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| Event type

100 metres Backstroke, Men

Date30 July – 1 August 1952
StatusOlympic
LocationHelsingin Uimastadion, Helsinki
Participants38 from 25 countries
Olympic Record 1:05.9 / Adolph Kiefer USA / 14 August 1936

Earlier in 1952 the world record had been traded between the Frenchman Gilbert Bozon and the man who had won the title in London, America’s Allan Stack. By the time the Helsinki Games came around the man in the best form turned out to be another American, the Japanese-Hawaiian Yoshi Oyakawa. Oyakawa recorded the fastest times at all stages of the competition and broke the Olympic record, which had stood since 1936, in both semi-final and final. A minor piece of history occurred in heat 5 of the first round when the Soviet Union’s Leonid Sagayduk raced against the sole Chinese competitor in Helsinki, Wu Chuanyu. The rest of the Chinese team had been stranded in Leningrad due to a visa problem and were unable to reach Helsinki. It was not until thirty-six years later in Seoul that competitors from these two countries would meet again at a Summer Olympics.

PosSwimmerNOCR1SFFinal
1Yoshi OyakawaUSA1:06.0 (1 h4)1:05.7 (1 h1)1:05.4 (1)Gold
2Gilbert BozonFRA1:07.8 (1 h1)1:06.6 (1 h2)1:06.2 (2)Silver
3Jack TaylorUSA1:07.2 (1 h3)1:07.0 (2 h2)1:06.4 (3)Bronze
4Allen StackUSA1:08.9 (2 h1)1:08.0 (4 h1)1:07.6 (4)
5Pedro GalvãoARG1:08.1 (1 h2)1:07.9 (3 h1)1:07.7 (5)
6Bert WardropGBR1:09.9 (3 h1)1:08.6 (4 h2)1:07.8 (6)
7Boris ŠkanataYUG1:07.5 (2 h3)1:07.8 (2 h1)1:08.1 (7)
8Lin MeiringRSA1:08.5 (2 h4)1:07.6 (3 h2)1:08.3 (8)
9John BrockwayGBR1:08.8 (1 h5)1:09.0 (5 h1)
10Viktor SolovyovURS1:09.5 (2 h6)1:09.6 (5 h2)
=11João Gonçalves FilhoBRA1:09.7 (3 h3)1:09.7 (6 h2)
=11Egidio MassariaITA1:08.8 (1 h6)1:09.7 (7 h2)
=13Fernando PavanBRA1:09.1 (3 h4)1:10.2 (6 h1)
=13Lincoln HurringNZL1:09.6 (3 h6)1:10.2 (7 h1)
=15Lucien ZinsFRA1:09.7 (2 h5)1:10.5 (8 h1)
=15Jitse van der VeenNED1:09.1 (4 h4)1:10.5 (8 h2)
17Ilo da FonsecaBRA1:09.9 (3 h5)
18László GyöngyösiHUN1:10.0 (4 h6)
19Yasumasu NishinoJPN1:10.1 (2 h2)
20Ladislav BačíkTCH1:10.2 (4 h3)
21Frank O'NeillAUS1:10.5 (5 h6)
22Imre NyékiHUN1:10.6 (5 h3)
=23Norihiko KurahashiJPN1:10.7 (4 h1)
=23Clemente MejíaMEX1:10.7 (3 h2)
25Vladimir LopatinURS1:10.8 (5 h1)
26Leonid SagaydukURS1:11.4 (4 h5)
27Helmut KoppelstätterAUT1:11.9 (4 h2)
28Wu ChuanyuCHN1:12.3 (5 h5)
29Hermann GerickeSUI1:12.6 (5 h2)
30Eduardo BarbeiroPOR1:13.0 (6 h5)
31Jerzy BonieckiPOL1:13.4 (6 h2)
32Eurico SurgeyPOR1:13.7 (7 h2)
33Peter SalmonCAN1:13.8 (6 h3)
34Lucien BeaumontCAN1:14.2 (6 h1)
35Erkki MarttinenFIN1:15.2 (6 h6)
36Tom PettersenNOR1:15.4 (7 h3)
37Khamlillal ShahIND1:18.3 (7 h1)
38Bijoy BarmanIND1:27.3 (5 h4)
DNSDorri Abdel KaderEGY– (DNS h4)
DNSAngelo RomaniITA– (DNS h4)
DNSGuillermo FierroMEX– (DNS h5)
DNSRan ChandnaniIND– (DNS h6)

Round One (30 July 1952 — 10:00)

Fastest 16 advanced to the semi-finals.

Heat One

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
14Gilbert BozonFRA1:07.8Q
23Allen StackUSA1:08.9Q
32Bert WardropGBR1:09.9q
47Norihiko KurahashiJPN1:10.7
55Vladimir LopatinURS1:10.8
66Lucien BeaumontCAN1:14.2
71Khamlillal ShahIND1:18.3

Heat Two

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
17Pedro GalvãoARG1:08.1Q
26Yasumasu NishinoJPN1:10.1
31Clemente MejíaMEX1:10.7
42Helmut KoppelstätterAUT1:11.9
53Hermann GerickeSUI1:12.6
64Jerzy BonieckiPOL1:13.4
75Eurico SurgeyPOR1:13.7

Heat Three

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
14Jack TaylorUSA1:07.2Q
23Boris ŠkanataYUG1:07.5Q
32João Gonçalves FilhoBRA1:09.7Q
46Ladislav BačíkTCH1:10.2
57Imre NyékiHUN1:10.6
61Peter SalmonCAN1:13.8
75Tom PettersenNOR1:15.4

Heat Four

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
15Yoshi OyakawaUSA1:06.0Q
21Lin MeiringRSA1:08.5Q
34Fernando PavanBRA1:09.1Q
42Jitse van der VeenNED1:09.1Q
56Bijoy BarmanIND1:27.3
DNS3Dorri Abdel KaderEGY
DNS7Angelo RomaniITA

Heat Five

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
15John BrockwayGBR1:08.8Q
21Lucien ZinsFRA1:09.7Q
32Ilo da FonsecaBRA1:09.9q
43Leonid SagaydukURS1:11.4
56Wu ChuanyuCHN1:12.3
64Eduardo BarbeiroPOR1:13.0
DNS7Guillermo FierroMEX

Heat Six

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
17Egidio MassariaITA1:08.8Q
23Viktor SolovyovURS1:09.5Q
34Lincoln HurringNZL1:09.6Q
42László GyöngyösiHUN1:10.0
55Frank O'NeillAUS1:10.5
66Erkki MarttinenFIN1:15.2
DNS1Ran ChandnaniIND

Swim-Off

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
1Bert WardropGBR1:07.8Q
2Ilo da FonsecaBRA1:09.5

Semi-Finals (31 July 1952 — 17:00)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
1Yoshi OyakawaUSA1:05.7QOR
2Boris ŠkanataYUG1:07.8Q
3Pedro GalvãoARG1:07.9Q
4Allen StackUSA1:08.0Q
5John BrockwayGBR1:09.0
6Fernando PavanBRA1:10.2
7Lincoln HurringNZL1:10.2
8Lucien ZinsFRA1:10.5

Heat Two

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
1Gilbert BozonFRA1:06.6Q
2Jack TaylorUSA1:07.0Q
3Lin MeiringRSA1:07.6Q
4Bert WardropGBR1:08.6Q
5Viktor SolovyovURS1:09.6
6João Gonçalves FilhoBRA1:09.7
7Egidio MassariaITA1:09.7
8Jitse van der VeenNED1:10.5

Final (1 August 1952 — 17:00)

PosLaneSwimmerNOCTime
1Yoshi OyakawaUSA1:05.4OR
2Gilbert BozonFRA1:06.2
3Jack TaylorUSA1:06.4
4Allen StackUSA1:07.6
5Pedro GalvãoARG1:07.7
6Bert WardropGBR1:07.8
7Boris ŠkanataYUG1:08.1
8Lin MeiringRSA1:08.3