Duke, the true sportsman! 1916.


Duke Kahanamoku, Greatest of Swimmers.

“The biggest thing in sport? It is the heart to accept defeat gracefully.”

The Duke Kahanamoku, greatest of swimmers, has just been beaten, together with his teammates, in the grueling 300-yard exposition relay swim at San Francisco by the Illinois Athletic club.

His smile and unstinted praise for the victors gave his words a personal application. “The duke” knows how to lose as well as to win.

Others there were at the swimming meet who grumbled and protested under the smart of defeat. But not the big Kanaka world’s champion from the South seas.

“The man who mopes when he’s beaten,” said Kahanamoku, “shows something in his make-up which will usually prevent him from winning high honors. He’s not a sportsman. A man’s got to keep cheerful to be a victor.

“It is particularly necessary that the youngsters who expect to make records keep that in mind—not to feel bitter over defeat. Keep smiling and trying. A smile develops energy.”

In this respect the Hawaiian youngsters who swam as the duke’s teammates are following his precepts. Cunha—undoubtedly a coming champ—Kaupiko, Lane and Kreuger; they know how to lose and smile, how to win without braggadocio.

Kahanamoku, who won the 50-yard dash, the 220-yard and the 100-yard dash in the exposition meet, believes that he gets a good deal of his phenomenal sprinting power by keeping his body lower in the water than most of the crack American short-distance men.

“I have observed,” he said, “that many of your fastest swimmers here use their feet on the surface, splashing a great deal. I, on the contrary, keep my feet underneath. I believe that gives me much more driving force in the crawl stroke. No energy is wasted.”

Not content with his wonderful swimming prowess, the holder of the world’s 50-yard and 100-yard records is now going in for sculling, tennis and baseball, not alone to satisfy his own ambitions, but to lend his influence in broadening the sport activities in the islands, especially among the young men.

[I ran across this article found in a Mississippi newspaper by chance on Chronicling America today. They feature the front pages of different newspapers that were printed this day a hundred years ago. This reminded me of the exhibit at the Bishop Museum featuring Duke Kahanamoku that has been extended until February 28. If you have not seen it yet, go check it out!]

(Southern Herald, 1/14/1916, p. 1)


The Southern Herald, Volume XLX, Number 40, Page 1. January 14, 1916.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s