Maehata, Hideko (1914—)

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Maehata, Hideko (1914—)

Japanese swimmer . Born in Japan on May 20, 1914.

At the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932, with a time of 3:06.4, Hideko Maehata won the silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke; Australia's Clare Dennis finished first with a time of 3:06.3. In the same event at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, Maehata mounted the swimmers' platform with a prayer written on a piece of paper; she read it one last time, then ate the paper. She won the gold medal at a time of 3:03.6; 14-year-old Martha Geneger of Germany finished second, while 12-year-old Inge Sorensen of Denmark took the bronze. Maehata was the first Japanese woman to medal in Olympic swimming and one of the first swimmers to use the butterfly stroke, recovering her arms above the water rather than under, which was controversial at the time.