Overexposed: Hungarian Olympian Banned for Porn Past
Jim Provenzano | August 02, 2004
Gergo Szabo was one of Hungary's top-ranked freestyle and Greco-Roman
wrestlers in the 66kg (130 pounds) weight class. He competed most recently
in the United States at the 2003 World Wrestling Championships held at New
York City's Madison Square Garden. Szabo was defeated in a 9-5 match by U.S.
wrestler Evan MacDonald, who will compete at the Olympics in Athens.
Wrestler Gergo Szabo: pawn in a porn powerplay?|
Photo - Courtesy Pacific Sun Entertainment
Ranked fifth in the European Championship and ninth in the World
Championship, Szabo stood a chance to at least place, if not win, a medal in
Athens. That ended when Hungarian media reported on his performing in almost
a dozen gay porn videos under the name Sergio Foster.
Among the videos, the ironically titled Secrets of a Wrestler series
features Szabo and others in authentic wrestling scenes, then having sex in
a sports facility near Budapest.
Hungarian laws prohibit the sale of such videos in their own country, which
perhaps led the naive athletes to believe what producers told them – that no
one they knew would find out. But the Internet quickly made their faces –
and bodies – known to the world.
Why would an Olympic athlete appear in hardcore porn, if actors only make a
reported 700 Euros ($866 USD) per video? Mark Kleim, who broke the story in
English on his website www.gaypornblog.com, referred me to a Hungarian
insider, who translated his country's news coverage.
The tabloid Szines Mai Lap interviewed Szabo's coach, Tamas Csokas, who
said that Szabo had family financial problems that "seemed to be solved by
the offers of pornographers. That is why he said yes to their request,"
Csokas said. "Gergo is not homosexual. He just needed money, but he has
already been sorry for his mistakes."
The article reported that Szabo's team has confidence in their teammate, who
gave up gay porn to compete fulltime. "His results are really important,
because Hungarians have never had such successes in this category before,"
Csokas added. "The whole team fights for Gergo. They love him."
Despite such support, in May 2004 Gergo Szabo was forced off the team after
a decision from the Hungarian Wrestling Federation. Szabo was one of the
first athletes in porn to make Hungarian headlines, yet his isn't an
An innocuous 1995 softcore video called Wrestle featured men of the
Hungarian wrestling team grappling naked. Greenwood Cooper Studio also
produced Gymnastikos, which featured members of the Olympic gold medal
Hungarian Men's Gymnastic Team.
Those delicate beginnings may have sparked what Hungary's media calls a huge
gay porn industry that includes prostitution, the secretive compliance of
officials in Hungarian athletics, and the desperation of financially
According to a www.Blikk.hu article, Hungarian journalist Laszlo Menyhert
Meszaros' book Plastic Stars reveals "the dirty secrets of Hungarian media
moguls and superstars, leaders of TV channels, who use their positions and
their programs to hunt for young musclemen, offering them jobs, publicity,
and careers in return for sex and gay porn activities."
The Hungarian website www.nyugat.hu covered the porn/athlete connection in a
series of articles about bodybuilders who moonlight as prostitutes,
including Mr. Ukraine/Mr. Universe/Mr. World 1991, Attila Szabo.
Attila Szabo's coach and mentor is Istvan Kovacs, founder and owner of
Budapest's renowned Koko Gym. The first Hungarian gay hardcore video, Knock
Out, was shot at the Koko Gym.
Another video, Ambassadors of the Ice, was shot in December 2002 on an ice
rink and in locker rooms at Szekesfehervar's Alba Volan Ice Hockey Bowl,
home of a national championship team. The rink was rented for a week at 100
Euros ($124 USD) per hour. Management claimed they were told a TV commercial
was being shot.
The www.Blikk.hu article quotes "Ricardo," who performed in that video and
found the official's lack of knowledge "very strange, because employees of
the ice hockey bowl lurked around the performers, out of curiosity." When
Ricardo and his costars needed anything, the rink's staff were entirely at
I spoke with a representative of Pacific Sun Entertainment, the Southern
California company that distributes most of director Csaba Borbely's videos.
He asked to remain anonymous, and was unable to arrange an interview with
Szabo. But he did say that his company no longer works with Borbely, and
that porn gives the athletes quick cash.
"The economy in Hungary made it very tempting for them," he says. "Besides,
the whole labeling system of straight, gay, and bisexual is not prevalent
there. A lot of them don't have a problem with it."
The revised 2003 disciplinary code of the Hungarian Wrestling Federation
gave orders to investigate Szabo's porn past for the previous two years. Yet
supporters of the wrestler say his disqualification was not legitimate,
because he had not made any videos since 2001.
Tamas Gaspar, secretary general of the Hungarian Wrestling Federation, in a
January 2004 interview in the Hungarian Szines Mai Lap, said, "We have
never had such a scandalous affair in our sport. A public figure must keep
certain rules. It is not our business if somebody were gay. But if he did
gay porn, that is a quite another story."
Yet no sports officials accused of having financial ties to the porn
industry have been investigated.
The hypocrisy of Hungarian sports officials who allow the taping of porn
videos at sports facilities, then shun athletes who perform in them, leaves
that country with a conflict-laden erotic export – and without an
accomplished, if not misguided, athlete to represent them in Athens.
Jim Provenzano is the author of the novels PINS and Monkey Suits. Read more sports articles at www.sportscomplex.org
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