Swimming at the Olympics
Swimming is one of the most popular sports on the Olympic Games program. It is one of five sports that have been contested at every summer Olympic Games since 1896. The others are: Athletics, Cycling, Fencing, and Gymnastics.
For the 2020 Games in Tokyo, there will be a total of 35 swimming events in the pool, 17 events for both men and women, and a 4 × 100 metre medley relay mixed. The 2020 Tokyo Games will include for the first time the women's 1,500 and the men's 800, finally equalizing the available events for men and momen. The other swimming event at the Olympics is the marathon 10km open-water swimming race for men and women.
- freestyle: 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m
- backstroke: 100m and 200m
- breaststroke: 100m and 200m
- butterfly: 100m and 200m
- medley: 200m and 400m
- freestyle relay: 4 x 100m, 4 x 200m
- medley relay: 4 x 100m (men, women, mixed)
- open water: 10km
- In 1896, a boat dropped everyone into the icy waters of the Mediterranean, and the first swimmer to shore won. That first gold medalist in swimming was Hungarian Alfred Hajos. He was quoted as saying "My will to live completely overcame my desire to win".
- The 1900 Paris swimming events were held in the River Siene, which meant that the contestants had to contend with the strong current too.
- The London Olympics in 1908 was the first time a swimming pool (100 m) was used for swimming events. Prior to that, the site for the swimming events were the sea (1896), the River Seine (1900), and a little lake in St. Louis, USA (1904).
- There have been some unusual swimming events at the early Olympic Games, including the plunge for distance, underwater swimming race and the swimming obstacle race.
- Women competed in swimming events for the first time at the Olympic in 1912, but none of them were from USA, as that country did not allow its female athletes to compete in events without long skirts.
- The first women's swimming gold medal was won by the Australian Sarah 'Fanny' Durack, who won the 100m freestyle in 1912.
- In 1924, Johnny Weissmuller won three golds and a bronze in water-based events; he later became known for playing Tarzan at the movies.
- In 1936, Denmark's 12-year-old Inge Sorensen won a bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke, making her the youngest medalist ever in an individual event.
- The Butterfly event in swimming was "invented" for the 1956 Games after some swimmers had begun to exploit a loophole in the breaststroke rules.
- In 1996, Amy Van Dyken of the U.S. won four gold medals in swimming. Also, Ireland's Michelle Smith won three golds and a bronze in swimming. Smith was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs; this remained unproven, but she was suspended in 1998 for tampering with a urine sample.
- Mark Spitz from USA won seven gold medals at the Munich Games in 1972, and won them all in world record time.
- In 1980, Russian swimmer Vladimir Salnikov became the first swimmer ever under 15 minutes (14:58.27) in the 1500m freestyle.
- In 1984, US Swimmers Nancy Hogshead and Carie Steinseifer registered the first tie in Olympic history in the 100-meter freestyle. Both swimmers touched the wall at 55.92.
- In 2000, 17-year-old Ian Thorpe of Australia won four medals (three gold) in swimming, breaking his own world record in the 400m freestyle.
- In 2000, Eric "the Eel" Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea was the year's lovable loser, taking 112.72 seconds in the 100m freestyle event — more than twice as long as Pieter van den Hoogenband's gold-winning performance. (more about Eric the Eel)
- An 10km Open Water Swimming event was added to the Olympic program for the first time in 2008.
- In 2008, US swimmer Michael Phelps became the most successful man at a single Olympic Games by winning eight gold medals. His total medal haul of 23 golds between 2004–2016 is the most out of all sports. See more on the Greatest Swimmers at the Olympics.
- Details of the 100m freestyle at the Olympic Games
- About the sporting discipline of Aquatics at the Olympics
- Olympic Games Swimming Quiz
- Anthropometric comparison of Olympic champions in the 100m freestyle.
- See more on the Greatest Swimmers at the Olympics.
- More information about the sport of swimming
- See also information about swimming at the Commonwealth Games
- About swimming at the FINA World Swimming Championships
- Swimming at the Paralympics
- List of Olympic Sports
- Olympic Highlights: Eric the Eel