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ISHOF
 Gold Medallion Award


The International Swimming Hall of Fame Gold Medallion Award is presented each year to a former competitive swimmer for his or her national or international significant achievements in the field of science, entertainment, art, business, education, or government. There are no restrictions other than the recipient must be an outstanding adult whose life has served as an inspiration for youth.



Presenting the ISHOF Gold Medallion Award Winners...

2007
Adolph Kiefer
Adolph Kiefer
Swimmer


As a child he hated getting water up his nose; so, he swam on his back. His father, a German born candy-maker died when he was only 12, but encouraged his son to be the "best swimmer in the world". Working furiously tomake this a reality, he swamin any pool he could. On Sunday's, he would hop onto trucks, jump streetcars, anything to get to the only available pool at the Jewish Community Center. He firmly believes that the reason he became a world champion is simple, he swam more than anyone else.

At the 1933 World's Fair, he worked as a lifeguard in the Baby Ruth pool, which hosted exhibitions by swimming champions. Kiefer pestered one recognizable figure in attendance Tex Robertson, captain of the University ofMichigan swim team, until Tex finally agreed to coach him. That Thanksgiving, Adolph Kiefer hitchhiked to Michigan where Robertson coached him. Another coach, Matt Mann inquired, "Who's that kid in the pool?" Robertson replied, "Kiefer, I'm helping him." Taking out his watch, Mann said, "Let's see that kid swim a hundred". Kiefer swam it. Mann looked at his watch and said -- "I don't believe this … do it again!" Kiefer did. Dumbfounded Mann replied, "You just broke the world record -- twice!"

Adolph Kiefer became the first man to break the 100 yds backstroke under one minute. One year later at just 18, at the 1936 Olympics he broke the world record three times! Throughout his era, he was the proud holder of every official world backstroke record for men. None of his backstroke records were broken until 1950, four years after he retired from competition. In more than 2000 races, he lost only twice.While there may be some speculation as to whether Adolph Kiefer actually invented the modern backstroke, no one can deny he perfected it.

Kiefer became an international phenomenon. MadisonAvenue cashed in on hismarketing appeal, Hollywood offered him the golden screen promising him"lover" roles. Married, Kiefer abandoned such notions returning home to his wife and children.

Aman with such passion, it is no surprise thatAdolph Kiefer gives back to his beloved sport whenever possible. As a lieutenant inWorldWar II, he conducted a global survey of shipwrecks, documenting the enormous and unnecessary toll of GI deaths resulting from inadequate swimming instruction. 25% of the white sailors were non-swimmers, compared to 90% of blacks. He told his commanding officer more lives were being lost due to drowning than bullets! Consequently, he was elevated to officer in charge of swimming for the entire Navy. As a result, over 33,000 navy swimming instructors learned how to stay alive in the water, ultimately saving countless lives.

In 1946, he established Adolph Kiefer & Co. -- a sporting goods store that retailed and manufactured "everything but the water". His first marketable product was the "Kiefer" suit. The silk shortage from WWII caused Kiefer to consider using nylon fabric for suits as the full body competitive suit requirement had just been lifted. Adolph offered a viable option to the wool suits still worn by many beach-goers. The "Kiefer" suits were great for swimmers, improved everyone's time, no matter how risqué for the era.

SinceWorldWar II, Kiefer has remained a prominent figure in the swimming world serving as a liaison between the aquatic industry and competitive swimming. His company provides official aquatic supplies in every capacity, including numerous Olympics. Adolph donates much of his time and efforts helping youngsters learn to swim -- even supplying pools in many impoverished neighborhoods. His ambitious schedule of lecturing, philanthropy and coaching has done much to make America a "swimmingly safe nation" fashionably appareled.

Today,Adolph Kiefer continues to run his business with his beloved wife Joyce. Swimming has never forsaken him; he still seeks out a pool for his daily swim.

      Esther Williams
2007
Esther Williams
Julian (Tex) Robertson
2006
Jim Press
Julian (Tex) Robertson
2005
E. Clay Shaw
cirque
2004
Cirque du Soleil "O"
Julian (Tex) Robertson
2003
Julian "Tex" Robertson

 

Dick Pound
2002
Richard W. Pound

Sandra Baldwin
2001
Sandra Baldwin
Gregory J. Bonann
2000
Gregory J. Bonann
Mayor James Whelan
1999
Mayor James Whelan

Rogers B.
1998
Rogers B. "Tiger" Holmes

Paul W. Bucha
1997
Paul W. Bucha

Joao Havelange
1996
Joao Havelange


Buddy Ebsen
1996
Buddy Ebsen


Jim Moran
1995
Jim Moran

Paul Tsongas
1993
Paul Tsongas

Andrew Young
1992
Andrew Young

Donna deVarona
1991
Donna deVarona

Dr. James E. Counsilman
1990
Dr. James E. Counsilman

Fred M. Kirby III
1989
Fred M. Kirby II

Ronald Reagan
1988
Ronald Reagan

Willard Garvey
1987
Willard Garvey

Captain David McCampbell
1986
Captain David McCampbell

William E. Simon
1985
William E. Simon

Art Linkletter
1984
Art Linkletter

Barry Goldwater
1983
Barry Goldwater


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