May 5, 2017 / 10:32 PM / 3 years ago

Oldest U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kiefer dies at 98

Adolph Kiefer, winner of the 1936 Olympic gold medal for the men's 100m backstroke, raises his arms before the medal ceremoney during the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska, June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

(Reuters) - Swimming legend Adolph Kiefer, who had been the oldest living U.S. Olympic gold medalist in any sport, died on Friday at his home in Illinois at age 98, the International Swimming Hall of Fame said.

Kiefer won the 100-meter backstroke at the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a 17 year old in an Olympic record time that stood for 20 years.

“Adolph Kiefer embodied swimming and lived it every day of his life. He was a pioneer for our sport in the truest sense of the word,” USA Swimming Interim Executive Director Mike Unger said in a statement.

Kiefer later was an instructor in the U.S. Navy and a business owner whose swimming products helped advance the sport.

The first man to break one minute in the 100-yard backstroke as a high schooler in Illinois, Kiefer was inducted into the inaugural class of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965, and served on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition under three U.S. presidents.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry

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