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Swimming at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Men's 100 metres Backstroke

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Wembley Arena, Wembley, London
Date Started: August 4, 1948
Date Finished: August 6, 1948

Gold: USA Allen Stack
Silver: USA Bob Cowell
Bronze: FRA Georges Vallerey, Jr.


Earlier in the year [Allan Stack] had broken [Adolph Kiefer]’s twelve year old world record for this event and the stylish American was considered a strong favourite to follow Kiefer as Olympic champion. Stack was fastest in both heat and semi-final but had a nasty surprise as he lined up for the start of the final. As he waited in the water he attempted to tighten his swimming trunks and felt the cord break in his hands and his trunks begin to slip off. Fortunately the starter allowed him to leave the pool and replace his trunks and avoid what could have been an embarrassing situation for him. The final turned out to be much closer than had been anticipated with Stack’s fellow American, [Robert Cowell], pressing him throughout and even leading at one stage. The difference between gold medal winner Stack and Cowell in silver was just a tenth of a second.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalSemi-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Allen Stack 20 United States USA Gold
2 Bob Cowell 24 United States USA Silver
3 Georges Vallerey, Jr. 20 France FRA Bronze
4T Mario Chávez Argentina ARG
4T Clemente Mejía 19 Mexico MEX
6 Jackie Wiid 19 South Africa RSA
7 John Brockway 19 Great Britain GBR
8 Bert Kinnear 24 Great Britain GBR
4 h2 r2/3 Howard Patterson 20 United States USA
5 h2 r2/3 Helio Silva 22 Brazil BRA
6 h1 r2/3 Paulo Silva Brazil BRA
6 h2 r2/3 Lucien Zins 25 France FRA
7 h1 r2/3 Kees Kievit 17 Netherlands NED
7 h2 r2/3 Ilo da Fonseca 18 Brazil BRA
8 h1 r2/3 Bruce Bourke 19 Australia AUS
8 h2 r2/3 René Pirolley 16 France FRA
3 h1 r1/3 José Vegazzi Argentina ARG
3 h2 r1/3 Jiří Kovář Czechoslovakia TCH
3 h5 r1/3 Donald Shanks Bermuda BER
4 h1 r1/3 Francisco Calamita 25 Spain ESP
4 h2 r1/3 Carlos Noriega 26 Uruguay URU
4 h4 r1/3 Tony Summers 24 Great Britain GBR
4 h5 r1/3 Dorri Said 21 Egypt EGY
4 h6 r1/3 Federico Neumayer 24 Argentina ARG
5 h1 r1/3 Eric Jubb Canada CAN
5 h2 r1/3 Martin Lundén 23 Sweden SWE
5 h3 r1/3 Mário Simas 26 Portugal POR
5 h4 r1/3 Gyula Válent 21 Hungary HUN
5 h5 r1/3 Guðmundur Ingólfsson 19 Iceland ISL
5 h6 r1/3 Peter Mingie 17 Canada CAN
6 h1 r1/3 Per-Olof Olsson 29 Sweden SWE
6 h2 r1/3 Tonatiuh Gutiérrez 18 Mexico MEX
6 h3 r1/3 Fritz Zwazl 22 Austria AUT
6 h4 r1/3 Manuel Guerra 20 Spain ESP
6 h6 r1/3 Hans Blumer Switzerland SUI
7 h1 r1/3 Khamlillal Shah 27 India IND
7 h2 r1/3 Jaffar Ali Shah Pakistan PAK
7 h3 r1/3 Nikolaos Melanofeidis Greece GRE
7 h4 r1/3 Prahtip Mitra India IND