Japanese Olympic Medallist Yoshihiko Osaki Passes Away

Former Japanese swimmer and Olympic medallist Yoshihiko Osaki passed away April 28th at the age of 76 due to interstitial pneumonia.

Osaki, who in his recent years stood as the chairman of the Japanese Masters Swimming Association, won two medals at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. There, he claimed silver in the 200m breaststroke behind USA’s Bill Mulliken with a time of 2:38.

There was a lot riding on Osaki’s swim as the Japanese had finished 1-2 in the 200m breaststroke at the 1956 Olympic Games. After Osaki’s silver it would take 12-years until another Japanese swimmer would medal in the 200m breaststroke at the Olympics, as Nobutaka Taguchi managed to claim bronze in Munich.

Osaki also swam a very important leg for the Japanese on the 4x100m medley relay in order to help them take home a bronze medal and come within striking distance of the Australian team.

He carried with him the tradition of breaststroke excellence for the Japanese, and much due to his efforts helped produce the first medley relay medal in Japanese swimming history.

It would be another 44 years before a Japanese men’s team would win an Olympic medal in the medley relay. That feat was achieved in 2004, much due to another great Japanese breaststroker: Kosuke Kitajima.

For Osaki’s large contributions to not just Japanese swimming, but global swimming, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2006.

A service will be held for him May 1st at noon, led by his oldest son Hiroshi Osaki.

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Gina Rhinestone

He did better than the 1956-60 Japanese rowers who are long gone . I guess a diminished gene pool , post war under – nourishment & kamikaze training willthat . A nice leisurely 2 38 traditional breastroke up & down the pool is a much better idea.

The ugly side of Japanese sexism emerged when the 14 year old won gold in 92 . Rather than be heralded , she was sent death threats .


Great swimmer.wish I met him


Sad news. RIP.

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch worked for 5-years with SwimSwam news as a web producer focusing on both Canadian and international content. He coached for Toronto Swim Club for four seasons as a senior coach focusing on the development of young swimmers. Mitch is an NCCP level 2 certified coach in Canada and an ASCA Level …

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