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George Hodgson

Full name: George Ritchie Hodgson
Gender: Male
Born: October 12, 1893 in Montréal, Québec, Canada
Died: May 1, 1983 in Montréal, Québec, Canada
Affiliations: McGill Martlets, Montréal (CAN) / Montreal AAA, Montréal (CAN)
Country: CAN Canada
Sport: Swimming

Medals: 2 Gold (2 Total)

Biography

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.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1912 Summer 18 Stockholm Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Canada CAN 1 Gold OR
1912 Summer 18 Stockholm Swimming Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle Canada CAN 1 Gold WR
1920 Summer 26 Antwerpen Swimming Men's 400 metres Freestyle Canada CAN 4 h2 r2/3
1920 Summer 26 Antwerpen Swimming Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle Canada CAN 5 h1 r2/3

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1912 Summer 18 Stockholm Swimming Canada Final 1 OR 5:24.4
1912 Summer 18 Stockholm Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat One 1 QU/OR 5:25.4
1912 Summer 18 Stockholm Swimming Canada Round One Heat Six 1 QU 5:50.6
1920 Summer 26 Antwerpen Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat Two 4
1920 Summer 26 Antwerpen Swimming Canada Round One Heat Five 2 QU 5:49.8

Men's 1,500 metres Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1912 Summer 18 Stockholm Swimming Canada Final 1 WR 22:00.0
1912 Summer 18 Stockholm Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat One 1 QU 22:26.0
1912 Summer 18 Stockholm Swimming Canada Round One Heat Three 1 QU/WR 22:23.0
1920 Summer 26 Antwerpen Swimming Canada Semi-Finals Heat One 5
1920 Summer 26 Antwerpen Swimming Canada Round One Heat Three 2 QU 24:36.6