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Buster Crabbe

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameClarence Linden "Buster"•Crabbe, Jr.
Used nameBuster•Crabbe
Born7 February 1908 in Oakland, California (USA)
Died23 April 1983 in Scottsdale, Arizona (USA)
AffiliationsLos Angeles Allied Athletic Club, Los Angeles (USA)
NOC United States


Buster Crabbe moved to Hawaii as a 2-year-old when his father took a job as an overseer on a pineapple plantation. But he returned to the mainland to attend Southern Cal as an undergrad and a law student and, although he won only one NCAA title, he went on to win 18 AAU championships and set 16 world records. At the 1932 Olympics he was the only U.S. gold medalist in men’s swimming and after the Games, he was signed by Paramount Studios, who were looking for a rival to Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan at MGM. The first of Crabbe’s 175 movies was King of the Jungle in which he played the role of Kasta, the Lion Man. Although he played Tarzan only once, as the star of (B) movies he was never short of work, playing the title role in Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers films in addition to appearing in 65 westerns. Crabbe was a life-long advocate of physical fitness, conducted televised physical fitness programs and in 1971, aged 63, he set a world age group record for the 400m freestyle. He had extensive business interests, including Buster Crabbe Swim Pools.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1928 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) USA Buster Crabbe
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 4
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1932 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) USA Buster Crabbe
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 5

Special Notes


Year of birth incorrectly given as 1910 in many sources.