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George Hodgson

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameGeorge Ritchie•Hodgson
Used nameGeorge•Hodgson
Born12 October 1893 in Montréal, Québec (CAN)
Died1 May 1983 in Montréal, Québec (CAN)
AffiliationsMcGill Martlets, Montréal (CAN) / Montreal AAA, Montréal (CAN)
NOC Canada


Having never received formal training, or even competed at the distance before, Canadian swimmer George Hodgson shocked the Commonwealth by defeating world record-holder Sydney Battersby and winning the mile event at the 1911 Inter-Empire Championships, an athletic tournament held as part of the “Festival of Empire” in honor of the newly-crowned George V of the United Kingdom and considered a precursor to the British Empire Games. Undefeated at the Canadian National Championships from 1910 through 1912, he went on to compete as Canada’s only swimmer at the 1912 Summer Olympics, winning gold in both of the events in which he competed: the 400 and 1,500 metres freestyle. He set an Olympic record in the former and a world record in the latter, and then returned to his native Montreal to attend McGill University, where he swam and played water polo until his 1916 graduation. His world record would last until 1923, while his distinction as Canada’s only Olympic gold medalist in swimming would survive until 1984, a year after his death at the age of 89.

After leaving McGill, Hodgson joined the Royal Naval Air Service and served in World War I, earning the United Kingdom’s Air Force Cross. He was selected to represent Canada in his gold medal-winning events at the 1920 Summer Olympics, but he failed to leave the semi-finals in either competition. He spent the rest of his life in Montreal as an investment broker at his own firm. He is a member of the Canadian Amateur Sports (1949), International Swimming (1968), McGill Sports (1996), and Quebec Swimming Federation (1998) Halls of Fame.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1912 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) CAN George Hodgson
100 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1920 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) CAN George Hodgson
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 4 h2 r2/3
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 5 h1 r2/3

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1912 Summer Olympics 6 July 1912 Swimming (Aquatics) 1,500 metres Freestyle, Men Round One, Heat Three 22:23.0 WR 1
1912 Summer Olympics 10 July 1912 Swimming (Aquatics) 1,500 metres Freestyle, Men Final 22:00.0 WR 1
1912 Summer Olympics 13 July 1912 Swimming (Aquatics) 400 metres Freestyle, Men Semi-Finals, Heat One 5:25.4 1
1912 Summer Olympics 14 July 1912 Swimming (Aquatics) 400 metres Freestyle, Men Final 5:24.4 1

Special Notes