Degener in 1938
|Born||March 14, 1912
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||August 24, 1995 (aged 83)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
|Club||Detroit Athletic Club|
In April, 1936, Degener, along with many other sports champions and standouts, was honored at a banquet in Detroit, Michigan. This banquet was the first celebration of Champions Day. In July, 1936, a plaque was presented to Detroit from the White House honoring Detroit as the City of Champions. The plaque has five "medallions" featuring athletes. Originally the plans called for these five athletes to be a baseball player, football player, hockey player, power boat racer, and a boxer. But Joe Louis was surprisingly knocked out in a boxing match just weeks before the plaque was to be presented. Planners changed the boxer to a diver, to represent Degener, at the last minute.
Degener introduced the full layout in which his body seemed to soar, lazy-like and graceful in the air. This astonished the diving world and caused a buzz of admiration around the pool. "If there is one thing I've gotten out of sports, it's that I learned to be intense and to do the job."
Degener never lost a diving contest in college during the three years he represented Michigan from 1931 to 1934 as he took the Big Ten Conference and National Collegiate championship. In AAU competition, Dick was unbeaten for years as he won 14 national indoor and outdoor diving titles. He won four outdoor AAU Nationals in the high board representing the Detroit Athletic Club, and three NCAA titles for the University of Michigan. At the Indoor AAUs he won five straight three-meter springboard titles and two one-meter titles.
- Dick Degener. sports-reference.com
- Sport. The Windsor Daily Star (April 20, 1936)
- Traverse City Record Eagle Newspaper Archives, Jun 29, 1936, p. 26. Newspaperarchive.com. Retrieved on 2017-09-26.
- Louis' Name Is Stricken From the Champions' Plaque. The Pittsburgh Press (June 21, 1936)
- Dick Degener. International Swimming Hall of Fame
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