Laszlo Tabori, longtime coach of the San Fernando Valley Track Club and the third man to break four minutes in the mile, will be inducted into Hungary's Athletic Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Budapest on Jan. 6.
Tabori, 63, will be inducted along with Sandor Iharos and Istvan Rozsavolgyi.
That trio were ranked first, second and third in the world in the 1,500 meters by Track & Field News in 1955, the same year that they teamed with countryman Ferenc Mikes to twice lower the world record in the 4 x 1,500-meter relay.
Tabori became the third man to break four minutes in the mile when he timed 3 minutes 59 seconds on May 28, 1955, and he tied Iharos' world record in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:40.8 on Sept. 6.
Tabori finished fourth in the 1,500 and sixth in the 5,000 in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, but defected to the United States shortly thereafter when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to crush the regime of Premier Imre Nagy.
Tabori competed at the world-class level for several more years--running 4:00.0 in the mile in 1960--before gravitating toward coaching in the mid-60s.
He was the distance coach at Valley College from 1968-74. During that time, the Monarchs won three state cross-country titles in a row from 1968-70, and produced standout runners such as Mark Covert and Dave Babiracki.
In 1973, Tabori formed the San Fernando Valley Track Club.
Although he did not return to Hungary until 1981, Tabori has made yearly trips there sincethe fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
Tabori said that being inducted into the hall of fame "gives you a little warm feeling because when you get older and gray-haired, it's nice to know that people still remember you from all those years ago."