Twelve Questions with Bendegúz Pétervári-Molnár

Athlete Interview

2 minute read
Words Tom Ransley
Photography Steve McArthur
Published 25.05.22

Two-time Olympian Bendegúz Pétervári-Molnár, 29, is embarking on his third Olympiad. The Hungarian single sculler raced at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and finished in fourteenth and tenth-place respectively. Bendegùz’s uncle is Pál Pétervári, a Hungarian world champion sprint canoeist, and he is coached by his father, Zoltán Molnár, who raced for Hungary in the quadruple scull at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

Photo Bendegúz Pétervári-Molnár competing in the men’s single sculls at Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.
Credit Steve McArthur
Are you looking forward to racing in Belgrade at the 2022 World Rowing Cup 1?

I am looking forward to it! I love racing, and I am eager to kick off the season with the first international regatta. My aim is to be in the A-final.

What are your goals for the Paris 2024 Olympiad? 

I want to be a regular A-finalist and make it on to the podium as well.

How was Tokyo 2020?

It was a great experience. I anticipated a “jail-like” atmosphere due to the Covid restrictions, so it came as a nice surprise that it still had the atmosphere of an Olympic Games. The course was pretty good too, although I did miss the spectators, especially when I saw the huge (mostly empty) stands. 

Is it hard to train after an Olympics?

I took a long break after the Olympics, almost 4 months, which included getting married, going on vacation and spending time with my friends. Since then I’ve trained hard. I also had illnesses and injuries, and I am in my last semester at university so I had to give some time to writing my thesis. I feel good now, and I am almost finished with my university commitments, so training can be my sole focus.

There is a strong sporting pedigree within your family, correct?

Yes, doing water sports runs in the family. Both of my parents are rowers, my father participated in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and my mother was successful in the junior age group. My uncle is a multiple world champion canoeist and he also raced together with my other uncle. So, you can imagine the competitiveness on our family bike rides!

What’s it like to be coached by your father?

I like it. We know each other really well, and we work together as an efficient team. I played ice hockey for 10 years and, parallel to that, I also swam for about 12 years so I had other coaches too, but in my opinion this current setup works the best for me. Sometimes the rowing talk at home gets too much, my father is very enthusiastic about rowing, and I have to stop him from speaking about it all of the time! 

With a world champion uncle, and an Olympian father, is there added pressure on you?

I don’t think there is any pressure on me. I want to have my own sporting journey and with my own goals and achievements, so I don’t think about my family’s sporting results. It is useful that I can ask them for any help with sports because they are both successful coaches who also have experiences as athletes as well.

Why rowing?

I basically grew up in a motorboat watching rowing. My parents did not want me to choose rowing, that is why I swam and played ice hockey when I was younger. However, in the end I wanted to try rowing because of the atmosphere in the boathouse and at the competitions.

If not a rower, what sport would you play?

Cross-country skiing, biathlon, cycling or sport climbing. These are my favourite sports outside of rowing.

What do you do when not rowing?

I like hanging out with my wife, and playing board games with our friends. I also enjoy playing video games, especially Warzone, reading and watching movies and TV series. 

Best piece of advice you’ve been given for rowing?

Be patient. Don’t be discouraged by failures but make sure to learn from them. 

Do you have a mentor, or athletes that you admire?

I’ve learnt a lot from Ákos Haller and from the Sinkovic brothers. I feel incredibly lucky to know and work with these athletes.