Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Helsinki Swimming Stadium, Helsinki
Date Started: July 31, 1952
Date Finished: August 2, 1952
[Hironoshin Furuhashi] of Japan had been the outstanding long distance freestyle swimmer since the last Olympics but was probably past his best by 1952. His preparations for Helsinki were ruined by a bout of malaria and his Olympic career was limited to a below-par swim in the 400m. The standard of competition was high, 400m champion [Jean Boiteux] went below the pre-Games Olympic record but failed to reach the final. The fastest qualifiers for the final were [Shiro Hashizume] of Japan and the Japanese-American [Ford Konno], another from the great Hawaiian tradition of swimmers, and these two continued their form into the final. Hashizume went off into a lead but was gradually pulled back by Konno. At 1200m Konno moved level with the Japanese swimmer and then forged ahead as Hashizumeâs fast start had drained his stamina. Konno eventually finished ten seconds clear of Hashizume whilst a frantic battle for third place saw [Tetsuo Okamoto], a Brazilian of Japanese parentage, edge out the 1948 champion [Jimmy McLane] to complete an unusual âJapaneseâ sweep of the medals.