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Merv Wood

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 1
Total 3
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameMervyn Thomas "Merv"•Wood
Used nameMerv•Wood
Born30 April 1917 in Kensington, New South Wales (AUS)
Died19 August 2006 in Sydney, New South Wales (AUS)
AffiliationsNSW Police Rowing Club, Glebe (AUS)
NOC Australia

Biography

Mervyn Wood began his rowing career as a sweep oarsman, rowing in seat five in the 1936 Olympics with the New South Wales eight which dominated Australian rowing for years. He would certainly have competed in the Olympics in both 1940 and 1944 but for the war. Still he competed in the Olympics through 1956, one of the longest careers ever. In 1948, Wood, by then a sculler, won the great double of the Olympic single sculls championship and the Diamond Sculls at Henley. In 1952, Wood lost the Olympic sculls title to Yury Tyukalov, but he again won the Diamond Sculls. Although Wood still attempted to row singles, he was unable to overcome Australia’s new great, Stuart MacKenzie, and the remainder of his international appearances were in doubles. In 1956, Wood and Murray Riley won a bronze medal at the Olympics in the doubles, and in 1958, Wood paired with MacKenzie to win a silver medal at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. In the 1950 British Empire Games he won the gold medal in the single sculls and in the double sculls (with Riley). Four years later in the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games Wood won the gold medal in the double sculls (again with Riley) and in the coxed fours and in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games Wood won silver in the double sculls (with MacKenzie). Wood was a police officer as a career, and in 1977 became Commissioner of the New South Wales police force (1976-79). Wood’s 1956 doubles partner, Riley, was also a policeman, but after he left the force he became an international drug smuggler. The controversy this caused led Wood to stepdown as Commissioner in 1979.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Rowing AUS Merv Wood
Eights, Men (Olympic) Australia 2 h1 r2/3
1948 Summer Olympics Rowing AUS Merv Wood
Single Sculls, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1952 Summer Olympics Rowing AUS Merv Wood
Single Sculls, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1956 Summer Olympics Rowing AUS Merv Wood
Double Sculls, Men (Olympic) Murray Riley 3 Bronze

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1952 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony AUS Merv Wood
1956 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony AUS Merv Wood
1956 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony AUS Merv Wood

Olympic family relations

Special Notes