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Swimming at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

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Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Helsinki Swimming Stadium, Helsinki
Date Started: July 28, 1952
Date Finished: July 30, 1952

Gold: FRA Jean Boiteux
Silver: USA Ford Konno
Bronze: SWE Per-Olof Östrand


Along with the returning 1948 medallists [John Marshall] and [Jimmy McLane], McLane’s American compatriot [Ford Konno], Sweden’s [Per-Olof Östrand], [Hironoshin Furuhashi] of Japan and the Frenchman [Jean Boiteux] were tipped to be medal contenders. Marshall, the Australian world record holder, failed to reach the final and although McLane and Furuhashi both reached the final they filled the final two positions. The battle for the gold came to be decided between Boiteux, Konno and Östrand. The Frenchman led by a small margin over his American rival with the Swede always behind but keeping up the pressure on the leaders. Mindful of Konno’s noted sprint finish, Boiteux made his effort at the 200m mark. By 300m he held pulled out a second on Konno but the American began to fight back. Konno surged back and nearly brought himself level but with fifteen metres to go the American faltered and Boiteux held on to win. Östrand held on to finish third.

Boiteux came from a family of swimmers; his father had been a long distance swimmer whilst his [mother] and [uncle] both represented France in the Paris Olympics of 1924. One of the iconic photographs of the 1952 Olympics is of Papa Boiteux, complete with wet beret, being helped out of the pool by his son after he had jumped in to celebrate the victory.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalSemi-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Jean Boiteux 19 France FRA Gold OR
2 Ford Konno 19 United States USA Silver
3 Per-Olof Östrand 22 Sweden SWE Bronze
4 Peter Duncan 17 South Africa RSA
5 Jack Wardrop 20 Great Britain GBR
6 Wayne Moore 20 United States USA
7 Jimmy McLane 21 United States USA
8 Hironoshin Furuhashi 23 Japan JPN
2 h2 r2/3 Yasuo Tanaka 20 Japan JPN
3 h2 r2/3 Gerry McNamee 18 Canada CAN
4 h2 r2/3 John Marshall 22 Australia AUS
4 h3 r2/3 Tetsuo Okamoto 20 Brazil BRA
5 h1 r2/3 Graham Johnston 22 South Africa RSA
5 h2 r2/3 Dennis Ford 21 South Africa RSA
5 h3 r2/3 Allen Gilchrist 20 Canada CAN
6 h1 r2/3 Gotfryd Gremlowski 20 Poland POL
6 h2 r2/3 Jo Bernardo 23 France FRA
6 h3 r2/3 Gusztáv Kettesi 23 Hungary HUN
7 h1 r2/3 Yoshio Tanaka 22 Japan JPN
7 h3 r2/3 Enrique Granados 17 Spain ESP
8 h1 r2/3 Joris Tjebbes 22 Netherlands NED
1 h5 r1/3 György Csordás 23 Hungary HUN
2 h2 r1/3 Viktor Drobinsky 19 Soviet Union URS
3 h2 r1/3 Neo Chwee Kok 21 Singapore SIN
3 h4 r1/3 Anatoly Raznochintsev 24 Soviet Union URS
3 h6 r1/3 Garrick Agnew 21 Australia AUS
4 h2 r1/3 Eduardo Priggione 18 Uruguay URU
4 h4 r1/3 Peter Steinwender 23 Austria AUT
4 h5 r1/3 Carlos Alberto Bonacich 20 Argentina ARG
4 h6 r1/3 Roar Woldum 19 Norway NOR
4 h7 r1/3 Alfredo Yantorno 28 Argentina ARG
4 h8 r1/3 Angelo Romani 18 Italy ITA
5 h1 r1/3 Pentti Ikonen 18 Finland FIN
5 h2 r1/3 Walter Bardgett 19 Bermuda BER
5 h3 r1/3 Federico Zwanck 18 Argentina ARG
5 h4 r1/3 Peter Head 17 Great Britain GBR
5 h5 r1/3 Per Olsen 17 Norway NOR
5 h6 r1/3 Einari Aalto 26 Finland FIN
5 h7 r1/3 Ronald Burns 19 Great Britain GBR
5 h8 r1/3 René Million 18 France FRA
6 h1 r1/3 Geoffrey Marks 20 Sri Lanka SRI
6 h2 r1/3 Sonny Monteiro 26 Hong Kong HKG
6 h3 r1/3 Ricardo Esperard 20 Brazil BRA
6 h4 r1/3 Cheung Kin Man 20 Hong Kong HKG
6 h5 r1/3 Pentti Paatsalo 19 Finland FIN
6 h7 r1/3 Nguyễn Văn Phan 23 South Vietnam VNM
6 h8 r1/3 Fernando Madeira 20 Portugal POR
7 h1 r1/3 Georg Mascetti 22 Saar SAA
7 h3 r1/3 Walter Schneider 24 Switzerland SUI
7 h5 r1/3 Robert Cook 19 Bermuda BER
7 h8 r1/3 Muhammad Ramzan 18 Pakistan PAK