John Ferris

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 2
Total 2
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJohn Edward•Ferris
Used nameJohn•Ferris
Born24 July 1949 in Sacramento, California (USA)
Died13 September 2020 in Walnut Creek, California (USA)
Measurements180 cm / 75 kg
AffiliationsArden Hills Swim Club, Sacramento (USA)
NOC United States


John Ferris scored his first major victory in 1967 when he won the 200 butterfly at the Universiade with a world record time of 2:06.0. At the 1970 University Games, he won both butterfly events and won gold in the medley relay, while at home he took the NCAA 200 metre fly for Stanford in 1969. In 1968 Ferris was third in the AAU outdoors 200 m fly and second in the AAU indoors 200 yard fly. At the Olympic Trials, Ferris was second in both the 200 fly and 200 IM. He won bronze medals in the same two events at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Ferris did some masters swimming in 1981-83, but had an unusual, somewhat itinerant life after his early swim career. He set up a tourist resort in Tahiti on an abandoned rubber plantation. He returned to California and worked in the cut flower business, collaborating with a Dutch botanist. Ferris built a small mall in Malibu and founded a restaurant, The Blue Guitar, in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he served as the head chef. He later set up an English language school for Chinese students, but then moved to Moskva to research a novel – his second one.

In this unusual life, Ferris lived in Albania, California, Croatia, England, Ethiopia, French Polynesia, Idaho, Ireland, Istanbul, Montréal, Moskva, Newfoundland, Paris, Portugal, and Praha, where he spent the last years of his life building a successful youth hostel.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1968 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) USA John Ferris
200 metres Butterfly, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
200 metres Individual Medley, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze

Special Notes