Gunnar Larsson (swimmer)

Karl Gunnar Larsson (born 12 May 1951) is a former swimmer from Sweden. He won the 400 metre individual medley event at the 1972 Summer Olympics by two one-thousandths (0.002) of a second over American Tim McKee, breaking the Olympic record.[1] The controversy over the accuracy of such timing was the reason the international swimming rules were subsequently changed, and today swimming times are measured in hundredths of a second.

Gunnar Larsson
Larsson in 1970
Personal information
Full nameCarl Gunnar Larsson
Born (1951-05-12) 12 May 1951
Malmö, Skåne, Sweden
Height1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight86 kg (190 lb)
ClubSK Ran, Malmö SS

He also won the 200 metre individual medley event at the same Olympic Games, setting the new world record.[1] Two years earlier, Larsson received the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal due to his swimming at the 1970 European championships where he won three gold (200 metre medley, 400 metre medley and 400 metre freestyle) and one silver (200 m freestyle).[2] A year later, 1973, Larsson won the 200 metre individual medley at the first official FINA World Championships in Belgrade.[2]

During his career, Larsson set three world and eight European records.[3] Together with Arne Borg he is considered as Sweden's greatest swimmer of all time. In 1979, he was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.[4]

Larsson retired from competitive swimming in 1973 and until 1980 worked as a swimming coach. Later he took miscellaneous jobs, mostly with McDonald's and the Swedish Swimming Federation (2000–2005); he also did one year of acting in 2003. Between 1974 and 2004 he worked as part-time swimming commentator with radio stations.

His mother died in 1960 when he was only 9 years old. In 1979, he married Marianne Larsson. They have three children: Lotten (b. 1978), Emelie (b. 1980) and Amanda (b. 1989).[3] His elder sisters, Karin and Kristina, are also former Olympic swimmers.[1][5]

See also


  1. Gunnar Larsson.
  2. Gunnar LARSSON.
  3. Bo Hultén (2005). Tre olympiska Larssons från Malmö.
  4. GUNNAR LARSSON (SWE) 1979 Honor Swimmer.
  5. Gunnar Larsson. Swedish Olympic Committee
Preceded by
Gary Hall Sr.
Men's 200 metre individual medley
world record holder (long course)

12 September 1970 – 24 August 1974
Succeeded by
David Wilkie
Preceded by
Ove Kindvall
Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal
Succeeded by
Stellan Bengtsson
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