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Swimming at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's 100 metres Backstroke

Swimming at the 1952 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Helsinki Swimming Stadium, Helsinki
Date Started: July 30, 1952
Date Finished: August 1, 1952

Gold: USA Yoshi Oyakawa
Silver: FRA Gilbert Bozon
Bronze: USA Jack Taylor


Earlier in 1952 the world record had been traded between the Frenchman [Gilbert Bozon] and the man who had won the title in London, America’s [Allan Stack]. By the time the Helsinki Games came around the man in the best form turned out to be another American, the Japanese-Hawaiian [Yoshi Oyakawa]. Oyakawa recorded the fastest times at all stages of the competition and broke the Olympic record, which had stood since 1936, in both semi-final and final. A minor piece of history occurred in heat 5 of the first round when the Soviet Union’s [Leonid Sagayduk] raced against the sole Chinese competitor in Helsinki, [Wu Chuanyu]. The rest of the Chinese team had been stranded in Leningrad due to a visa problem and were unable to reach Helsinki. It was not until thirty-six years later in Seoul that competitors from these two countries would meet again at a Summer Olympics.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Yoshi Oyakawa 18 United States USA Gold OR
2 Gilbert Bozon 17 France FRA Silver
3 Jack Taylor 21 United States USA Bronze
4 Allen Stack 24 United States USA
5 Pedro Galvão 18 Argentina ARG
6 Bert Wardrop 20 Great Britain GBR
7 Boris Škanata 25 Yugoslavia YUG
8 Lin Meiring 18 South Africa RSA
5 h1 r2/3 John Brockway 23 Great Britain GBR
5 h2 r2/3 Viktor Solovyov Soviet Union URS
6 h1 r2/3 Fernando Pavan 19 Brazil BRA
6 h2 r2/3 João Gonçalves Filho 17 Brazil BRA
7 h1 r2/3 Lincoln Hurring 20 New Zealand NZL
7 h2 r2/3 Egidio Massaria 26 Italy ITA
8 h1 r2/3 Lucien Zins 29 France FRA
2 h2 r1/3 Yasumasu Nishino 27 Japan JPN
2 h7 r1/3 Ilo da Fonseca 21 Brazil BRA
3 h2 r1/3 Clemente Mejía 23 Mexico MEX
4 h1 r1/3 Norihiko Kurahashi 19 Japan JPN
4 h2 r1/3 Helmut Koppelstätter 22 Austria AUT
4 h3 r1/3 Ladislav Bačík 18 Czechoslovakia TCH
4 h4 r1/3 Jitse van der Veen 23 Netherlands NED
4 h5 r1/3 Leonid Sagayduk Soviet Union URS
4 h6 r1/3 László Gyöngyösi Hungary HUN
5 h1 r1/3 Vladimir Lopatin Soviet Union URS
5 h2 r1/3 Hermann Gericke 20 Switzerland SUI
5 h3 r1/3 Imre Nyéki 23 Hungary HUN
5 h4 r1/3 Bijoy Barman 23 India IND
5 h5 r1/3 Wu Chuanyu 23 China CHN
5 h6 r1/3 Frank O'Neill 25 Australia AUS
6 h1 r1/3 Lucien Beaumont 21 Canada CAN
6 h2 r1/3 Jerzy Boniecki 19 Poland POL
6 h3 r1/3 Peter Salmon 22 Canada CAN
6 h5 r1/3 Eduardo Barbeiro 20 Portugal POR
6 h6 r1/3 Erkki Marttinen 26 Finland FIN
7 h1 r1/3 Khamlillal Shah 31 India IND
7 h2 r1/3 Eurico Surgey 20 Portugal POR
7 h3 r1/3 Tom Pettersen 17 Norway NOR