Adolph Kiefer, U.S. Olympic swim champ in 1936, dies at 98

1 Comment

Swimmer Adolph Kiefer, a 1936 Olympic champion, died at his Illinois home at age 98 on Friday, according to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Prior to his death, Kiefer was the oldest living U.S. Olympic champion.

Kiefer, a 100m backstroke gold medalist, was still swimming an hour daily at age 95, according to a Chicago Tribune profile in 2014, despite neuropathy in his hands and legs.

“Oh, this is heaven,” he told the newspaper of being in the water. “How could you be without this?”

Kiefer was 17 at the 1936 Olympics and would go on to hold world records in every backstroke event. He met Adolf Hitler and shook his hand in Berlin.

“If I would have known then what we found out later, I would’ve thrown him in the pool,” Kiefer told the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.

There were no Olympics in 1940 or 1944 due to World War II. So, Kiefer turned down the Hollywood role of Tarzan, opting to become Lt. Kiefer, the officer in charge of swimming for the U.S. Navy. He’s credited with teaching thousands swim safety and how to survive in the water.

He later created his own business, Kiefer & Associates, whose swim products included lane lines, kickboards and racing suits.

Kiefer was one of the last three living U.S. Olympians from the 1936 Berlin Games, along with canoeist John Lysak and swimmer Iris Cummings, according to Olympstats.com.

Kiefer was also part of the 2016 NBC Sports documentary “More than Gold” on the 1936 Olympics.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. swimming greats pay tribute to Chuck Wielgus

Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule

Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

Leave a comment

The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts earn maximum points on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One other gymnast can get to the maximum points on vault with one win between the last two stops (and others with two).

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Olympic vault champion retires