Son of Australian professional sculling champion, Harry Pearce, Bobby Pearce was the first man to defend the Olympic single sculls championship, winning the gold in that event in both 1928 and 1932. Inbetween he won the 1930 British Empire Games single sculls competition. Pearce grew up in Australia, but later moved to Canada, although he did not become a Canadian citizen until 1972. Pearce was denied entry to the Henley Diamond Sculls in 1928 because of his profession as a carpenter, but in 1930 he became a whiskey salesman in Toronto, and this allowed him to enter the Diamond Sculls, which he won in 1931. In 1933, Pearce turned professonal and won the world professional sculling championship, holding that title until his retirement just before World War II. Because of the war, however, his reign lasted until 1948, when Evans Paddon of Australia claimed the title with a victory over fellow Australian Max Fisher. Pearce also spent some time as a professional wrestler from 1939-40.