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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

DR. DON ARNOLD

Inducted in 1957

Member Details

Date of Birth: July 14, 1935
Place of Birth: Kelowna, British Columbia
Sport: Rowing
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1956

National Championships - St. Catharines, Ontario - Silver Medal 

Melbourne, Australia - Olympic Games - first ever Gold Medal for Canada in rowing

1958, 1960

National Championships - St. Catharines, Ontario - stroke seat of the 8 oared crew - Gold Medal

1958

Cardiff, Wales - Commonwealth Games - Gold and Silver Medal 

1959

Pan American Games - Assistant Coach - Silver Medal

1960

Rome, Italy - Olympic Games - Silver Medal 

Honoured Member DR. DON ARNOLD
Inspire

Story

Don Arnold and his team of rowers was one of Canada's fortunate late additions to the Olympic team. He stroked the four oared crew without coxswain at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. The crew, one of several high ranking teams of Coach Frank Read achieved probably the longest distance victory margin of any crew in the modern games. They started in last position yet won by 5 lengths open water or about 250 metres. He, along with Walter d'Hondt, Lorne Loomer and Archie MacKinnon were comparative newcomers to the sport of rowing. Since they were spares for the University of British Columbia's 8 oared crew, they had very little experience in actual competition. It was during the summer prior to the Olympic Games that Arnold's team won the Canadian trials and achieved a new world record time of 6:04.8 in St. Catharines, Ontario. It was that performance together with the strong support of the late Chief Justice Bird, Lieut. Governor Frank Ross, Col. Victor Spencer, Professor Robert Osborne, Nelles Stacey and others that convinced the Canadian Olympic Association to enter the Four Oared crew as part of the contingent to the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Arnold stroked the University of British Columbia four oared crew without coxswain to win Canada's first-ever rowing Gold Medal and signaled a decisive shift of Canadian rowing excellence from its former traditional base in Toronto to the Pacific Coast. The 'stroke' person calls the race strategy and sets the stroke rates for the crew. Two years later at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales, Arnold stroked the University of British Columbia eight oared crew to a Gold Medal. On the same day, with Walter d'Hondt in #3 seat, Arnold stroked the UBC four oared crew without coxswain to a Silver Medal. At the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy, Arnold, d'Hondt and MacKinnon were members of the University of British Columbia 8 oared rowing crew which captured a Silver Medal. It was the only medal of any Canadian sport at those games. Arnold remains to this day a much esteemed hero of his alma mater. Luckily the sport of rowing and indeed all Canadians were not spared his skill, determination or heart.


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