Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): Kokuritsu Yoyogi Kyogijo, Shibuya, Tokyo
Date Started: October 12, 1964
Date Finished: October 13, 1964
[Dawn Fraser] had won this event in 1956 and 1960, was the only female to have better one minute, and had set the last nine world records at this distance, capped by 58.9 in Sydney in February of the Olympic year. But only weeks later she was involved in a car accident and broke a vertebra in her back, and spent six weeks in a body cast. She recovered, but was expected to be challenged in Tokyo by 15-year-old [Sharon Stouder] of the USA. In the final Fraser led by Â½-a-metre at the turn, but was soon caught by Stouder at 70 metres. But Fraser finished stronger and finished in 59.5 to win her third consecutive gold, Stouder coming across in 59.9, the second women to better one minute for the race. This made Fraser the first Olympic swimmer to win the same event at three straight Olympics.
A few days later, while still celebrating, Fraser led a midnight raid on an Olympic Flag near the Emperorâs Palace. She was arrested but when they learned who it was, the Emperor dropped the charges and gave her the flag as a gift. However, Australia swimming authorities suspended her for 10 years, although this was later softened to a 4-year ban, which did not matter as she retired after Tokyo.