At the Antwerp 1920 Video games, Hawaiian champion Duke Kahanamoku changed into the primary swimmer to win the Olympic 100m freestyle two times in a row. This got here after his first identify 8 years previous in Stockholm. He went on to say a silver medal within the tournament at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, and could also be identified and honoured right through the arena as the person who popularised the game of browsing.

Duke Kahanamoku used to be about to have fun his 30th birthday (he used to be born on 24 August 1890 in Honolulu, in what used to be then the Kingdom of Hawaii) when he got down to shield his 100m freestyle identify within the “darkish, chilly and muddy” waters of the 100m-long Olympic pool that were constructed for the Video games of the VII Olympiad. Beginning on 22 August 1920, the already mythical American swimmer gained his races conveniently, completing in blistering occasions: 1:01.Eight in his quarter-final warmth, an Olympic document, and 1:01.Four within the semi-final, matching his personal international document set in New York in 1918.

However he stored the most productive till closing. He used to be joined within the last by way of 3 different American swimmers, two of whom (Pua Kealoha and Invoice Harris) had been additionally Hawaiian. He took the lead in his race for gold from the first actual strokes and, after quickening his tempo, gained by way of an enormous margin. He shattered his international document by way of one 2nd and got here with regards to getting below the minute barrier with a time of one:00.4. The Hawaiian swimmers took all 3 medals: Kealoha took 2nd position, with Harris coming 3rd. However now not for lengthy.

The Australian competitor, William Bring in, claimed that he were obstructed all through the race by way of the American Norman Ross. The judges disqualified Ross and nullified the results of the general, which used to be rescheduled 5 days later. After celebrating his 30th birthday, Kahanamoku returned to the water with the entire different finalists, excluding for Ross. The 1912 Olympic gold medallist used to be once more topped champion and changed into the primary swimmer to succeed in a double victory within the 100m race. He took the identify with a time of one:01.4. This new race didn’t alternate the unique effects, as Kealoha got here away with the silver and Harris with the bronze.


On 1 September, after being warmly congratulated by way of his team-mates as he left the pool and joking with the officers, the person nicknamed “the Duke” went to take an influence nap at the back of the stands. However he nonetheless had yet one more race left to swim, the 4x200m relay. Simply because the beginning whistle used to be about to blow, he needed to be woken up in a rush to get to the threshold of the pool in time. He and team-mates Perry McGillivray, Kealoha and Ross gained by way of 21 seconds (in a global document time of 10:04.4), placing the American citizens forward of the Australians, who had crushed them 4 years previous in Stockholm. Nice Britain took the bronze medal 33 seconds at the back of.


There’s nonetheless a query being debated by way of historians. At Antwerp 1920, Kahanamoku used to be additionally mentioned to have performed for the US water polo workforce. He allegedly changed one of the crucial workforce participants within the closing fit, the bronze-medal fit, during which the American workforce misplaced 5-Zero to Sweden. No less than that is what he mentioned, however there’s no conclusive evidence that he used to be concerned within the recreation.

Two passions: swimming and browsing, and a primary identify in 1912 in Stockholm

Queen Liliʻuokalani of Hawaii used to be overthrown in 1893, 3 years after Kahanamoku used to be born. A republic used to be proclaimed and, in 1898, the Pacific archipelago changed into part of the US. Kahanamoku grew up with two passions: browsing (widely recognized on his island however little identified in different places) and swimming. He excelled within the entrance move slowly, a stroke that used to be invented in Australia and which he perfected.

At simply 21 years outdated, he started to make a reputation for himself at nationwide degree. He swam the 100 yards (91m) freestyle race in 55.Four seconds in Honolulu Harbour on 11 August 1911, breaking the document by way of 4.6 seconds. He swam the 50 yards (46m) in 24.2 seconds. However a couple of thousand kilometres away, his information weren’t recognised by way of the Novice Athletic Union (AAU), which wondered the stipulations below which they had been set.



Duke crossed the Pacific, and gained many races at the east coast of america, organising himself as the most productive sprinter within the nation. He certified for the Stockholm 1912 Video games conveniently. The American workforce crossed the Atlantic aboard the SS Finland. The swimming occasions had been held in a stretch of the Baltic Sea, with the race pool positioned in Djurgårdsbrunnsviken bay within the centre of the Swedish capital.

The 100m made its 3rd look on the Video games on 6 July, beginning with 34 swimmers within the heats. Kahanamoku gained his warmth in 1:02.6, an Olympic document. He additionally gained his quarter-final, in 1:03.8, on 7 July. Then got here the confusion. The American swimmers left to get some relaxation aboard the SS Finland, anticipating the semi-finals to happen the following day. That they had been misinformed, then again, and the semi-finals in truth came about at the identical day. They weren’t warned and the 2 races came about with out them. In the beginning, they had been disqualified. However, thank you specifically to Australian swimmer Cecil Healy, they had been in the end given a 2nd likelihood. A brand new warmth used to be organized and Duke gained it with a brand new international document (1:02.4).

The general came about on 10 July and Kahanamoku – simply as he can be 8 years later – used to be discovered asleep at the back of the stands originally of the race, woken up in a rush, and delivered to the beginning line simply in time. He ruled the race from begin to end, profitable with a time of one:03.Four and a two-metre lead over Healy, who, with a powerful end, overtook team-mate Ken Huszagh for the silver medal. Kahanamoku used to be offered together with his medal and congratulated by way of King Gustav V of Sweden. The American citizens gained the silver medal within the 4x200m, with Australia taking the gold.

The daddy of contemporary browsing

Having change into a world-class swimming famous person, “the Duke” now not best gave swimming exhibitions everywhere the arena, but in addition presented browsing to the loads. He presented the game to the east and west coasts of the US and, in December 1914, he introduced browsing to Freshwater Seaside close to Sydney, the place there may be now a statue of him, highlighting his standing as the daddy of browsing in Australia. There’s every other statue of the mythical surfer at Huntington Seaside in south Los Angeles. And let’s now not overlook the only in Waikiki Bay in Honolulu, completely embellished with plant life, or the monument that honours him in Christchurch, New Zealand. “The Duke” will at all times be remembered because the champion who presented the arena to browsing initially of the 20th century.

IOC / PETER, Grégoire

He endured his aggressive swimming profession and gained the AAU Championships in 1916, 1917 and 1920. Then got here his 2nd victory on the Antwerp Video games, which bolstered his iconic recognition. Whilst proceeding to popularise and advertise browsing, he additionally competed in his 3rd Video games in Paris in 1924. There, within the 100m race on the Tourelles pool, Johnny Weissmuller, who would later cross directly to play Tarzan, disadvantaged him of a 3rd 100m identify after taking the lead and completing in below a minute (59.Zero seconds). Silver medallist Duke shared the rostrum together with his brother, Samuel, who took 3rd position.


The five-time Olympic medallist moved to California and starred in a couple of Hollywood motion pictures. He additionally labored as a lifeguard at Newport Seaside. On 14 June 1925, he rescued 8 fishermen from a sinking boat on his surfboard, going from side to side between the shore and the capsized vessel. On the age of 42, he used to be an alternative choice to the USA water polo workforce competing at the Los Angeles 1932 Video games. He then changed into the Sheriff of Honolulu, a place he held till 1961. Kahanamoku died of a middle assault on the age of 77 on 22 January 1968. The folks of Honolulu adopted him to the sea, the place his ashes had been scattered.

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