The Duke's Legacy
Duke Kahanamoku suffered a fatal heart attack at the Waikiki Yacht Club and died on January 22, 1968. His death marked the passing of a world-class athlete in swimming and surfing who also served as a vital link to Hawaii's past.
In 1984 Kahanamoku was posthumously inducted into the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame. In 1990 his widow led efforts to have a statue of Kahanamoku dedicated on Waikiki Beach. The figure showed a nine-foot Kahanamoku with a surfboard facing away from the ocean with his arms outstretched in a welcoming embrace. Nadine Alexander Kahanamoku also supported efforts to set up the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, a public trust devoted to funding youth athletic activities and traditional Hawaiian sports. These activities continue to promote the ideals expressed in Kahanamoku's life while preserving his culture's heritage for future generations.
Kahanamoku is still regarded a generation after his death as Hawaii's best-ever athletic champion. His five Olympic medals also rank Kahanamoku as one of the greatest athletes in the history of the modern Summer Olympic Games. If not for his efforts to promote surfing, it could well have become a cultural relic of Hawaii's past. Instead, Kahanamoku popularized the sport around the world and in doing so, helped to preserve a part of his culture's history.
- Duke Kahanamoku - The Beloved Duke Of Waikiki
- Duke Kahanamoku - Hawaii's Official Greeter
- Other Free Encyclopedias