Don Arnold

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDonald John "Don"•Arnold
Used nameDon•Arnold
Born14 July 1935 in Kelowna, British Columbia (CAN)
Died27 June 2021 in North Vancouver, British Columbia (CAN)
Measurements178 cm / 83 kg
AffiliationsUBC Thunderbirds, Vancouver (CAN)
NOC Canada
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2


Between 1956 and 1960, Donald Arnold had a successful career on the national and international scenes, but started as a spare on the University of British Columbia’s coxed eights crew, alongside Walter D’Hondt, Lorne Loomer, and Archie MacKinnon. As part of their training, this quartet was sent to compete in the coxless fours event at the Canadian Olympic trials, where they surprisingly won the right to represent Canada at the 1956 Summer Games. At the Olympics they took gold in the coxless fours, nearly ten seconds ahead of the Americans.

Their next stop was the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, where they earned gold as members of the eights crew (coxed by Sohen Biln), while Arnold, Biln, and D’Hondt, with David Helliwell and the non-Olympian Lawrence Stapleton, captured silver in the coxed fours. Arnold’s final major international tournament was the 1960 Summer Olympics, where he won silver, Canada’s only medal at the Games, in the coxed eights with Biln, D’Hondt, MacKinnon, David Anderson, Nelson Kuhn, John Lecky, Bill McKerlich, and Glen Mervyn.

Arnold graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1962 and earned a Ph.D. in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management from the University of Indiana Bloomington in 1970. Over the course of his career he earned four national rowing titles. Among his many honors, he has been inducted into Canada’s Sports (1957), the Canadian Olympic (1958), the British Columbia Sports (1966), and the University of British Columbia Sports (1993) Halls of Fame with his gold medal-winning crew. He was inducted a second time into the British Columbia (1977) and University of British Columbia (2012) Sports Halls of Fame for his 1960 Olympic achievement.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Summer Olympics Rowing CAN Don Arnold
Coxless Fours, Men (Olympic) Canada 1 Gold
1960 Summer Olympics Rowing CAN Don Arnold
Eights, Men (Olympic) Canada 2 Silver

Special Notes