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Shigeo Arai

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameShigeo•Arai
Used nameShigeo•Arai
Original name新井•茂雄
Born8 August 1916 in Shizuoka, Shizuoka (JPN)
Died19 July 1944 in Imphal, Manipur (IND)
AffiliationsRikkyo University, Tokyo (JPN)
NOC Japan


After dominating at the 1932 Olympics, the Japanese swimmers were slightly less impressive at the 1936 Olympics, but three still contested the 100 m freestyle final. While Masanori Yusa, Masaharu Taguchi, and Shigeo Arai all beat pre-race favorite Peter Fick, the gold went to Ferenc Csík of Hungary. While Arai was awarded the bronze, it is possible he was fortunate to earn a medal at all; photographic evidence does not fully match the official times.

Because of their excellent results, the three Japanese swimmers, with the addition of Shigeo Sugiura, were the clear favorites for the 4x200 m relay event. They dominated the competition, lowering the world record in the process. Due to the political situation and lack of international events, Arai never again swam outside of Japan, but he continued to be a force there. Between 1937 and 1940, he won three Japanese 100 metre freestyle titles, four in the 200 m, and one in the 400 m. He had won his first championship, however, in 1932 in the 100 free.

Following the 1941 season, Arai was forced to enlist in the army. He was killed in action near Imphal in Burma, now part of India, in 1944.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) JPN Shigeo Arai
100 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Japan 1 Gold

Special Notes