Louis Kuehn (USA)
Honor Pioneer Diver (1988)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1900 gold (200m backstroke). First Olympic backstroke champion.
Nineteen year old Louis “Happy” Kuehn was so unheralded before the 1920 Olympics that his home club (The Multnomah Club of Portland, Oregon) decided not to send him to the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Instead his father paid for his train ticket and entry fee. “Hap” made the U.S. team and won the springboard diving gold medal at Antwerp defeating his teammates Clarence Pinkston and Louis Balbach in a one-two-three U.S. sweep. “Hap”, a product of Hall of Fame coach Jack Cody, was never overlooked by the Multnomah Club again. He was the student-coach and player-coach of swimming and diving while a student at Oregon State University just after his Olympic victory. Twenty years later, Kuehn, a Northwestern law school graduate, was still diving and served as a swimming instructor for the U.S. Navy in World War II. He is an honoree in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and a lifetime member of the Multnomah Athletic Club.