Brackets On The Way To Brazil: The Kristóf Kállay Story

Photo courtesy National Archives Of Poland

The son of Miklós and Borbala-Roza (Dudosich) Kállay, Kristóf Ervin Kállay was born November 9, 1920 in Budapest, Hungary. His father was a highly respected and prolific journalist, novelist and playwright who served as co-editor of the Nemzeti Szalon. Through the noble blood of the Kállay family of Nagykálló, he was also related to Hungarian Prime Minister Dr. Miklós Kállay.

Kristóf's father Miklós Kállay

Kristóf started skating at the Városligeti Műjégpályá while he was a young student at the Benedictine Grammar School. At the age of eleven, he entered the junior men's event at the Hungarian Championships and placed second to István Hostyánszky. Three years later, when the World Championships came to Budapest he placed third in an international junior men's event held in conjunction with the competition. Many observers believed that he not have taken a fall in his free skating performance, he would have won.

As a teenager, Kristóf spent time training in London, England and routinely upstaged Hungary's top two senior men - Dénes Pataky and Elemér Terták - in domestic competitions. What precision he lacked in the school figures he more than made up for in free skating. His one-foot Axels and series of three jumps in a row were truly crowd pleasers.

Piroska and Attila Szekrényessy and Kristóf Kállay

In 1939, he made his first - and last - appearance in the senior men's event at the World Championships. Though he placed seventh of the eleven men entered, one judge had him as high as third in free skating. In 1940, Kristof won his first of three Hungarian senior men's titles at the age of nineteen. Hampered by illness, he placed dead last in an international competition between skaters from Germany, Austria and Hungary in January of 1941. However, he continued to practice and perform regularly in Budapest during the first few years of the War and was a skater who could have easily found himself in contention for a medal at the European and World Championships, had the War not have necessitated the cancellation of ISU Championships.

Kristóf graduated with a university degree in science in Budapest in 1942 and hung up his skates a year later. He served as an Officer in Foreign Affairs from 1942 to 1946, and after the War emigrated to Stockholm where he took up a position as a diplomat at the Hungarian Embassy. He later settled in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he coupled diplomatic work with journalism. He married twice - to Adelaide Bebiano Vaccani and Tererina Ferreira dos Santos - and for several decades, he served as a Foreign Affairs correspondent for the "Jornal do Brasil". He also penned articles about history and politics for Hungarian journals. In the seventies, several of his works were translated and published in "Los Angeles New World". He passed away at the age of sixty nine on January 22, 1990 in
Teresópolis, Brazil, his wartime contributions to figure skating in Hungary all but forgotten.

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