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Masaru Furukawa

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMasaru•Furukawa
Used nameMasaru•Furukawa
Original name古川•勝
Born6 January 1936 in Hashimoto, Wakayama (JPN)
Died21 November 1993
NOC Japan


Japanese Masaru Furukawa was the top breaststroker of the world in the mid-1950s. With a technique which kept him underwater for more than half of a distance, he set four 200 metre breaststroke world records (2:36.6 [1954], 2:35.4 [1954], 2:33.7 [1955] and 2:31.0 [1955]) and won the 200 breaststroke gold at the 1956 Olympics.

After the 1956 Olympics, the Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) banned his style of underwater swimming, limiting the distance that can be swum underwater after the start and after every turn, and requiring the head to break the surface on each lap. Furukawa last competed internationally at the 1958 Asian Games, where he won gold medals in the 200 breast and medley relay. Four years earlier, at the 1954 Asian Games, Furukawa had won silver in the 200 m breaststroke. He was also part of three medley relay world records set by Japanese teams in 1957 (4:17.8) and 1958 (4:17.2 / 4:16.7).

Furukawa graduated from Nihon University and later worked with the Daimaru Department Store in Kyoto until his retirement as director of the foreign business planning department in the 1980s. He later operated his own swimming school. Furukawa was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) in 1981.

Personal Bests: 200 m breaststroke – 2:31.0 (1955).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) JPN Masaru Furukawa
200 metres Breaststroke, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes