Neil McDonell

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWilliam Neil•McDonell
Used nameNeil•McDonell
Born15 July 1876 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota (USA)
Died11 May 1941 in Mare Island, California (USA)
Measurements184 cm
AffiliationsUS Navy, (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 1
Total 2


Dr. Neil McDonell was the medical officer for the U.S. Olympic shooters in both 1912 and 1920, and he competed in six events in 1912. Individually he did little, and in the running deer event – which he had never shot before – he cost the USA team the gold medal with a very poor performance, but in the smallbore rifle team match he shot very well to help the Americans win a bronze medal.

McDonell studied medicine at the University of Minnesota. During the Spanish-American War he enlisted in the Navy and spent 18 months in the Philippines, before returning to finish his degree. He served as a medical officer at Annapolis and began a 40-year Naval career. He spent many years on board various battleships but in later years was in charge of naval hospitals in Pensacola, San Diego, and Mare Island, California. McDonell was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He retired from the Navy as a Captain and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1912 Summer Olympics Shooting USA Neil McDonell
Military Rifle, Three Positions, 300 metres, Men (Olympic) 31
Military Rifle, Any Position, 600 metres, Men (Olympic) 32
Small-Bore Rifle, Any Position, 50 metres, Men (Olympic) 18
Small-Bore Rifle, Disappearing Target, 25 metres, Men (Olympic) 14
Small-Bore Rifle, Disappearing Target, 25 metres, Team, Men (Olympic) United States 3 Bronze
Running Target, Single Shot, Team, Men (Olympic) United States 2 Silver


Place of birth also listed as Detroit, Minnesota and Lake Eunice Township, Minnesota; and place of death listed as San Rafael, California in official sources, but Detroit Lakes, MN, and Mare Island, CA seem most likely and also listed in official sources.