Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Stadium, Imperial Sports Field, Berlin
Date Started: August 10, 1936
Date Finished: August 12, 1936
Like the 100 metre freestyle at the same Games, this event was predicted to be a battle between an American world record holder and a strong Japanese trio. Unlike the 100, this race would follow the predicted course and turn into a triumph for the USA’s [Jack Medica] but only after a tremendous duel. [Shumpei Uto] took a lead over Medica but the American fought back and narrowed a lead. A spurt by the Japanese swimmer pushed him further ahead but his exertion took much out of him and Medica responded. Medica and Uto battled for gold in the final 50 metres with the American only taking the lead with 10 metres to go.
One competitor who did not qualify from his heat was Brazil’s [João Havelange]. Havelange became one of the world’s leading sports administrators as both a long serving member of the IOC and as president of FIFA, the governing body of world football.