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Summer Olympics History: Top Ten Japanese-American Medalists

Yahoo Contributor Network

Japanese-Americans have been major contributors to the success of the U.S. in Summer Olympics from 1948 to the present.

Some of America's best swimmers in the late 1940s and throughout the '50s were Japanese-Americans.

Later, Japanese-American Olympians achieved podium finishes in sports like fencing, judo, volleyball, and wrestling.

The following list includes brief information on the ten Japanese-Americans that I regard as the best for the U.S. in the Summer Olympics:

Kevin Asano: Asano was a star judoka for the U.S. in the 1980s. He earned his lone Olympic medal-a silver-at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Clarissa Chun: Chun, who has Chinese-American and Japanese-American parents, has put together a long, accomplished career in Freestyle wrestling. She won a bronze at the recently concluded London Games, and was also a world champion in 2008.

Bryan Clay: Clay is a two-time Olympic medalist in the decathlon, taking the silver and gold in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

Evelyn Kawamoto: A top swimmer in the early 1950s, Kawamoto earned two podium finishes at the 1952 Olympics: a bronze in the 400-meter freestyle and another one in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay.

Tommy Kono: A weightlifting star in the 1950s, Kono was remarkably successful in the sport with many world titles and three Olympic medals, including golds captured in 1952 and 1956. His career is also noteworthy for the fact that he established world records in four different weight classes.

Ford Konno: Konno was one of the swimming stars of the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. He secured three podium finishes there, with his top accomplishments being gold in the 1500-meter freestyle and a relay gold in the 4x200 meter event. Konno capped his career with a silver in the same relay race in 1956.

Yoshinobu Oyakawa: Another Japanese-American swimming standout at the Helsinki Games, Oyakawa captured the gold in the 100-meter backstroke. He later held the world record in his specialty for about a year.

Harold Sakata: Sakata was the Light-heavyweight weightlifter for the U.S. at the 1948 Olympics in London. He earned a silver-medal spot on the podium for his efforts. His fame and appearance later helped him land many movie roles in Hollywood.

Eric Sato: Sato was a member of the talented U.S. men's volleyball teams at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, with the former earning gold and the latter bronze. His sister, Liane, played on the women's volleyball squad in '92 that also won bronze.

Peter Westbrook: Westbrook was a fencing champion for the U.S. for two decades. His greatest achievement at the Olympics was a bronze-medal finish in the Individual Sabre in 1984.

Related content: Olympic Flashback: Hawaiian Greats in Olympic Swimming-Part 1

Patrick Hattman covered the London Games for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is already looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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