Suzu Chiba


Suzu Chiba

Suzu Chiba (千葉 すず, born August 11, 1975 in Yokohama, Kanagawa) is a former freestyle swimmer from Japan, who competed for her native country in two consequentive Summer Olympics, starting in 1992. She won the bronze medal in the 400 m Freestyle at the 1991 World Aquatics Championships in Perth, Western Australia.

A teenage sensation when she splashed onto the international scene in the 1990s, Chiba retired after flopping at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. She made a fiery comeback three years later, recording the world's second best time in the 200 m Freestyle in 1999. At the national championships in April she came down with a bad case of the flu. She won the 200-meter freestyle race anyway, topping the Olympic qualifying mark while displaying the gambatte fighting spirit so revered in Japan. A confident free spirit who likes to speak her mind, Chiba was a marketer's dream in a country that is always searching for a new pop icon.

She missed the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia because the officials of the Japan Amateur Swimming Federation decided to leave her off the team. Initially, they didn't explain why they did so. Chiba and her entourage complained that the snub was based on personality, that she was being left home because the officials simply didn't like her. The federation later said it was taking only swimmers whose results were among last year's top eight times in the world.


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