Robert Helmick

Biographical information

Full nameRobert Hanna•Helmick
Used nameRobert•Helmick
Born5 March 1937 in Des Moines, Iowa (USA)
Died15 April 2003 in Des Moines, Iowa (USA)
NOC United States


Robert Helmick attended Drake University in 1957, also earning a law degree from the school in 1960, and living in Iowa his entire life. He was known for his donations and contributions to Drake, which later led to the formation of Helmick Commons, completed in 2002.

A water polo player as a youth, Helmick served as chairman of the US water polo committee from 1969-72, became chairman of FINA’s water polo technical committee in 1976, and in 1978 became secretary-general of FINA, the International Swimming Federation. He became President of the US Olympic Committee (USOC) in 1985 and that same year was co-opted onto the IOC. He also served for a time as President of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) and in 1978 helped pass the US Amateur Sports Act, which revolutionized the governance of Olympic sports in the United States, and also ushered in Title XI legislation, which equalized sports opportunities for women in the USA.

In 1991 Helmick was accused of using his position as a lawyer and member of the IOC to help some of his private clients profit, which included sporting organizations. He was investigated by the IOC for these alleged transgressions, but shortly before the report came out, Helmick resigned from the IOC in September 1991. He also stepped down concurrently as USOC President.

Organization roles

Role Organization Tenure NOC As
President World Aquatics 1984—1988 USA Robert Helmick
Member International Olympic Committee 1985—1991 USA Robert Helmick
President United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee 1985—1991 USA Robert Helmick
Executive Board Member International Olympic Committee 1989—1991 USA Robert Helmick

Special Notes