Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hawaiian Wins Gold !

One hundred years ago today in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku representing the USA won the 100 meter freestyle gold medal.He twice bettered the Olympic Record in preliminary rounds. Duke went on to win a total of five Olympic medals (in the 1912, 1920 and 1924 Games). His last Olympic competition age 42 was on the US Water Polo team in the 1932 Games.

Born Hawaiian, Duke became a US citizen at the age of 9 (US Hawaiian Organic Act, 30 April 1900) after the USA annexed Hawaii as a colonial territory.

Another hero of the 1912 Olympics was Jim Thorpe of the USA, a mixed race athlete (typically labeled Indian or "redskin") who won both the Pentathlon & Decathlon Gold Medals.

These athletes struggled to overcome racism. Their successes helped pave the way for a brighter present day world.

 The Hawaiian Gazette  12 July 1912, pg 1

 Sweden's King Gustaf V (on podium) confers Duke's 100-meter Freestyle Gold

A great celebrity, Duke Kahanamoku became perhaps better known for introducing & popularizing the Hawaiian sport of surfing around the world.