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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

WALTER D'HONDT

Inducted in 1957

Member Details

Date of Birth: September 11, 1936
Place of Birth: Vancouver, British Columbia
Sport: Rowing
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1956

Melbourne, Australia - Olympic Games - University of British Columbia four oared without coxswain - 2000 metres - first ever Gold Medal for Canada in rowing

1958

Cardiff, Wales - Commonwealth Games - 8 oared crew - Gold Medal 

1960

Rome, Italy - Olympic Games - eight oared crew - Silver Medal - only medal for Canada at those Games 

Honoured Member WALTER D'HONDT
Inspire

Story

Walter d'Hondt rowed in the number three seat for the University of British Columbia crew of four without coxswain at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. The team, one of the several high-ranking crews of world-class coach Frank Read, achieved probably the largest victory of margin of any crew in the modern games by winning all races by no less than 200 metres. To be sure, d'Hondt, along with crew chief Don Arnold, Lorne Loomer and Archie MacKinnon were all comparative newcomers to the sport of rowing. They were all spares for the 8 man University of British Columbia crew and as such had very little actual experience in competition. It wasn't until the summer before the Games, when Arnold's crew won the Canadian Trial in St. Catharines, Ontario and set a new world record time of 6:04.8 over 2000 metres did the Canadian Olympic Association show interest in their ability. The decision of the Canadian Olympic Committee to send the four to the Olympics was prompted by such strong supporters as the late Chief Justice Bird, Lieut. Governor Frank Ross, Col. Victor Spencer, Nelles Stacey, Professor Bob Osborne. Two years later at the Commonwealth Games in Wales, d'Hondt in #3 seat with Arnold as stroke of Canada's UBC four oared crew achieved a Silver Medal in addition to their Gold Medal captured in the eight oared crew earlier that day. In 1960 Arnold, d'Hondt and MacKinnon were members of the University of British Columbia 8 oared crew to achieve a Silver Medal which was the only medal for Canada at those games. The trio rowed in seats #4, 7 and 3 respectively. Loomer of the 1956 Gold Medal four oared crew was an alternate for the 1960 heavy eight oared crew.


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