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Bill LaRochelle

Full name: William Donald "Bill" LaRochelle
Gender: Male
Born: July 12, 1926 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Died: April 29, 2011 in San Carlos, California, United States
Affiliations: Chatham
Country: CAN Canada
Sport: Athletics

Related Olympians: Husband (divorced) of Donna Gilmore.


Bill LaRochelle developed his athletic abilities in high school across several sports, but did not see his star truly rise until he began competing as a student at the University of Western Ontario. His first passion was track and field, where his prowess earned him a spot on Canada's delegation to the 1948 Summer Olympics. In the 400 metre hurdles he failed to advance in a heat won by eventual silver medalist [Duncan White], while in the 4×400 metres relay his team did not escape the opening round. He would later compete at the 1950 British Empire Games, after almost being cut from the team due to funding issues, where he finished fifth in the 4×440 yards relay (with [Bill Parnell], [Don Pettie] , and [Jack Hutchins]) and was eliminated in the heats of 440 yards and 440 yards hurdles. LaRochelle was twice Canadian champion in the 440 hurdles, winning in 1948-49.

Funding was not the only obstacle in LaRochelle's path to the British Empire Games. In 1949 he had begun attending the University of Ottawa and playing football with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, which led some to question his status as an amateur athlete. Nonetheless he attended the Games and, upon graduation, moved to Winnipeg to suit up with the CFL's Blue Bombers.

During his tenure with the team, LaRochelle developed an interest in medicine, which ultimately led him to pursue a doctorate of medicine from the University of Manitoba. He acquired this in 1959 and moved to the United States to set up a practice, first in North Dakota, and then in California, where he spent the remainder of his life.

Personal Bests: 400 – unknown; 400H – 54.5y (1948).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1948 Summer 22 London Athletics Men's 400 metres Hurdles Canada CAN 4 h6 r1/3
1948 Summer 22 London Athletics Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay Canada CAN 3 h2 r1/2

Men's 400 metres Hurdles

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H)
1948 Summer 22 London Athletics Canada Round One Heat Six 4 54.9

Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T(H)
1948 Summer 22 London Athletics Canada CAN Round One Heat Two 3 3:19.0
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