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tBBC Making the List: Yoshi Oyakawa

Discussion in 'News' started by jcollingsworth, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Making the List: Yoshi Oyakawa
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    Its still winter…basketball is certainly dominant on our minds. There’s hockey too, and of course wrestling. But shall we jump? Let’s talk swimming.

    Yoshi Oyakawa was born August 9, 1933 in Kona, Hawaii. He was a natural swimmer from the beginning according to his parents. He began competitively late for a swimmer – 15 years old. But once he spun on his back in the water, he says at 16, he became unstoppable. He was off to the Olympics at 18.

    When he won the 100 meter backstroke at the Helsinki Olympic Games in 1952 he beat Adolph Kiefer’s Olympic record which had stood since 1936. Yoshi had nailed a time of 1:05.4. Adolph Kiefer’s time which had ruled was 1:05.9. Yoshi has been referred to as the last of the straight-armed backstrokers. He would participate in a second Olympics (1956 Melbourne). He never repeated his success of Helsinki.

    Yoshi had decided to travel from Hawaii and swim for The Ohio State University. With the Buckeyes he would win six AAU titles, including the backstroke double in 1953 and 1955. He would score a double for Ohio State at the NCAA title games of 1953, 1954, and 1955.

    For the record: Yoshi holds a gold medal (100 meters backstroke) in that memorable 1952 Helsinki match. During his time in Columbus he would win the Buckeyes 7 gold in NCAA Championship matches; 9 gold in The Big Ten Matches. And he would hold world records in the 100 yard & 100 meter backstroke.

    The Hawaiian who found a home in Columbus would be a phenomenal talent during an era that highlighted the sport of swimming with more enthusiasm than today. Others have certainly bested Yoshi in his times for the 100 yard and 100 meter world records but no one has done it better straight-armed. The newer bent-arm techniques have generated the need to keep notice of the old and valued technique of the straight-arm. Therefore Yoshi’s records remain intact. He is indeed the fastest ever straight-armed backstroker in history.


    Men’s 100M Backstroke


    Yoshi Oyakawa would remain in Ohio, marrying his college sweetheart. He has stayed active and is a testament to the discussion of who are the better athletes. Yoshi makes a strong case that swimmers are at the age of 83.

    It only makes since to include Yoshi to Making the List. It makes sense on at least two levels: 1) He deserves it. 2) He is an Olympian Gold Medalist. And I should add a third reason – 3) He holds a world record. Yoshi is a Buckeye and we are grateful that he is.

    The post Making the List: Yoshi Oyakawa appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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