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Riggin, Aileen (1906—)

Riggin, Aileen (1906—)

American Olympic diver and swimmer. Name variations: Aileen Riggin Soule. Born Aileen Riggin in Newport, Rhode Island, on May 2, 1906; married Dwight D. Young (a doctor injured in World War II), in 1924 (died); married Howard Soule.

Won the Olympic gold medal in women's springboard diving in Antwerp (1920); won the Olympic bronze in 100-meter backstroke and silver in springboard in Paris (1924).

A few days after her 14th birthday, in the 1920 Olympic Games held at Antwerp, Belgium, Aileen Riggin won the first women's springboard title, setting a 32-year pattern for the U.S. springboard diving team. She would hold the record as the youngest to win a gold medal in springboard until 13-year-old Marjorie Gestring of the U.S.

won the competition in 1936. In 1924 in the Paris Olympics, Riggin became the only competitor to win both swimming and diving medals by coming in third in the 100-meter backstroke and second in the springboard. Sybil Bauer of the U.S. took the gold in the backstroke, while teammate Elizabeth Becker-Pinkston won the springboard gold medal.

In 1984, when an Olympic official telephoned 78-year-old Riggin at her home in Hawaii to invite her to the Los Angeles Games, he politely inquired if she could still walk. Well, yes, she said, in fact she was still swimming. In 1991, Riggin set six world records in freestyle and backstroke sprints in the World Masters for those in her age group: swimmers who were 85 to 89 years old.

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