Ron Eland

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWilliam Ronald "Ron"•Eland
Used nameRon•Eland
Born20 February 1923 in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape (RSA)
Died12 February 2003 in Cape Town, Western Cape (RSA)
Measurements66 kg
NOC Great Britain


Born in Cape Province, South Africa, Ron Eland was the outstanding lifter at his weight in his native country in the immediate post-war years but was denied international competition because he was considered “coloured” by the Apartheid laws of South Africa. He was encouraged to travel to London and, on the basis that in law all South African citizens were also British citizens, try for a place on the British Olympic team. He won the British title and was chosen for the 1948 Olympic Games in the lightweight category. At his best he might have been considered a medal contender but a bout of appendicitis ruined his chances and he placed outside the top ten. He also competed in bodybuilding and was 3rd in the 1948 Mr. Universe competition. Eland later became a coach for the British and Canadian weightlifting teams. He was a teacher for most of his working life and, after emigrating to Canada, obtained degrees in sociology and education from York University and the University of Toronto respectively. After the end of apartheid he returned to his native country where he was finally recognised for his achievements.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Weightlifting GBR Ron Eland
Lightweight, Men (Olympic) 13