June 13, 1875 – February 9, 1932
Paul Neumann (not to be confused with Paul Newman, natch) was Austria's first ever Olympic gold medalist. He won his medal in swimming.
As the story goes, Alfred Hajos of Hungary (Already profiled! Yet another Jew!) was the prohibitive favorite in all swimming events, but they were staggered too close together. So Hajos decided to skip the middle distance, settling for the gold in short (100 meters) and long (1200 meters) races.
The races took place in open water, with athletes taken into the sea by ship, dropped in, and racing to the shore. Neumann came out the winner, and has held the Olympic record at the 500 meter distance for over a century...
It has not been contested since.
September 8, 2017