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Jan 28, 2016

This Winner of the Medal of Honor Overcame the Impossible

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán issued a statement following his presentation of the Hungarian Medal of Honor to Dr. Szilvia Lubics in Budapest on January 28, 2016. Dr. Szilvia Lubics is a renowned amateur long distance runner.

 Prime Minister Orbán said that “One of the reasons Silvia Lubics is dear to our hearts and we regard her as a role model is that although she may leave men trailing kilometres behind her, she does not do so to prove some kind of theory. What she instead proves is that career, family, and sport are not mutually exclusive, but in fact reinforce each other.” His speech focussed on overcoming the impossible and of Dr. Lubics’ ability to balance career, family, and sport. 

The following is an English translation of the complete transcript of the prime minister's speech:

Dear Szilvia Lubics, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The debates of recent years both here at home and in Europe have convinced me that if the word “impossible” is uttered once in public or political debate, then that is exactly one time too many. Put in harsher terms, the word “impossible” is an excuse used by the weak for their inaction. We Hungarians are in a unique position in this regard, as many of our scientists and athletes have already proven that “impossible” isn’t a fact, but only an opinion. It is an honour for me to have one such athlete standing before me here today. The distance between Budapest and Vienna is 243 kilometres; the distance between Athens and Sparta is 245. Most people can’t even imagine anyone being able to run such a distance. However, an international race is staged between the two Greek cities every year, and last year a dentist from Hungary – a mother of three, Szilvia Lubics – completed the distance for the fifth time; in addition to this she has won the race three times and in 2014 set a course record. If she set out from Budapest and ran 245 kilometres in any direction, it would take her out of the country. But the recipient of today’s award is capable of even more, because she was also the winner of the 286-kilometre UltraMilano-Sanremo race. I could carry on listing her various results until late into the evening. We are proud of every single one of her victories. And there is something else that is at least as important as her success in athletics. Despite her performance, with which she outshines most professional athletes, she still regards herself as an amateur runner. On her website, she begins by talking about her profession and her family, and even later she does not speak about victories and records, but exceptional performance. Reading her blog entries one gains an interesting insight into the difference between amateur and professional sport. Here, “professional” does not necessarily mean “good” and “amateur” does not necessarily mean “less good”; they rather represent two different worlds. It seems that while for a professional athlete a sporting career means winning various trophies, for Szilvia Lubics profession, family, home and sport together constitute a fully-rounded, complete world. From this perspective, it is no accident that the ideal of the modern Olympics was created in the spirit of amateur sport. The public was not only amazed at the news of the almost transcendent performances in competition by Szilvia Lubics, but also because of something seen extremely rarely: a harmony between sport, family, and profession. She has not sacrificed her family life and professional advancement for her sporting career, and has not given up her sport for professional success and family happiness. She has successfully pursued all three, and has thus proved that vast distances can also be overcome in real life. She has proven that what many people believe is impossible is in fact possible. One of the reasons Szilvia Lubics is dear to our hearts and we regard her as a role model is that although she may leave men trailing kilometres behind her, she does not do so to prove some kind of theory. What she instead proves is that career, family and sport are not mutually exclusive, but in fact reinforce each other.

Dear Szilvia Lubics,

Through your victories you have brought glory to your homeland. You mirror and reinforce what we also proclaim: a strong nation stands on the pillars of family, devotion and work. You restore our faith in the fact that seemingly impossible goals are nevertheless attainable if one has enough courage, determination and perseverance. You are one of those exceptional Hungarians for whom overcoming the impossible and achieving seemingly impossible goals is a question of honour. This is why we are presenting you with this special state decoration today. It is with sincere affection that we hereby present you with the Hungarian Medal of Honour.