Kahanamoku, Duke

Kahanamoku, Duke,

1890–1968, American swimmer and surfer, b. Honolulu. A native Hawaiian, he was an excellent swimmer, surfer, and canoeist, and by 1911 he was setting Amateur Athletic Union swimming records, some of which were not recognized until years later. He won the gold medal in the 100-m freestyle and a silver medal in the freestyle relay at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic games, gold medals in both events in 1920 at Antwerp, and silver in the 100-m freestyle in 1924 at Paris. Kahanamoku also traveled widely, giving swimming and surfing demonstrations and popularizing the latter, which had been little known outside Hawaii. Kahanamoku moved to California in 1923 and appeared in movies, then returned to Hawaii, where he served as sheriff of Honolulu (1934–60).
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Kahanamoku, Duke (Paoa)

(1890–1968) swimmer, surfer; born in Hawaii. He revolutionized sprint swimming by introducing the flutter kick, and for 20 years was an international freestyle champion. A member of Olympic teams from 1912 to 1932, he won gold medals in 1912 and 1920. In addition, he is generally regarded as having introduced surfboarding (practiced for centuries by Pacific islanders) to the West, starting with Australia and California about 1912. After a brief movie career, he was sheriff of Honolulu (1932–61).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.