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AP Was There: Don Schollander wins 4 gold medals in swimming

EDITOR’S NOTE — With the Tokyo Olympics postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press is looking back at the history of Summer Games. This story was transmitted from Tokyo during the 1964 Olympics. The story appeared on Oct. 19, 1964 in the Victoria Daily Times in British Columbia, Canada. It looks at the four gold medals won in swimming by American Don Schollander — a record at the time — and three gold and a silver by fellow American Sharon Stouder. It is reprinted here as it ran in the Victoria Daily Times (British Columbia, Canada), using the contemporary style terminology and including any published errors.

U.S. Pair Big Fish At Tokyo —- By JIM BECKER —- TOKYO (AP) — Don Schollander and Sharon Stouder made quite a swimming team all by themselves. They won seven gold medals and one silver between them in the Tokyo Olympics, and each wound up by swimming on a winning relay team in the windup Sunday night.

Schollander, the greatest thing to hit swim-mad Japan since instant rice, says he's worried that he won't be hungry anymore. Schollander, 18, from Oswego, Ore., is the first man to win four gold medals in Olympic swimming. He took the 100- and 400-metre freestyle and swam legs on the winning 400-metre medley and 800-metre freestyle relays.

Don's 200 in the 800 relay was the fastest ever swum — he holds the world record — but can't count because it came on the anchor leg. Over on the girls' team, Sharon, a 15-year-old blonde with close-chopped hair, was only edged out for four gold medals by Australia's fabulous Dawn Fraser, who beat Sharon by a couple of feet in the 100-metre freestyle.

After the last race, she joined her teammates for a mass interview. “Why, they are just children,”a reporter said, although the girls average nearly 17 years. The four — backstroker Cathy Ferguson, breaststroker Cindy Goyette, Sharon and Kathy Ellis in the freestyle — look young for their ages.

And so much alike the best way to tell them apart would be to throw them in the water and see which stroke they swim. Sharon is a high school girl in Glendora, Calif. Schollander will enter Yale when he gets home.

That is if the Japanese ever let him go. His mother and father said before the race that they had shipped off to a Japanese orphanage some 80 boxes of gifts Don had received from fans in Japan.

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