Cecil Healy participated twice in the Olympic Games, first, in 1906 in Athens and then in 1912 in Stockholm. Cecil Healy was therefore part of the tiny delegation of athletes (5 athletes) sent by the Australian federation at the Athens Olympic Games, he was also the only swimmer representing his country. At that time, a very few amounts of fees were allocated to athletes. During this competition, Healy was clearly handicapped by the belated departure of the Australian delegation to Athens. This departure did not allow him to train between arrival in Athens and the competition.Even so, he ended third in the final of the 100 m freestyle behind the United States and the Hungary.So, he won his first medal in his Olympic career. Following the games, Healy toured in Europe and gave the opportunity to many Europeans to see for the first time in their life the Crawl technique (particularly in Hamburg where he won the cup of the Kaiser, in Belgium, in the Netherlands, in Great Britain...). It is because of this tour that Cecil Healy missed the Championship of Australia in 1907. Similarly, he could not attend the Olympic Games in London in 1908, due to a lack of funds while he had obtained his qualification. These games, initially meant to happen in Rome, took place in London because of the disaster of the Vesuvius. However, he participated in the Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912 where he could show to the whole world how much he embodied the Olympic spirit of Coubertin. Among others, he won a silver medal in 100 m freestyle, a fourth place in the final of the 400 m freestyle but also a world record in the qualification on the same distance and a gold medal in relay 4 times 200 m freestyle.
By Bertrand FARENEAU,
- Equipe du 4x200m (JO de Stockholm) : National Library of Australia
Cecil Healy has not only fought valiantly at the battle of Mont St. Quentin but is also the embodiment of the Olympic as the anecdote occurring at the Stockholm Olympic Games of July 1912 witnessed it . Indeed, during the semi-final of the 100 m freestyle,the legendary Hawaiian Kahanamoku and two other Americans,when missing the start of the race are automatically disqualified. Healy, one of the most greater swimmers of Australian history, qualifies then himself for the final and naturally becomes the favourite of the competition. However, Healy insists upon the official authorities and the Australian federation to give a second chance for the Americans to be qualified for the starting of the final race. A new race is organized through which Kahanamoku and Mc Gillivray get their ticket to the final. This final will be won on the 11th of July 1912 by Kahanamoku, the American within 1 minute 3 seconds and 8 tenths with a difference of 1.2 seconds upon the second. The second is not anyone else but Cecil Healy... Cecil Healy pocketed then, the silver medal in 1 minute and 5 seconds. He will receive after this memorable final a standing ovation at the height of his plume.The legend tells that Kahanamoku when receiving the gold medal, he took one of Cecil Healy's arm and rose it up in the air. Following the Olympics of 1912, Healy is a world-famous competitor.
By Bertrand FARENEAU,
- Plan d'eau du 100m (JO de Stockholm) : Library of Congress