The Father of Modern Surfing
Swimmer Duke Kahanamoku of Hawaii made his first Olympic appearance in 1912. Competing in the 100m freestyle, he equalled the world record in a qualifying heat.
In the final, he was so far ahead that at the halfway point that he was able to look back and survey the field.
Despite this pause, he won by two metres. He also earned a silver medal as a member of the U.S. freestyle team.
The 1916 Olympics were cancelled because of war, but when the Games resumed in 1920, Kahanamoku was there to defend his title. He matched his own world record in the semifinals and then broke it in the final. Because of a dispute, the final was ordered to be reswum. Undaunted, Kahanamoku won again. He added a third career gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Kahanamoku returned to the Olympics in 1924 and finished second to Johnny Weissmuller in the 100m freestyle. Duke's brother, Sam, placed third in the same race.
In 1920 Duke also represented the United States in water polo. Kahanamoku later acted in minor parts in 28 Hollywood films and played a major role in introducing the sport of surfing around the world.