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The First Superstar

Johnny Weissmuller was swimming’s first superstar by winning five Olympic gold medals. He won the 100m freestyle and the 4x200m relay team event at both the 1924 Paris Games and 1928 Amsterdam Games. He also won gold in the 400m freestyle and a bronze medal in the water polo competition in Paris.

World record breaker

Over the course of his career, Weissmuller set 28 world records. His 1927 world record for the 100 yard freestyle was unbeaten for 17 years. This was a remarkable length of time during a period of rapid development in the sport. Much of his success was due to his revolutionary high-riding stroke, flutter kick and head-turning breathing.

Still the greatest?

Weissmuller won far fewer gold medals than more recent swimming icons such as Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps. But this was due to the limited number of events available to him. Given the margin of superiority he had over his rivals, some experts still regard him as the greatest swimmer of all time.


After his swimming career, Weissmuller became a movie star. Cast as “Tarzan the Ape Man”, he starred in 12 films and became the actor most commonly identified with the character.



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Swimming with Tarzan | Paris 1924

Duke Kahanamoku vs. Johnny Weissmuller: a rivalry that stared in the pool in Paris 1924 and transcended to the silver screen.
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Olympians that turned actors

Have a look back of Olympic Athletes who switched the rings for a star.
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Tarzan sets the swimming tone and supermen Spitz and Phelps take it on

Movie celebrities raised profile in the pool, but multiple Olympic medal winners have shattered their times and become true megastars.
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Johnny Weissmuller (USA)

A part of Hollywood legend for his role as Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller was nonetheless an accomplished swimmer. At the Paris 1924 Games, he won gold in the 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay. We see him here after his 400m freestyle surrounded by his fellow medal-winners, Sweden’s Arne Borg (2nd, on the right) and the USA’s Andrew Charlton (3rd, on the left)

Johnny Weissmuller - First Swimming Superstar

American Johnny Weissmuller was one of the greatest swimmers of all time. He went on to capture a total of six medals during his Olympic career. At the 1924 Games, he won the 100m event in world record time (58.6 seconds), Weissmuller also claimed the 400m freestyle and 4x200m relay team Olympic titles and a bronze medal in water polo. Four years later, Weissmuller successfully defended his 100m freestyle and 4x200m relay team Olympic titles. Johnny Weissmuller (USA) - Swimming - Amsterdam 1928
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Paris 1924-WEISSMÜLLER John (USA) 1st.


  • Games
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    100m freestyle men
    G 9:36.2
    4x200m freestyle relay men
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    Water Polo
    water polo men
    G 0:59.0
    100m freestyle men
    G 9:53.4
    4x200m freestyle relay men
    G 5:04.2
    400m freestyle men

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