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Donald Gollan

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDonald Herbert Louis•Gollan
Used nameDonald•Gollan
Born19 January 1896 in Paddington, Greater London, England (GBR)
Died13 August 1971 in Worthing, West Sussex, England (GBR)
Measurements91 kg
AffiliationsThames Rowing Club, Putney (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Donald Gollan was the son of New Zealand-born race horse owner Spencer Gollan, who enjoyed success in the Classics in New Zealand and Australia, and in 1904 was the owner of the Aintree Grand National winner Mifaa.

Donald was deaf and mute from birth, but this did not preclude his from sporting activities as a youngster, and he went on to become an excellent rower. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge and was a member of the First Trinity rowing team, and in 1919 was beaten by Sidney Swann in the finals of the University’s Colquhoun Sculls.

At the Henley Royal Regatta, Gollan represented First Trinity, Thames Rowing Club and Leander. He reached the final of the Diamond Sculls on three occasions, losing to Jack Beresford in 1920 and 1925, and to Morris Morris in 1923.

Having made his début in the Wingfield Sculls in the last race before the outbreak of World War I, Gollan competed in the first race after the hostilities in 1920, when he finished second to Beresford. The following year, Gollan was first over the line but the umpire ruled that Beresford was the winner on a foul after Gollan’s boat collided heavily with the defending champion’s boat.

Beresford won the Wingfield Sculls again in 1922 and 1923 with Gollan in second place each time. Gollan, however, had the consolation of being in the Thames RC eight that won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley in 1927 and 1928, and in the second year the eight represented Great Britain at the Amsterdam Olympics where they won the silver medal.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1928 Summer Olympics Rowing GBR Donald Gollan
Eights, Men (Olympic) Great Britain 2 Silver

Special Notes