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World Games,
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Swimming on an Island
Story and audio by Robert Garypie
Photography by Robert Garypie and Peter Ottlakan

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The sign reads "Margitszigeti Nemzeti Sportuszoda."

It means swimming pool but if you didn't know that, you might think the nondescript building in the trees on Margaret Island in Budapest was just about anything else. Once inside, ice cream, sporting goods and doughnut vendors dot the sides of the enormous entrance hall. Big signs on the left and right side of the room read Ferfi and Noi. Again, to tourists like me, it might mean anything if I didn't know that it was the men's and women's entrances to the facility. Once through the arched entrance (on the Ferfi side of course) a turnstyle is guarded by a tired woman in a simple white dress. She collects admission charges and then a series of shower, sauna and locker areas through a maze of poorly lit cavernous rooms eventually leads to the swimming pools.


Several indoor pools are filled with kids constantly screaming to nodding adults in unintelligable Hungarian. Probably something like "watch me, Mom!" The exit to the outdoors reveals sunlight and cheers in dozens of languages. I've done it. I found the XII World Transplant Games swimming venue.

Colleen Horan of Team USA is gently nudging to Gary Green of NKF, WTGF and TransWeb fame to look at a member of her team doing something. So it goes. The managers are concerned with the athletes, the photographers are concerned with the shots, and the athletes are concerned with the water, the times and the speed of the recipients in adjoining lanes.


The 50 meter olympic pool is surrounded by spectator stands and other buildings. More outdoor pools are visible and in use in several direction. Twelve-year-old Hungarians are being taught platform diving by young adults in the pool adjacent to the Games pool. One highlight of the day was Ray Velasco's performance in the 100 freestyle. Ray, a Team USA member from California, had a terrific day. Having set the World Games 100 free record at 1:05.04 in Sydney, he broke it with a 1:04.45 in the preliminary 100 free today. Then in the final, he broke his own record again with a performance of 1:04.0. Ray also holds the transplant games world record in the 50 meter butterfly. Velasco took two golds today and a silver in the medley relay.

Swimming is one of the biggest events in these games and it will continue tomorrow. See you there.

Left to right: Rachel Givoni, (Momo's mother), Helena Rostedt (Momo's girlfriend), Dalia Bornshtein (Momo's aunt), and Nir Levintin (whom Momo is coaching).

free player

Interview with Moshe "Momo" Givoni
of Team Israel


Sakk matt! (Checkmate)
Story by Douglas Armstrong
Photography by Eleanor Jones
and Douglas Armstrong
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The chess competition was held in a third floor conference room in the hotel Rubin on the Buda side of the Danube. The room was set with ten tables each containing a chessboard and time clock. The USSR clocks kept track of the time each player spent executing the movement of their own pieces.
Each player has 16 pieces in white or black. The object of the game is capture the opponent's king. When the king is threatened a warning is issued by saying "Check" and when the king is captured the game is over and the final statement of "Checkmate" (English) is issued. The international crowd was represented by players from Great Britain, Australia, Hungary, France, Argentina, Uraguay, Italy and they end their chess games by saying jaque mate (Spanish, pronouced "hock-ay-mah-tay"), sakk matt (Hungarian, pronouced "shock mott"), echec et matt (French, pronounced "eysheck ay mott"), schach matt (German, pronouced "shock mott") and scacco matto (Italian, pronounced "skocko mahto").

In contrast to most of the competitions held here in Budapest the mood was somber. The crowd silently watched as the simultaneous chess games unfolded. The only sounds that broke the silence were the ticking of the time clocks, the snap of the buttons on the top of the clocks as each player completed a move and the ever-feared "check" and "checkmate."
The focused intensity and quiet concentration was quite evident when scanning the facial expressions of competitors in the room. The tournament was set up into seven rounds. Each contestant played seven rounds and the overall combined score determined the final placement.

Preparing for the chess competition may not have required intense physical workouts or fast mobility but was not for the faint of heart. Each player struggled to simultaneously protect their own king, mount an offensive attack on the opponent's king and complete all moves of the game within the allotted 20 minutes. Regardless of the progress on the board the game was ended early when the play clock reached twenty minutes. The intense mental workout was a stimulating tribute to vibrant and successful recovery after transplantation.

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Last modified: 11 May 2000