MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian swimming was in mourning on Monday after the death of Olympic gold medallist John Konrads at the age of 78.
Latvia-born Konrads, who learned to swim at a migrants camp in rural New South Wales state, won the 1,500m freestyle gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics and set a raft of world records as a teenager in the late 1950s.
Along with sister Ilsa, who won a freestyle relay silver at Rome, the two were known as the “Konrads Kids”.
“As a swimming sensation in the 1950’s and 60’s, John Konrads dominated the world swimming scene, breaking every freestyle world record between 200m – 1,500m by the time he was 15,” Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand said in a statement.
“Our condolences are with his sister Ilsa, the Konrads family and the many lives John touched within the swimming and broader communities.”
John Konrads kept the Olympic 1,500m gold in Australian hands, edging silver medallist Murray Rose, who won the 1956 title in Melbourne.
Konrads also won bronze in the 400m freestyle and 4x200m relay at Rome.
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