Bill Bentsen

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWilliam Bruce "Bill"•Bentsen
Used nameBill•Bentsen
Born18 February 1930 in Chicago, Illinois (USA)
Died25 December 2020 in Linn Township, Wisconsin (USA)
Measurements180 cm / 75 kg
AffiliationsLake Geneva Yacht Club, Lake Geneva (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2


Bill Bentsen won both his Olympic medals crewing for Buddy Melges, and they combined to win the Flying Dutchman class at the 1967 Pan American Games. Bentsen graduated from Denison College, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota and undertook post graduate studies at the London School of Economics, Yale University, and the University of Chicago, earning a PhD in economics.

Bentsen was later a faculty member at Beloit College for 10 years before becoming a full-time sports administrator with the US Yacht Racing Union. In the 1970s and 1980s he helped re-write the racing rules of sailing and race management procedures. For his work in sailing administration Bentsen was given the Beppe Croce Award, World Sailing’s highest honor, and the Nathanael Greene Herreshoff Award, the highest honor given by USA Sailing. He also worked in sailing technology and was director of One Design Sailing. In addition to open water sailing, Bentsen raced ice boats and scows. In 2017 he was inducted into the US Sailing Hall of Fame.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1964 Summer Olympics Sailing USA Bill Bentsen
Two Person Heavyweight Dinghy, Open (Olympic) Buddy Melges, Jr. 3 Bronze
1972 Summer Olympics Sailing USA Bill Bentsen
Three Person Keelboat, Open (Olympic) United States 1 Gold

Special Notes