KAHANAMOKU Duke (1890-1968) United States / Swimming
This Hawaiian swimmer became a legend in his native islands after gaining recognition as one of the best surfers in the world. There is a statue of him on one of Hawaii's most famous beaches, now a magnet for surf pilgrims.But Duke Kahanamoku also invented the crawl, the fastest swimming style. With a gold medal in the 100 m at both the 1912 and 1920 games, he improved his time by two seconds. He also led the US team to victory in the 4x200 m. Kahanamoku competed in the Olympics for an exceptionally long period of time, continuing right up to the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, where he was a substitute in the water polo team. It was only when his great swimming career ended that he turned to surfing.Until his death, the champ devoted his life to coaching young swimmers. He also appeared in Hollywood movies, playing several roles as a Hawaiian prince.