100m Freestyle Swimming at the Olympic Games

The men's 100m freestyle swimming race has been on the Olympic Program since the first Olympic Games in 1896. Many people consider it the blue riband swimming event, and over the years it has provided many highlights and many celebrities and personalities. See more about Olympic Swimming Events.

There was no 100m freestyle event in 1900, and in 1904 it was raced over 100 yards.

There have been four athletes who have won the event twice. The most successful country is the USA, though Australia and Hungary have also provided a few winners.

Year Winner Country Winning Time (secs) Notes
1896 Alfréd Hajós Hungary 82.2 The race was held in the Mediterranean Sea, with swimmers having to battle the elements to get to shore. Hajós went on to play in the Hungarian national football team, and also became a world renowned architect, winning another Olympic medal in 1924 for architecture.
1900 - There was no 100 freest lye event on the program. A 200m freestyle was the closest event.
1904 Zoltán Halmay Hungary 62.8 He also came second in 1906 and 1908. This event was raced over 100 yards, the only time it was so.
1906 Charles Daniels USA 73.0  
1908 Charles Daniels USA 65.6  
1912 Duke Kahanamoku USA 63.4 Kahanamoku nearly missed the final, as the American swimmers did not turn up for the semis, believing that they had already qualified for the final. Luckily the officials allowed an extra race for him to qualify. Later he went to Hollywood to be an actor. One of his films triggered the boom of surfing. His bronze monument can be seen at the Waikiki beach in Honolulu.
1920 Duke Kahanamoku USA 60.4 Kahanamoku won his second Olympic title in 1920 on his 30th birthday. The final was re-run after a protest, with Kahanamoku winning both races.
1924 Johnny Weissmuller USA 59.0 The USA had a clean sweep of the medals, with brothers Duke and Sam Kahanamoku filling the places.
1928 Johnny Weissmuller USA 58.6 Weissmuller later became known for playing Tarzan at the movies.
1932 Yasuji Miyazaki Japan 58.2 Miyazaki was only 15 years old.
1936 Ferenc Csik Hungary 57.6 A medical doctor, Csik died at the age of 32 in Sopron in an allied bombing raid while he was tending patients.
1948 Wally Ris USA 57.3
1952 Clarke Scholes USA 57.4 In a close finish, second placed Hiroshi Suzuki was given the same time.
1956 Jon Henricks Australia 55.4 It was a clean sweep for Australia – the first time ever Australia had swept any Olympic event. Interestingly, the USA filled the next three places.
1960 John Devitt Australia 55.2 A controversial result, many believe the winner should have been Lance Larson who was awarded the silver.
1964 Don Schollander USA 53.4  
1968 Michael Wenden Australia 52.2  
1972 Mark Spitz USA 51.22 This was one of Spitz's seven gold medals at the Munich Games, all won in world record time.
1976 Jim Montgomery USA 49.99 Won in world record time, the first man to swim 100 metres in under 50 seconds
1980 Jörg Woithe Germany 50.40  
1984 Rowdy Gaines USA 49.80  
1988 Matt Biondi USA 48.63  
1992 Alexander Popov Unified Team 49.02 Pre-race favorite Biondi finished 5th
1996 Alexander Popov Russia 48.74  
2000 Pieter van den Hoogenband Netherlands 48.30 There was just as much fanfare for "Eric the Eel" Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea, who took 112.72 seconds in his heat. Popov finished second.
2004 Pieter van den Hoogenband Netherlands 48.17  
2008 Alain Bernard France 47.21 reigning champion van den Hoogenband finished 5th
2012 Nathan Adrian USA 47.52  

Related Pages