• 14 March 1912
  •  Michigan, USA

Richard Degener


Champion diver Richard Kempster Degener was born on March 14, 1912 in Michigan. Known as "The Fred Astaire of Diving," Degener won the bronze medal in the 3 meter springboard event at the 1932 Olympics. Richard subsequently won a gold medal in this same event at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, Germany. Moreover, Degener was honored at a banquet that was the first celebration of Champions Day in Detroit, Michigan in April, 1936. Richard went on to be vindicated once again as one of five champion athletes featured on a plaque from the White House honoring Detroit as the City of Champions in July of that same year. In addition, Degener never lost a diving contest in college during the three years he represented Michigan from 1931 to 1934 by winning both the Big Ten and National Collegiate championships. Richard's other impressive athletic achievements include winning four Amateur Athletic Union Nationals in the high board as a representative of the Detroit Athletic Club, three National Collegiate Athletic Association titles for the University of Michigan, and five straight three-meter springboard titles and two one-meter titles at the Indoor Amateur Athletic Unions. Degener eventually turned pro by joining the Billy Rose Aquacade when it opened in Cleveland. Richard was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1971. He died at age 83 on August 24, 1995.