Swimming World Presents “Calling All Troublemakers: A Historical Look At Sprinters, Part 1”

Swimming World July 2020 - Calling All Troublemakers - A Historical Look At Sprinters - Bruce Wigo - Photo From ISHOF

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Calling All Troublemakers: A Historical Look At Sprinters Part 1

By Bruce Wigo


Sprinters are a different breed of swimmer. They’re not just free spirits, but they seem to be rule breakers and troublemakers who also are catalysts for positive change. In the first of a two-part feature, Swimming World takes a look at the stories of two of the most well-known female sprinters who fit this image: Dawn Fraser and Eleanor Holm.

In 2014, Puma, the German shoe company founded in 1948, was struggling and needed to create a new brand identity. Their ad agency, J. Walter Thompson, came up with “Forever Faster.”

The ad campaign featured Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man on the running track, who was “calling all troublemakers” to join him for “danger, risk and potential fugitive status,” adding “obedience will be discouraged.”

At the time, a spokesperson for the company said the campaign was designed to bring “the values of determination, confidence, bravery and joy to the world of sport. ‘Faster’ is how Puma will challenge the rule breakers and ignite the trendsetters as an unstoppable force in the industry.”

THE INDOMITABLE DAWN FRASER
Perhaps it was just a coincidence that Puma’s “Faster” campaign was launched on the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, when one of the greatest swimmers of all time was tossed in jail and banned from competition for 10 years!

In the year leading up to the Tokyo Games, 26-year-old Dawn Fraser held every sprint record in the books, yards and meters. She had broken her first world record in 1956, when she erased Dutch swimmer Willy den Ouden’s name from the record books in the 100 meter freestyle, an event in which den Ouden had held the global mark for more than 20 years!

She was unbeatable! But as she aged, her individualistic personality began to reveal itself. She was a rebel and got into a lot of trouble with the ASU (Australian Swimming Union) because of it.

She was considered “old” by the standards of the day. Her main rivals were teenagers, and she eschewed the monastic training schedules other swimmers observed because, as she said, she was lazy, she liked to sleep in, eat steaks and ice cream, and keep late hours. She also once boasted: “I am the best beer drinker in Australia.”

But she was also an incredible talent who knew when she needed to work hard…and when she did, she outworked everyone. Referring to the spartan training methods the coaches wanted her to do, she said, “I think one of the reasons I have lasted as long as I have is that I have not let the sport change my life. I let myself go once in a while.”

ELEANOR HOLM: NOT JUST ANOTHER PRETTY FACE
Eleanor Holm had earned her first spot on the U.S. Olympic team at the age of 14 and finished in a tie for fifth place in the 100 meter backstroke at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.

But Eleanor wasn’t just a good swimmer…she was a looker, too. As a 17-year-old, she was offered a job as a showgirl with Ziegfeld’s Follies, but declined in order to train for the ’32 Olympics. After easily winning the gold medal at the 1932 Games, she stayed in Los Angeles and signed an acting contract with Warner Brothers before marrying bandleader Art Jarrett in 1933.

Early in 1935, she bought her way out of her acting contract and started training and breaking her records in morning workouts—even after late-night singing gigs with her husband’s band. After winning the U.S. Olympic Tryouts in 1936, reporters asked her how she was going to train on the boat ride to Germany, and she half-jokingly replied, “On champagne and cigarettes.” That she would win in Berlin was taken for granted, champagne or no champagne.

During the trip across the Atlantic, Eleanor was true to her word. After spending the day with her fellow athletes, her nights were spent training on champagne cocktails with reporters and celebrities in the first-class bar. But on the night before the ship was to dock in Europe, Brundage had seen enough. He instructed a chaperone to tell her she was no longer allowed in first class.

“They (the Olympic officials) resented me bitterly because I wasn’t a run-of-the-mill athlete,” said Holm. “The other girls had to struggle to get on the team, and they were afraid of the officials. I couldn’t be compared to a regular athlete. I was a 23-year-old married woman who had been performing in various nightclubs with my husband. How dare some little chaperone come up and tell me to go to bed!”

To read more about the talented and rebellious sprinters Dawn Fraser and Eleanor Holm,
Check out the full issue of Swimming World July 2020, available now!

SW July 2020 - Duncan Scott - Heart of Britain's Successful Surge - Cover[PHOTO CREDIT: IAN MACNICOL]

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Swimming World Magazine July 2020 Issue

FEATURES

017 A NEW HOPE
by Dan D’Addona
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the globe and changed the lives of everyone in the world. Now, there is some light at the end of the tunnel as the world struggles to find normalcy again.

020 ISHOF: “CALLING ALL TROUBLEMAKERS”
by Bruce Wigo
Sprinters are a different breed of swimmer. They’re not just free spirits, but they seem to be rule breakers and troublemakers who also are catalysts for positive change. In the first of a two-part feature, Swimming World takes a look at the stories of two of the most well-known female sprinters who fit this image: Dawn Fraser and Eleanor Holm.

023 GREAT SCOT(T)
by David Rieder
Scotland’s Duncan Scott should be an Olympic medal threat next year in the 100 and 200 free and maybe even the 200 IM, and he will be a key cog for British 800 free and 400 medley relays with gold medal aspirations.

026 TAKEOFF TO TOKYO: A STAR OF SWIMMING…AND HOLLYWOOD
by John Lohn
The latest installment of our Takeoff to Tokyo series looks at the career of the legendary Johnny Weissmuller, one of the first stars in the sport, and then a Hollywood hero.

COACHING

012 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: THE VALUE OF HAND FORCE ANALYSIS: PART IV—FREESTYLE
by Rod Havriluk
The first three articles in this series (Part I—Butterfly, Part II—Backstroke and Part III—Breaststroke) presented information about the value of using hand force analysis to reinforce positive technique elements and identify limitations. The current article includes more general information about force analysis with a freestyle example.

014 AEROBIC OVERLOAD: VOLUME REVISITED (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
Last month, Swimming World examined the role of volume in aquatic training. This month, some of America’s most successful swimmers share how volume shaped their development.

042 Q&A WITH COACH TOM JOHNSON
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN EMILY OVERHOLT AND MARKUS THORMEYER
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

011 DRYSIDE TRAINING: THE NEED FOR STRENGTH
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

046 UP & COMERS: ZACH TOWER
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

010 THE OFFICIAL WORD

019 DID YOU KNOW? NO TO TOPLESS BATHING; HIGH DIVING; AND FIRST FULLY AUTOMATIC ELECTRONIC TIMING SYSTEM

029 2020 AQUATIC DIRECTORY

041 DADS ON DECK

047 GUTTERTALK

048 PARTING SHOT

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Thomas

    Referring to a woman as a “looker” (as done here about E. Holm) is sexist and degrading in the year 2020. Also, these are not women for young readers (really, any readers) to admire given the behavior outlined here, and given Dawn Fraser’s later anti-immigrant and racist statements. These women were not “catalysts for positive change.”

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