Dennis Ford

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDennis George•Ford
Used nameDennis•Ford
Born3 February 1931 in East London (RSA)
Died1 January 2009 in Johannesburg (RSA)
Measurements191 cm
NOC South Africa


Dennis Ford took up swimming at the age of three, competed in his first race three years later, and joined the Transvaal team in 1950. Between 1951 and 1953 he won numerous Transvaal freestyle titles and broke many records. In 1952 he competed at four events at the Summer Olympics, three individual races (the 100, 400, and 1,500 freestyle) where he was eliminated prior to the finals, and the 4x200 m freestyle relay (alongside Graham Johnston, Peter Duncan and John Durr), where the team placed seventh. The following year he was South African champion in the 100, 400, and 1,500 m freestyle events. This led him to be selected for the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, where he took home a bronze medal in the 4x220 yard relay (with Johnston, Duncan, and Billy Steuart) and was eliminated in the heats of the 110 y freestyle.

Ford returned to the Olympics in 1956, this time participating in two events. He was eliminated in round one of the 100 m freestyle and was eighth in the 4x200 m freestyle relay with Duncan, Steuart, and Tony Briscoe. Ford retired from active competition in 1960, but continued swimming until shortly before his death from cancer on New Year’s Day 2009. He was also a proficient water polo player at the Transvaal provincial level and was involved in numerous other sports. His second marriage, in 1994, was to Moira Abernethy, a bronze medalist in the 4x100 m relay in Melbourne. Outside of athletics he was employed as an insurance company clerk and was active as a conservationist.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) RSA Dennis Ford
100 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 36
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 17
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 18
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) South Africa 7
1956 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) RSA Dennis Ford
100 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 20
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) South Africa 8

Olympic family relations

Special Notes