Ken Richmond

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameKenneth Alan "Ken"•Richmond
Used nameKen•Richmond
Born10 July 1926 in Kensington, Greater London, England (GBR)
Died3 August 2006 in Christchurch, Dorset, England (GBR)
Measurements190 cm / 120 kg
AffiliationsForresters AC, (GBR)
NOC Great Britain

Biography

When Ken Richmond won the bronze medal in the heavyweight division at the 1952 Olympics, he was Great Britain’s first wrestling medalist since Sam Rabin in 1928, and it would not be until Noel Loban won bronze in 1984 that they would win another wrestling medal. Richmond also had the distinction of being the first Englishman to win a Commonwealth Games wrestling gold medal, when he won the heavyweight title in 1954. He had won the bronze medal four years earlier.

Richmond was brought up close to the Pinewood studios of the J. Arthur Rank Organisation; consequently movies were always in his blood, and in the mid-1940s he was an extra in two big movies of the day: Henry V and Blithe Spirit. Ironically, in the mid-1950s, Richmond became the fourth man to bang the gong at the start of the Rank films. He revealed shortly before his death that the gong was, in fact, made from papier-mâché and was only a stage prop.

At school, Richmond was more interested in judo, and only took up wrestling in the late-1940s. In 1948 he lost in the heavyweight final of the Southern Area Championships to Fred Oberlander, who had been undefeated since 1939. Richmond’s performance won him selection for the Greco-Roman light-heavyweight division at the London Olympics, where he finished a commendable fifth. In 1949 Richmond won both the British and Irish freestyle heavyweight titles. He went on to win nine more British heavyweight titles, in 1950, 1952-56 and 1958-60. He was also the dual light-heavy and heavyweight champion in 1950. He competed in four Olympics, 1948-60, and three Commonwealth Games 1950-58.

Despite his love of wrestling, Ken Richmond was a dedicated pacifist and towards the end of World War II, served time in prison as a conscientious objector. After the war he spent nine months in Antarctica aboard a whaling ship, and on his return to Britain, started getting walk-on parts in the movies, but his life was to change completely in the late 1960s when he became a Jehovah’s Witness. He spent two years in Malta as a missionary, and on his return, travelled around Britain as district overseer for the movement, and to make ends meet, took a variety of jobs, including window cleaning. In later life, Richmond became an excellent windsurfer, and was still winning medals and trophies into his late-sixties. He was still active in his mid-seventies, when only a bad car accident in 2001 curtailed him.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Wrestling GBR Ken Richmond
Light-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman, Men (Olympic) 5
1952 Summer Olympics Wrestling GBR Ken Richmond
Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1956 Summer Olympics Wrestling GBR Ken Richmond
Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) =4
1960 Summer Olympics Wrestling GBR Ken Richmond
Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 9

Special Notes