Duke Kahanamoku, 'Father of Surfing', Honored With AAU Gussie Crawford Lifetime Achievement Award
The award will be presented on August 24 during the Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Festival
HONOLULU, August 22, 2023 (Newswire.com) - The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is proud to announce that five-time Olympic medalist and "waterman" Duke Kahanamoku is the recipient of the 6th Annual AAU Gussie Crawford Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award will be presented on Thursday, August 24, during the Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Festival Lei Ceremony, starting at 7 a.m. Hawaii time, in honor of the late legend's birthday.
Recognizing the tremendous impact of the recent fires in West Maui, the Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Festival and the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) have started an effort to raise money to help rebuild and eventually restore the vital youth sports programs that were affected. The AAU will be supporting this initiative and making a donation to support these efforts.
The AAU Gussie Crawford Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented annually since 2017 and was established to honor Gussie Crawford, the first female president of the AAU, who was a trailblazer in amateur sports. The award is intended to recognize athletes whose efforts have paved the way for great change in amateur sports both on and off their playing surface and on the national or international stage. It was also created to recognize those athletes who did not necessarily receive the recognition they deserved during the time they competed.
Kahanamoku's fame started in 1911 at AAU's first swim race in Hawaii. He shattered the world record in the 100-yard freestyle by more than four seconds and broke the American 50-yard record by more than a second. He went on to compete in the 1912, 1920, and 1924 Olympic Games and brought home five medals in swimming.
Kahanamoku has also been credited with spreading the sport of surfing to a global audience as well as introducing beach volleyball to the first wave of players in Southern California. Beyond athletics, Kahanamoku was very involved with his local community. When Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state in 1959, he was named the state's "Ambassador of Aloha", playing a vital role in supporting the state's burgeoning tourism industry.
The Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Festival is held each summer in Waikiki to honor the legendary waterman. Held at venues throughout Waikiki, the festival features a variety of ocean sports that were close to Duke's heart, including surfing, swimming, and volleyball.
Source: Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)