David G. Freeman

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David G. Freeman
Personal information
Nickname(s) Pasadena Flash
Country  United States
Born (1920-09-06)September 6, 1920
Pasadena, California
Died June 28, 2001(2001-06-28) (aged 80)
Rancho Santa Fe, California
Handedness Right

Dr. David Guthrie Freeman (6 September 1920 – 28 June 2001) was an American badminton player from California who became an icon in the sport's history.

Early life[edit]

Freeman was born on September 6, 1920 in Pasadena, the son of Robert Freeman, a Presbyterian minister, and Margery Fulton, professor of religion. In 1938 he graduated from Pasadena JC and in 1942 got his B.A. at Pomona College.[1] He entered Harvard Medical School in 1942 and completed its accelerated war-time curriculum in 1945.

Badminton career[edit]

During his teenage years Freeman demonstrated exceptional ability in tennis, table tennis, and, particularly, badminton. From early in 1939, at the age of eighteen, through his final tournament match fourteen years later, Freeman was undefeated in badminton singles competition.[2] Displaying his characteristic quickness, agility, and shot-making precision, Freeman won the prestigious All-England Championship on his only try (1949) and remains the sole American to win the men's singles there.[3] In this one-time-only badminton stint in Europe he also won Thomas Cup singles matches against eventual champion Malaya, and captured the Danish Open. In all, he won three matches each against Ooi Teik Hock and the very formidable Wong Peng Soon. After apparently retiring from badminton in 1950 to concentrate on a career in neurosurgery, Freeman made a brief comeback in 1953. He won the four tournaments that he entered which concluded with the U.S. National Championships in Boston, and a victory in the very same hall where he had last lost a singles match fourteen years earlier.[4] He is the only American born male to be inducted into both the U.S. and World Badminton Halls of Fame.[5][6]

Major achievements in badminton[edit]

Tournament Event Year
U.S. Championships Men's Singles 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1947, 1948, 1953
Men's Doubles 1940, 1941, 1942, 1947, 1948
Mixed Doubles 1940, 1941, 1942
All-England Championships Men's Singles 1949
Danish Open Men's Singles 1949
Toronto Invitational Men's Singles 1953

Tennis and other sports[edit]

Freeman's racket sport exploits were not limited to badminton. He won the U.S. Junior Tennis Championship in 1938, defeating Welby Van Horn in the final, and with Bill Talbert was the runner-up in U.S. men's doubles in 1943.[7][8] Additionally he won the U.S. Army Tennis Championship in 1947; the New England Squash title in 1945; and a variety of table tennis tournaments.


  1. ^ David L. Porter, ed. (1995). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: 1992-1995 Supplement for Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Other Sports. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 640–341. ISBN 978-0313284311. 
  2. ^ USA Badminton Walk of Fame Plaza: Dave Freeman
  3. ^ Dillesport - All England Archived 2010-02-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Orange County Badminton Club: 2006 USA Nationals - Past champions
  5. ^ Badminton Hall of Fame
  6. ^ Frank Listky (July 28, 2001). "Dave Freeman, a Champion In Badminton, Is Dead at 80". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Hickok Sports: Freeman, David G.
  8. ^ "Segura Upset, Courageous Kramer Battles Joe Hunt In Finals Of National". The Miami News. Sep 6, 1943.