Charles “Karch” Kiraly is the only Olympian who has won gold medals in both indoor volleyball and beach volleyball. The American of Hungarian descent – his father played for the Hungarian national volleyball team – won gold medals with the U.S. men’s volleyball team in 1984 in Los Angeles and 1988 in Seoul. He retired from national team duty after Seoul, and shifted to beach volleyball in the 1990s.
Kiraly was hugely successful on the American beach volleyball circuit, winning close to 150 titles in a long career. In 1996, he teamed up with Kent Steffes to win the men’s beach volleyball gold medal in Atlanta, the first time the event was played as an official Olympic sport, for his third Olympic gold medal. The duo defeated compatriots Michael Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh in the finals, winning in straight sets.
Kiraly continued to compete in local beach volleyball tournaments before finally retiring in 2007 at the age of 47. Today he remains a popular beach volleyball sportscaster.
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