Sweden to the Rescue: Sportsmanship on the Waters of Enoshima at the 1964 Tokyo Games

Flying Dutchmen 1964_Olympic_Report2_800_rdax_60

They came in 18th overall in the Flying Dutchman (FD) competition, but they came in first in the hearts of the Japanese.

Stig Lennart Käll and his younger brother Lars Gunnar Käll were sailing in the third race of seven in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics FD-class competition when they saw another boat ahead of them capsize, and of the two crew members floating in the middle of the Sagami Bay. Making a fairly quick decision, the Käll brothers steered their way towards the sailor in the water and plucked Australian Ian Charles Winter out of the water. Then they proceeded to the capsized Australian boat, Diablo, to rescue the second member of that crew, John Gregory Dawe, pulling him into the Swedish boat, Hayama.

Swedish yacht saves Austrlian yacht

According to the Japan Times on October 21, 1964, the exploits of the Swedish FD crew were publicized nationally in the Japanese press, sparking a barrage of gifts to be sent by grateful well-wishers to the sailing Olympic Village in Oiso, not far from the Enoshima Harbor where the sailing competition was taking place.

Their behavior also led to the creation of the Fair Play Prize. The first winners of this prize – the Käll brothers.

The Swedes still placed 12th out of 20 in that particular race. Seven others, including the Australian boat, did not finish the race. Of the six other races in the competition, this had by far the highest number of boats that could not finish. And yet, the Swedish brothers not only finished, they beat out one other boat – this despite taking time to rescue the Australians, and taking on considerable extra weight with the two new crewmen.

Stig Kall
Stig Lennart Käll