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Gunnar Larsson

Full name: Karl Gunnar Larsson
Gender: Male
Height: 6-1 (186 cm)
Weight: 190 lbs (86 kg)
Born: May 12, 1951 in Malmö, Skåne, Sweden
Affiliations: Malmö SS, Malmö (SWE)
Country: SWE Sweden
Sport: Swimming

Related Olympians: Brother of Karin Larsson; Brother of Kristina Larsson.

Medals: 2 Gold (2 Total)

Biography

Together with [Arne Borg], Gunnar Larsson is considered as Sweden’s greatest all-time swimmer. Larsson first competed internationally at the 1968 Olympics, competing in three individual freestyle events and two freestyle relays, but his specialty was the individual medley. At the 1970 European Championships, he won three gold medals – the 400 freestyle and both IMs. His winning times in the 400 freestyle (4:02.6) and 200 IM (2:09.3) were also world records. For those achievements, Larsson was awarded the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal.

At the 1972 Olympics, American [Gary Hall] was considered as the favorite for individual medley golds. The 400 IM was contested first and in the final Hall led for the first 300 metres but was overtaken by Larsson and [Tim McKee] in the freestyle leg and they finished almost simultaneously, the electronic timing giving both the time of 4:31.98. However, the electronic timer could measure to the 1/1000ths of a second and when that was done, Larsson had the gold medal – 4:31.981 to 4:31.983. Thousandth-second timing was used again at the 1973 World Championships, but the controversy over the accuracy of such timing caused FINA to change their rules, so that in the future swimming times would only be measured to the hundredths of a second. Three days later Larsson won his second gold medal in the 200 IM, comfortably ahead of McKee with a world record time of 2:07.17. At the 1973 World Championships Larsson won gold in the 200 IM, his favorite event.

Larsson retired from sports after the 1973 Worlds and, after graduating from the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in 1975, worked until 1985 as a swimming coach and physical education teacher. From 1985-98 he operated a McDonald’s restaurant in Eskilstuna and from 1998-2002 worked as a consultant for McDonald’s. From 2000-2005 Larsson was a board member of the Swedish Swimming Federation. For over 30 years, from 1974 until late 2000s, he served as an expert commentator with Sveriges Radio, Sweden’s national publicly funded radio. Larsson was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1979.

Personal Bests: 400 m freestyle – 4:02.6 (1970); 200 m individual medley – 2:07.17 (1972); 400 m individual medley – 4:31.98 (1972).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Men's 200 metres Freestyle Sweden SWE 4 h4 r1/2
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Sweden SWE 2 h5 r1/2
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle Sweden SWE 3 h3 r1/2
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Men's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay Sweden SWE 6 h1 r1/2
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Sweden SWE 8
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Sweden SWE 1 h1 r1/2
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay Sweden SWE 4
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Men's 200 metres Individual Medley Sweden SWE 1 Gold
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Men's 400 metres Individual Medley Sweden SWE 1 Gold
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Men's 4 × 100 metres Medley Relay Sweden SWE 4 h3 r1/2

Men's 200 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 1cT 1cR 100-200m
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Sweden Round One Heat Four 4 2:04.9 1:00.9 3 1:04.0 (5)

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 1cT 1cR 2cT 2cR 3cT 3cR 100-200m 200-300m 300-400m
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Sweden Round One Heat Five 2 4:25.0 1:04.3 3 2:11.7 2 3:19.9 2 1:07.4 (2) 1:08.2 (2) 1:05.1 (2)
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Sweden Round One Heat One 1 4:09.88 1:00.87 1 2:05.06 1 3:08.05 1 1:04.19 (2) 1:02.99 (1) 1:01.83 (1)

Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 100m 200m 300m 400m 500m 600m 700m 800m 900m 1000m 1100m 1200m 1300m 1400y 100-300m 400-500m 6-7m 7-8 900-1000 11-13m 1300-1500y
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Sweden Round One Heat Three 3 17:57.0 1:05.0 (4) 2:14.7 (=3) 3:25.9 (3) 4:38.0 (3) 5:50.2 (3) 7:02.2 (3) 8:15.6 (4) 9:29.4 (4) 10:43.3 (4) 11:57.2 (4) 13:11.6 (4) 14:25.2 (4) 15:38.7 (4) 16:50.4 (4) 1:09.7 (3) / 1:11.2 (3) 1:12.1 (3) / 1:12.2 (3) 1:12.0 (3) / 1:13.4 (4) 1:13.8 (4) / 1:13.9 (4) 1:13.9 (4) / 1:14.4 (4) 1:13.6 (3) / 1:13.5 (3) 1:11.7 (3) / 1:06.6 (2)

Men's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T ET ER
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Sweden SWE Round One Heat One 6 56.2 3:43.9 6

Men's 4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T ET ER
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Sweden SWE Final 8 2:04.7 6:08.0 8
1968 Summer 17 Ciudad de México Swimming Sweden SWE Round One Heat One 3 2:02.2 6:09.5 3
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Sweden SWE Final 4 1:53.84 7:47.35 4
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Sweden SWE Round One Heat Two 5 2:00.62 7:57.53 5

Men's 200 metres Individual Medley

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 5dT 5dR 1cT 1cR 1.5cT 1.5cR 50-100m 100-150m 150-200m
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Sweden Final 1 WR 2:07.17 28.00 5 1:01.07 5 1:38.07 1 33.07 (5) 37.00 (1) 29.10 (1)
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Sweden Round One Heat Three 1 Q/OR 2:09.70 28.81 2 1:01.46 2 1:40.04 1 32.65 (1) 38.58 (1) 29.66 (1)

Men's 400 metres Individual Medley

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T 1cT 1cR 2cT 2cR 3cT 3cR 100-200m 200-300m 300-400m
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Sweden Final 1 OR 4:31.98 1:03.41 6 2:14.07 6 3:32.17 4 3:32.17 (4) 1:10.66 (6) 1:18.10 (1)
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Sweden Round One Heat Two 1 Q/OR 4:34.99 1:03.43 2 2:14.37 1 3:33.36 1 1:10.94 (1) 1:18.99 (1) 1:01.63 (1)

Men's 4 × 100 metres Medley Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T ET ER
1972 Summer 21 München Swimming Sweden SWE Round One Heat Three 4 1:09.23 2:10.19 4
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