Anthropometric Measurements of Olympic 100m Freestyle Champions

The Olympic Games brings together the best swimmers in the world. Studying the changes in anthropometric measurements of the Olympic swimming champions can demonstrate how the size and shape of athletes have changed over 100 years of sport.

Alfréd Hajós, the 100m freestyle champion from 1896 Alfréd Hajós, the 100m freestyle champion from 1896

Anthropometric Measures of Olympic Champions

Here is a table of the height, weight and body mass index (BMI) of the male Olympic 100m freestyle champions for nearly every Olympiad. The graphs presented below show how these measures have changed over time. Generally, the winning swimmers have become taller and heavier.

Year Winner Time (secs) Height Weight BMI
1896 Alfréd Hajós 82.2      
1900 no event      
1904 Zoltán Halmay 62.8 1.87 m / 6 ft 1.5 in 83 kg / 183 lb 23.7
1906 Charles Daniels 73.0 1.83 m / 6 ft 0 in 70 kg / 154 lb 20.9
1908 Charles Daniels 65.6 1.83 m / 6 ft 0 in 70 kg / 154 lb 20.9
1912 Duke Kahanamoku 63.4 1.86 m / 6 ft 1 in 86 kg / 190 lb 24.9
1920 Duke Kahanamoku 60.4 1.86 m / 6 ft 1 in 86 kg / 190 lb 24.9
1924 Johnny Weissmuller 59.0 1.91 m / 6 ft 3 in 88.5 kg / 195 lb 24.3
1928 Johnny Weissmuller 58.6 1.91 m / 6 ft 3 in 88.5 kg / 195 lb 24.3
1932 Yasuji Miyazaki 58.2 1.79 m / 5 ft 10 in 66 kg / 146 lb 20.6
1936 Ferenc Csik 57.6
1948 Wally Ris 57.3
1952 Clarke Scholes 57.4 1.91 m / 6 ft 3 in 79 kg / 174 lb 21.7
1956 Jon Henricks 55.4 1.82 m / 6 ft 0 in 78 kg / 172 lb 23.5
1960 John Devitt 55.2 1.85 m / 6 ft 1 in 85 kg / 187 lb 24.8
1964 Don Schollander 53.4 1.80 m / 5 ft 11 in 79 kg / 174 lb 24.4
1968 Michael Wenden 52.2 1.84 m / 6 ft 0.5 in 76 kg / 168 lb 22.4
1972 Mark Spitz 51.22 1.83 m / 6 ft 0 in 73 kg / 161 lb 21.8
1976 Jim Montgomery 49.99 1.91 m / 6 ft 3 in 88 kg / 194 lb 24.1
1980 Jörg Woithe 50.40 1.98 m / 6 ft 6 in 105 kg / 231 lb 26.8
1984 Rowdy Gaines 49.80 1.85 m / 6 ft 1 in 73 kg / 161 lb 21.3
1988 Matt Biondi 48.63 2.01 m / 6 ft 7 in 95 kg / 209 lb 23.5
1992 Alexander Popov 49.02 1.97 m / 6 ft 5.5  in 87 kg / 192 lb 22.4
1996 Alexander Popov 48.74 1.97 m / 6 ft 5.5  in 87 kg / 192 lb 22.4
2000 Pieter van den Hoogenband 48.30 1.93 m / 6 ft 4 in 80 kg / 180 lb 21.5
2004 Pieter van den Hoogenband 48.17 1.93 m / 6 ft 4 in 80 kg / 180 lb 21.5
2008 Alain Bernard 47.21 1.96 m / 6 ft 5 in 90 kg / 200 lb 23.4
2012 Nathan Adrian 47.52 1.98 m / 6 ft 6 in 103 kg / 227 lb 26.3
2016 Kyle Chalmers 47.58 1.94 m / 6 ft 4 in 90 kg / 198 lb 23.9

source: height and weight data was collected from Wikipedia profiles of each athlete, and when none was available, from the sports-reference.com website.

Notes: No data was found for 1948 winner Walter "Wally" Ris, though he is described as tall and also looks it too in a photo found online.

Height changes over time

The average height of the Olympic 100m freestyle champion has significantly increased since the 1904 Games. The tallest winner has been Matt Biondi in 1988 at 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in), and since then all winners have been 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) or taller.

height of Olympic 100m champions

Weight changes over time

The weight of the Olympic 100m freestyle champion has generally increased since the early Olympic Games, in line with changes in height. The heaviest was the 2012 winner Nathan Adrian at 103 kg / 227 lb. The 1932 winner Japan's Yasuji Miyazaki was only 66 kg (146 lb). Don Schollander in 1964 was just 1 cm taller, but weighed 13 kg (29 lbs) heavier.

weight of Olympic 100m champions

BMI changes over time

The BMI of the Olympic 100m freestyle champion has varied from 20.6 up to 26.8. The current champion Nathan Adrian has a BMI of 26.3, a result of a large muscle mass (obvious from photos). Two time winner Alexander Popov was of similar height, but with much less muscle. He weighed 87 kg (192 lb) compared to Adrian's 103 kg (227 lb).

bmi of Olympic 100m champions

Note: This analysis is for illustrative purposes only. The data was from different sources, and may also not accurately represent their measurements at the time of their race.

Related Pages