Past Athletes

Personal Data

Surname: SchollanderFirstname: DonCountry: United StatesDate of birth: 1946-04-30Birthplace : Charlotte (Caroline du nord)Height: 183 cmWeight: 75.0 kg

Career Data

Sport: SwimmingDiscipline: SprintWorld records: 21 (200m and 400m freestyle)Olympic Games (6 medals - 5 gold, 1 silver)World Championships (3 medals - 3 gold)
  • 100m: 1st (1964)
  • 200m: 2nd (1968)
  • 400m: 1st (1964)
  • 4x100m freestyle relay: 1st (1964)
  • 4x200m freestyle relay: 1st (1964, 1968)
  • 200m: 1st (1962)
  • 400m: 1st (1962)
  • 800m: 1st (1962)


The blue-eyed pool angelPopular with the girls

Don Schollander, the 18-year-old swimmer who won four gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, was considered by many as a sports enigma.

While the blue-eyed, blond-haired teenager was feted for becoming the first American to win four golds in a single Olympiad since Jesse Owens in 1936, he was also a "free spirit", claiming "swimming is one forty-second of my life. I don't sit around and talk about swimmers or read swimming magazines".

Such was his attitude in an era of ever-changing human values in the turbulent 1960's. On a strictly sports front however, there was no ambiguity about his talent.

Born in North Carolina, it was near Lake Oswego in Oregon that 12-year-old Schollander began to train three hours per day.

His mother, a former international swimmer who appeared as "Jane" in Tarzan films alongside Jonny Weissmuller, showed him the rudiments of the crawl and the breaststroke.

At the age of 15 his family moved to California and he began training five hours per day with the celebrated coach George Haines in the prestigious Santa Clara club. Progress was quick and he subsequently won three gold medals at the 1962 world championships in Tokyo.

Schollander, swimming's latest prodigy, was still only 16 years old.

Prior to his first Olympic Games, Schollander continued breaking records, watched, as ever, by an army of adoring female fans.

He became the first man to swim 200m in under 2 minutes (1:58.8) and in Tokyo coolly gathered four Olympic gold medals in 1964. He was deemed the "world's best athlete" in 1964, he won the prestigious Sullivan award and was voted Athlete of the Year by Associated Press.

Following Tokyo Schollander went to Yale, then took part, some say reluctantly, in the 1968 Mexico Games. This time he could only manage a silver and a gold.

After Mexico, Schollander continued his studies in Political Economics and went on to become the youngest ever member of the American Olympic Committee (1970).

Having written a book, "Deep Water", about the Olympic ideal, Schollander became a coach at the Lewis and Clard de Portland College and in 1983 was admitted into the Swimming Hall of Fame.


Donald Schollander of the USA trains in Tokyo before the opening of the Olympic Games in Japan, 05 October 1964. Schollander won the gold medal in the 100m freestyle event 12 October, 1964, ahead of the German Frank Wiegand and the Australian Allan Wood.
1United States462929104
3Great Britain29171965
5South Korea138728

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