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Google’s search banner honors Kahanamoku

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In celebration of the 125th anniversary of Duke Kahanamoku’s birth, Google is changing its search banner in his honor.

Kahanamoku, born in Honolulu on Aug. 24, 1890, was a legendary surfer and swimmer who won five Olympic medals in swimming, including three golds. Matt Cruickshank, a Google graphic designer, remembered the legend known as the Ambassador of Aloha with a drawing — Google calls it a doodle — that features Kahanamoku’s iconic smile and a surfboard, of course.

Kahanamoku’s swimming and surfing skills gained him international exposure. In 1917 off Waikiki, he rode a wave for more than a mile on a 16-foot-long surfboard. He traveled internationally to present swimming and surfing demonstrations. He appeared in Hollywood movies and was the sheriff of Honolulu for 26 years.

Kahanamoku died of a heart attack on Jan. 22, 1968 at the age of 77.

Krisztina Radosavljevic-Szilagyi, Google’s manager of global communications and public affairs, said the search engine giant chose Kahanamoku to highlight his many accomplishments.

"He’s just an amazing person to celebrate, with so many contributions to the world from essentially introducing the world to surfing to swimming — and what he’s done for his communities," she said in an email.

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