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Swimming at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's 100 metres Backstroke

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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.

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