Arno Bieberstein (GER)
Honor Pioneer Swimmer (1988)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1908 gold (200m backstroke); GERMAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 3 (1905-1907: backstroke); Last Olympic backstroke winner to use inverted breaststroke.
Arno Bieberstein was a three time national backstroke champion in his native Germany (1905-1907) and in Austria. In 1908, Arno won the battle of Shepard’s Bush, the nickname for the 1908 Olympics named after the London area in which the Olympics were held. Bieberstein’s gold medal in backstroke was the last won using a breaststroke on your back. Beginning with Harry Hebner, the 1912 Olympic champion, backstrokers universally have swum an alternate over arm with a flutter kick upside down crawl as opposed to Bieberstein’s inverted breaststroke. Among the heat winners he defeated was Hall of Famer Max Ritter (Germany), who later became the USA’s first President of the FINA.