Matt Biondi

Matt Biondi
Matt Biondi
Personal information
Full name Matthew Nicholas Biondi
Nickname(s) "Matt"
Nationality  United States
Born October 8, 1965 (1965-10-08) (age 46)
Moraga, California
Height 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in)
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Freestyle and butterfly
College team University of California, Berkeley

Matthew Nicholas Biondi (born October 8, 1965 in Palo Alto, California) is a three-time U.S. Olympic swimmer in the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Summer Olympics, winning a total of 11 medals. He is a member of the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Biondi left Seoul with five gold medals, setting world records in four of those events.


Early life and athletics

Biondi started his aquatics career as a swimmer and water polo player in his hometown of Moraga, California. As he moved into his teens, his incredible abilities as a sprint swimmer began to emerge. Though he did not start swimming year-round until he started at Campolindo High School, by his senior year Biondi was the top schoolboy sprinter in America with a National High School record of 20.40 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. He accepted a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley to swim and play water polo, and enrolled in 1983. In his freshman year, he played on Berkeley's NCAA Championship water polo team, and made the consolation finals at the 1984 NCAA Swimming Championships.

Olympic career

1984 Olympics

The summer of 1984, Biondi surprised the swimming community by qualifying for a spot on the U.S. 4×100 meter freestyle relay at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The team won the gold medal in a world record time. Returning to Berkeley, Biondi once again played on an NCAA Champion water polo team in the fall and in the winter of 1985 won the first of his 8 individual swimming titles at NCAAs. He would be named NCAA Swimmer of the Year in 1985, 1986, and 1987, and would set several American and NCAA records.

Biondi set the first of his twelve individual swimming World records in 1985. He was the first man to swim the 100-meter freestyle faster than 49 seconds, and by 1988 he owned the ten fastest times swum in that event. He won a total 24 U.S. Championships in the 50, 100, and 200-meter freestyle events, as well as the 100-butterfly. In two World Championships (1986 and 1991), Biondi won 11 medals including six gold. During his career, he was a James E. Sullivan Award Finalist, the UPI Sportsman of the Year, the USOC Sportsman of the Year, and twice the Swimming World magazine Male Swimmer of the World (1986 and 1988).

1988 Olympics

Biondi was involved in perhaps the most notable defeat of any competitor at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In the 100 metre butterfly final, caught between strokes as he approached the finishing wall, he chose to glide rather than take another stroke, and was beaten by Anthony Nesty of Suriname by 1/100th of a second.

He still managed to win 5 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics, achieving World records in 4 of those triumphs, 3 in relays and one in the 50 metre freestyle, clocking 22.14 seconds for the sprint 50. This was the third time he had broken or equalled the existing 50 metre freestyle World record.

Biondi's time in the 100 metre freestyle final was the only sub-49.00 second swim of the competition, setting a new Olympic record of 48.63 seconds, the second fastest time in history.


Biondi was said to make a point of being the slowest person in the pool during warm up, no matter the skill level of the other swimmers surrounding him.

Recent life and work

He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988 with a BA degree in Political Economy of Industrialized Societies (PEIS).

Biondi married Kirsten Metzger in her home state of Hawaii in 1995. They have three children: sons Nathaniel (Nate), born in 1998, and Lucas, born in 2002; and daughter Makena, born in 2007.

Kirsten Biondi persuaded her husband to continue his education and he obtained a master's degree in teaching at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Matt Biondi is now a math teacher at Parker School in Kamuela on Hawaii's Big Island.[1]

See also


External links

  • Biondi's entry from the International Swimming Hall of Fame website.

Preceded by

United States Tom Jager
United States Tom Jager
Men's 50 metre freestyle
world record holder (long course)

June 26, 1986 – August 13, 1987
September 24, 1988 – August 20, 1989
Succeeded by

United States Tom Jager
United States Tom Jager
Preceded by
United States Rowdy Gaines
Men's 100 metre freestyle
world record holder (long course)

6 August 1985 – 18 June 1994
Succeeded by
Russia Alexander Popov
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
West Germany Michael Groß
Hungary Tamás Darnyi
World Swimmer of the Year
Succeeded by
Hungary Tamás Darnyi
United States Mike Barrowman
Preceded by
Canada Ben Johnson
United Press International Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
West Germany Boris Becker

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