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Walter D'Hondt

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameWalter Ignace•D'Hondt
Used nameWalter•D'Hondt
Born11 September 1936 in Richmond, Greater London, England (GBR)
Measurements193 cm / 88 kg
AffiliationsUBC Thunderbirds, Vancouver (CAN)
NOC Canada

Biography

A graduate of England’s prestigious John Fisher School, Walter D’Hondt’s first athletic passion was the hammer throw, for which he had moved to Canada to compete at the age of 18, becoming national champion shortly thereafter. Selected for the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, he found himself too poor to attend and took up rowing instead, beginning his career as a spare on the University of British Columbia’s coxed eights crew, alongside Donald Arnold, Lorne Loomer, and Archie MacKinnon. As part of their training they were 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, and in just over a year since D’Hondt first took up rowing. 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. D’Hondt’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 Arnold, Biln, MacKinnon, David Anderson, Nelson Kuhn, John Lecky, Bill McKerlich, and Glen Mervyn. He eventually moved to the United States and took up an engineering position with Boeing in Seattle. 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 in the the British Columbia (1977) and University of British Columbia (2012) Sports Halls of Fame for his 1960 Olympic achievement.

Results

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

Special Notes