John Konrads, a former teenage swimming sensation for Australia who received a gold medal within the 1,500-meter freestyle at the 1960 Rome Olympics and joined along with his youthful sister, Ilsa, in setting quite a few world data, died on April 25 within the Noosa space of jap Australia, on the Sunshine Coast. He was 78.
His demise, at a hospital, was announced by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Swimming World journal mentioned he had been ailing for a while.
The arrival of John and Ilsa in Australia’s swimming highlight within the late 1950s introduced them renown as “the Konrads Kids.” John, who held 26 particular person freestyle data in his profession, was inducted along with Ilsa into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1971.
John was a triple gold medalist at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. Ilsa received the ladies’s 440-yard freestyle at the meet.
In addition to capturing the 1,500 meters at the 1960 Olympics, John, who was 18 at the time, received bronze medals within the particular person 400-meter freestyle and as a part of the 4X200 freestyle relay group. Ilsa, 16, took silver as a part of the 4X100 girls’s freestyle relay group.
Both have been a part of a wave of ever youthful swimmers who have been starting to dominate the game.
“What it amounts to is that more kids are swimming more, and faster,” the previous Yale and U.S. Olympic coach Bob Kiphuth told the sports columnist Arthur Daley of The New York Times in 1964. “They’re not inhibited by records.” He added, “Swimming is now advancing 10 times as many kids as ever before.”
Mr. Daley pronounced John Konrads “the wonder boy of the 1960 Olympics.”
Janis Konrads Jr., who would later Anglicize his identify, was born on May 21, 1942, in Riga, the capital of Latvia, when the nation was underneath German occupation throughout World War II. When the Soviet Union, which had invaded Latvia earlier within the battle, reoccupied it in 1944, his mother and father, Janis Sr. and Elsa, fled with John, Ilsa and an older sister, Eve, to a refugee camp close to Stuttgart, Germany. After the battle, the household lived in West German camps for the homeless, then emigrated to Australia in 1949 and lived at first in migrant camps.
The land was marshy, bordering brooks and rivers. Janis Konrads Sr., a dental technician, taught his kids to swim in view of the treacherous waters and likewise as remedy for John, who had contracted polio and had spent weeks in a hospital.
The household later moved to Sydney. While John and Ilsa attended a main college within the 1950s, Don Talbot, who taught there and would develop into an acclaimed worldwide swimming coach, organized a rigorous and progressive coaching program for them.
When he was 13, John was named as an alternate for Australia’s swimming group at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, a fill-in if a competitor have been injured.
“The excitement was fantastic,” he mentioned years later. “Taking delivery of the Olympic track suit was close to the biggest event of my life.”
But not one of the Australian swimmers incurred accidents, so he didn’t compete within the 1956 Games.
“John’s story is quite amazing; it’s one of resilience and perseverance,” Kieran Perkins, a two-time 1,500-meter freestyle Olympic swimming champion and now president of Swimming Australia, mentioned upon Konrads’s demise.
Konrads attended the University of Southern California from 1961 to 1964. He majored in enterprise however didn’t obtain a level, then returned to Australia to coach for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He certified for the 4X200 meter freestyle group, which completed fourth within the remaining.
He later coached swimming and pursued a profession in advertising. He was the Australasia director for the personal-care merchandise firm L’Oréal, and he labored on behalf of Australia’s profitable bid to land the 2000 Olympics for Sydney.
While within the enterprise world he was discovered to have bipolar dysfunction; he then promoted consciousness of remedy applications.
Konrads’s survivors included his spouse, Mikki, and his sister Ilsa. A full itemizing was not instantly obtainable.
John and Ilsa Konrads’s “stay at the top was brief but so brilliant it has never quite been equaled,” the International Swimming Hall of Fame stated on its website. “They were the first of the Kiddy Corps that has made the world believe in the ability of very young swimmers to work harder than adult athletes had thought possible.
“They set multi-world records at an age when most of us are encouraging the mediocrity of our children with ‘What can you expect — she’s only 13?’ The Konrads and their coach, Don Talbot, didn’t know ‘kids can’t swim that fast.’”