Marjorie Gestring

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Marjorie Gestring
Gestring in 1936
Personal information
Born(1922-11-18)November 18, 1922
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedApril 20, 1992(1992-04-20) (aged 69)
Hillsborough, California, U.S.
CountryUnited States
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals1936 Summer Olympics: 3 m springboard – Gold
National finals
  • 1938 US Nationals:3 m springboard – Gold
  • 1939 US Nationals:3 m springboard – Gold
  • 1940 US Nationals:3 m springboard – Gold
Medal record
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1936 Berlin 3 m springboard

Marjorie Gestring (November 18, 1922 – April 20, 1992) was a competitive springboard diver from the United States. At the age of 13 years and 268 days, she won the gold medal in 3-meter springboard diving at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, making her at the time the youngest person ever to win an Olympic gold medal. She remains the second-youngest Olympic gold medalist, as of 2024.[nb 1] A multi-time national diving champion in the United States, she was given a second Olympic gold medal by the United States Olympic Committee after the 1940 Summer Olympics were called off due to the advent of World War II. Gestring attempted to return to the Olympics at the 1948 Games, but failed to qualify for the US team. She has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame.

Diving career[edit]

Gestring won her first major title at the Amateur Athletic Union meeting at Chicago in 1936.[3]

In the tryouts for the 1936 Summer Olympics for the United States team, she placed second behind Katherine Rawls in qualifying in the 3-meter springboard event.[4] Gestring became the youngest person ever[nb 1] to win an Olympic gold medal at the age of 13 years and 268 days,[5] in what was considered to be an upset, given her competition.[6] Her final dive won her the competition, and her rival Rawls, who had already recognised that the dive had given the gold medal to Gestring instead of her, greeted Gestring as she left the pool.[7] The winning score was 89.27, while Rawls' score was 88.35.[7] Gestring was part of an all-American top three in the final round, with Rawls winning silver and Dorothy Poynton-Hill winning bronze.[8] Rawls and Gestring were described as being in a "duel" for the gold medal, in front of 15,000 spectators.[9]

Following her Olympic victory, Gestring competed in national championships in the run-up to the next Games. She won the US national title for 3-meter springboard in both 1938 and 1939.[10] She also won the regional Far Western and Arizona State swimming championships in 1937.[11]

Despite the cancellation of the 1940 Summer Olympics due to the advent of World War II,[5] Gestring continued to compete at the national level within the United States. She was US National Women's High Diving Champion for 1939, and retained the title in 1940.[12] She also retained the title for the 3-meter springboard that same year.[13] A fellow diver of the same era, Margaret Ambrosia, stated that she would have expected Gestring to win the gold medal once more had the 1940 Olympic Games been held as planned. The United States Olympic Committee evidently agreed when they handed out gold, silver and bronze medals in lieu of the Games taking place, giving as they did the gold medal to Gestring.[14] She attempted to make the US team once more in the 1948 Summer Olympics, but did not qualify, finishing in fourth place in the team trials.[15]


In 1943, at the age of 19, Gestring married Edward Harrison Carter, then a student at UCLA.[16]

Later life and legacy[edit]

Gestring died on April 20, 1992, after an accident in her home in Hillsborough, California. She was 69.[17]

She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1976,[18] and the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame.[19] Sports Illustrated listed Gestring when deciding California's Best Women Athlete, though it eventually named the tennis player Billie Jean King.[20] Gestring's age record at the Olympics was broken by Kim Yun-mi at the 1994 Winter Olympics.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b In the 1900 men's coxed pair rowing, an unidentified boy aged 12 or less coxed the winning pair in the final; however, only semifinal cox Hermanus Brockmann is listed by the IOC.[1] Winners received silver medals at the 1900 games.[2]


  1. ^ "Hermanus Gerardus BROCKMANN — Olympic Rowing". International Olympic Committee. June 14, 2016. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  2. ^ Mallon, Bill (1998). The 1900 Olympic Games, Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 0-7864-0378-0.
  3. ^ "Fair Swimmers to Seek Titles". The Evening Independent. April 13, 1937. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  4. ^ "1936 Olympic Tryout Results" (PDF). USA Swimming. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Scrivener, Peter (July 26, 2008). "Olympic countdown – 13 days – Gestring's gold". BBC Sport. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  6. ^ "Eleanor Holm Jarrett Cracks World Record". The Milwaukee Journal. April 5, 1936. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Kaese, Harold (1938). Famous American Athletes of Today. Boston: L.C. Page. p. 224. ISBN 9780836922332.
  8. ^ "U.S. Does Better". Lawrence Journal-World. August 12, 1936. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  9. ^ Cameron, Stuart (August 12, 1936). "Women Swimmers of America Win Diving and Take Lead". The Toledo News-Bee. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  10. ^ "Florida Swimming Star Retains 440-Yard Title". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. July 24, 1938. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  11. ^ "Marjorie Gestring Wins Diving Crown". Berkeley Daily Gazette. September 13, 1937. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  12. ^ "Marjorie Gestring Annexes Title in High Diving". Berkeley Daily Gazette. September 16, 1940. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  13. ^ "Marjorie Gestring Wins National High Diving Title". San Jose Evening News. September 16, 1940. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  14. ^ Wojciaczyk, Stan (August 12, 1984). "War kept her from the Olympics, but not from medal". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  15. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Marjorie Gestring". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  16. ^ "Milestones, Apr. 5, 1943". Time. April 5, 1943. Archived from the original on December 14, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  17. ^ Harvey, Randy (May 11, 1992). "'84 Olympic Flame Still Burns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  18. ^ "Marjorie Gestring (USA)". International Swimming Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  19. ^ "The Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame". Stanford Department of Athletics. Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved May 14, 2007.
  20. ^ "California: Billie Jean King". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 23, 2012.

External links[edit]