Washington, Jul 29 (AP) There was a soon-to-be Hollywood star in the pool, and a soon-to-be Hollywood ending on the track at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
Johnny Weissmuller, the American swimmer who went on to star as Tarzan in a dozen films, won three swimming gold medals at the Paris Games and also earned a bronze medal in water polo.
Weissmuller won the 100-meter freestyle, 400 free and 4×200 free.
In the 100 free sprint Weissmuller edged American teammate Duke Kahanamoku, the two-time defending champion in the event who is also the father of modern surfing. Kahanamoku won his golds in the 100 free in 1912 and 1920. The 1916 Games were canceled because of World War I.
After winning two more gold medals in 1928, Weissmuller became a model and eventually started working as an actor. He starred as Tarzan in 12 feature films.
I went to the back lot at MGM, they gave me a G-string and said, ‘Can you climb a tree? Can you pick up that girl?’ I could do all that, and I did all my own swinging because I had been a YMCA champion on the rings, Weissmuller was quoted as saying in his Associated Press obituary from 1984.
The other story that made its way into movie theaters came in the form of the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. The movie about two British sprinters, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, centers around their gold-medal performances at the Paris Olympics.
Abrahams won the 100 meters, upsetting a group of Americans in the final, including defending champion Charley Paddock the first person to be known as the fastest man alive after his gold-medal performance four years earlier in Antwerp. Paddock finished fifth in the 1924 final.
Liddell, who also played international rugby for Scotland, was a 100-meter runner as well. But because of his deep Christian beliefs, he dropped out of that event when he learned he would have to run in the heats on a Sunday.
Instead, he won the gold medal in the 400 meters.