Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Australian Olympic swimmers Part Three: Towards Melbourne: London and Helsinki

1948 London 29 July - 14 August
59 nations; 4104 athletes, 390 women

After a hiatus of 12 years due to World War II, the London games saw the emergence of a number of outstanding athletes, such as Dutch track athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen and Czech Emil Zatopek.

Below: The Empire Pool at Wembley

Australian swimming team: Garrick Agnew, Bruce Bourke, Warren Boyd, Peter Breukel, John Davies, Judy Joy Davies, Kevin Hallett, Denise Henderson, John Marshall, Marjorie McQuade, Beatrice Lyons.

2 silver
2 bronze
Bruce Bourke (left, on his way to the Olympics and right, in the pool): There is a lengthy and very interesting interview with Bruce Bourke, recounting his early years in swimming and the London Games here.

John Marshall broke 28 world records during his career. Tragically he was killed in a car accident at age 27, leaving behind his wife and 7 month old child.

Events, Winners, Winning and Australian times.
100m freestyle:
G: Walter Ris USA 57.3 S: Alan Ford USA B: Geza Kadas HUN
400m freestyle: G: William Smith USA 4:41.0 S: James McLane USA B: John Marshall AUS 4:47.7
1500m freestyle: G: James McLane USA 19:18.5 S: John Marshall AUS 19:31.3 B: Gyorgy Mitro HUN
100m backstroke: G: Allen Stack USA 1:06.4 S: Robert Cowell USA B: Georges Vallerey FRA
200m breaststroke: G: Joseph Verdeur USA 2:9.3 S: Keith Carter USA B: Robert Sohl USA 4th - John Davies AUS 2:43.7
4x 200m freestyle relay: G: USA 8:46.0 S: Hungary B: France

100m freestyle:
G: Greta Andersen DEN 1:06.3 S: Ann Curtis USA B: Narie-Louise Vaessen HOL
400m freestyle: G: Ann Curtis USA 5.17.8 S: Karen-Margrete Harup DEN B: Catherine Gibson GBR
100m backstroke: G: Karen-Margrete Harup DEN 1:14.4 S: Suzanne Zimmermann USA B: Judy-Joy Davies AUS 1:16.7
200m breaststroke: G: Petronella van Vliet HOL 2:57.2 S: Beatrice Lyons AUS 2:57.7 B: Eva Novak HUN
4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: USA 4:29.2 S: Denmark B: Netherlands

1952 Helsinki 19 July - 3 August
69 nations; 4925 athletes - women 518

PPusa has a terrific blog about the Helsinki Games called "Helsinki Games Today". It includes a picture here of the swimming pool as it exists today. Here's another blogger's pics of the pool as it is used today.

These games were the first "Cold War" Games, held during the Korean War.

The star of the Games was Czech runner Emil Zatopek. He completed a treble that is unlikely ever to be repeated at an Olympics, winning the 5000m, 10,000m and marathon. As well, his wife Dana won a gold medal in the javelin, cementing their standing as their nation’s golden couple. Amongst Australia's athletes, Marjorie Jackson, known as ‘the Lithgow Flash’, stole some of the athletics spotlight with her sensational sprint double, winning the 100m and 200m. It was the beginning of the Golden Era of Australian athletics, with Shirley Strickland also competing.
Right: Shirley Stickland (left) getting bronze, and Marjorie Jackson (centre) gold in 100 m

Below: The Helsinki pool

Australian swimming team: Garrick Agnew, Rex Aubrey, John Davies, Judy Joy Davies, David Hawkins, John Marshall, Marjorie McQuade, Francis O'Neill, Denise Wangel, Beatrice Lyons

1 gold - John Davies 200m breaststroke. Davies is pictured left at the Games. Breaststroke and Butterfly were not yet separate strokes.

Events, medallists, winning and Australian times
100m freestyle:
G: Clarke Scholes USA 57.4 S: Hiroshi Suzuki JPN B: Goran Larsson SWE 6th- Rex Aubrey AUS 58.7
400m freestyle: G: Jean Boiteaux FRA 4:30.7 S: Ford Konno USA B: Per-Olof Ostrand SWE
1500m freestyle: G: Ford Konno USA 18:30.3 S: Shiro Hashizune JPN B: Tetsuo Okamoto BRA 8th - John Marshall AUS 19:53.4
100m backstroke: G: Yoshinobu Ouyakawa JPN 1:05.4 S: Gilbert Bozon FRA B: Jack Taylor USA
200m breaststroke: G: John Davies AUS 2:34.4 S: Bowen Stassforth USA B: Herbert Klein GER
4 x 200m freestyle relay: G: USA 8:31.1 S: Japan B: France

100m freestyle: G: Katalin Szoke HUN 1:06.8 S: Johanna TErmeulen HOL B: Judit Temes HUN
400m freestyle: G: Valeria Gyenge HUN 5:12.1 S: Eva Novak HUN B: Evelyn Kawamoto USA
100m backstroke: G: Joan HArrison SAF 1:14.3 S: Geertje Wielema HOL B: Jean Stewart NZL
200m breaststroke: G: Eva Szekely HUN 2:51.7 S: Eva Novak HUN B: Helen Gordon GBR
4 x 100m freestyle relay: G: Hungary 4:24.4 S: Netherlands B: USA

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