary has a unique position in the world of track. It's the only country in the world that was not at one time under British rule.

Say what?! I'm feeling there's a trick here somewhere, but how can you say that? China? Brazil? Dozens of others?
Marlow
 
Posts: 21080
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:00 pm
Location: Somewhere over the . . . hill

Re: The Oddity That Was Hungary

Postby dj » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:32 am

Marlow wrote:
dj wrote:Hungary has a unique position in the world of track. It's the only country in the world that was not at one time under British rule.

Say what?! I'm feeling there's a trick here somewhere, but how can you say that? China? Brazil? Dozens of others?


Damn. Cleaned up one part of a sentence and destroyed the rest. Original now fixed!
dj
 
Posts: 6199
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:31 am

Re: The Oddity That Was Hungary

Postby lonewolf » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:41 am

"only country in the world that was not at one time under British rule ." :shock: ???????Something missing from that sentence. :?
lonewolf
 
Posts: 8814
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:32 am
Location: Indian Territory

Re: The Oddity That Was Hungary

Postby dj » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:45 am

lonewolf wrote:"only country in the world that was not at one time under British rule ." :shock: ???????Something missing from that sentence. :?


Fixed, read the first item now.
dj
 
Posts: 6199
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:31 am

Re: The Oddity That Was Hungary

Postby kuha » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:55 pm

Somewhere on my shelf, I know I have a rare book on the history of Hungarian athletics, purchased in Budapest, in Hungarian. If I can actually put my hands on it and decipher anything, I will give a full report. :?:
kuha
 
Posts: 9016
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:32 am
Location: 3rd row, on the finish line

Re: The Oddity That Was Hungary

Postby lonewolf » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:47 pm

Sorry. :oops: Scanning too fast. Makes sense now...and is a genuine wonderment.
lonewolf
 
Posts: 8814
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:32 am
Location: Indian Territory

Re: The Oddity That Was Hungary

Postby rhymans » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:39 pm

I think the answer simply dwells within the realms of sport. The Hungarian sports authorities saw that the sport had developed more in Britain at that time than anyweher else (at least in Europe) and considered the championship distances used for the AAA championships the most attractive to use. They didn't race at distances beyond 1 mile in Hungarian championship until 1915 (the curious exception being the 15,000m which commenced in 1912). Here I'm just guessing, but it may be that they used some English blueprints for track measurement.
rhymans
 
Posts: 670
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:32 am


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests