Budapest: Hungarian President Pal Schmitt didn't copy "word for word" large sections of a Bulgarian sports historian's work when submitting his university thesis in 1992, his office has said.
The Hungarian news portal hvg.hu said that around 180 pages of Schmitt's 215-page doctoral dissertation titled "The Analysis of the Programs of the Modern Olympic Games" were either "copied word for word, or slightly modified" from a 1980s French-language study by the sports historian and diplomat Nikolaj Georgiev, Xinhua reported.
Another page, the website said, was taken from a 1985 work written jointly by Georgiev and Bulgarian sports researcher Hristo Meranzov. Although both works were included as sources in the bibliography according to the portal, Schmitt's thesis did not include footnotes or endnotes, which it said prevented finding out what exactly had been quoted.
The panel of thesis judges at the University of Physical Education in Budapest awarded Schmitt's work the highest mark of summa cum laude.
According to the statement given to the Hungarian News Agency MTI by the Office of the President, Schmitt and Georgiev did take part in many discussions together during the course of their research but "the most important sources for the two works were International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting minutes as well as the official reviews of the Olympics in question".
"The work was judged by history professors who gave it a summa cum laude from both a content and form point of view. It was their decision," the statement continued.
Schmitt has served as a member of the IOC since 1983 and was president of the Hungarian Olympic Committee between 1990 and 2010 when he was appointed president of Hungary.
First Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 14:21