Biography:

Derek Porter was a member of Canadian men’s eights crew at Barcelona 1992 when they won the gold medal by 0.14 seconds, in the closest rowing final in Olympic history. After Barcelona most of the men’s crew retired and Porter turned to single sculls – going from one oar to two. By Atlanta 1996, Porter was already a single sculls world champion and very much favoured for gold. He was leading the Olympic final for the first 1500m until Xeno Muller of Switzerland passed him in the last 500m. Porter hung on for silver edging out his idol, Germany’s Thomas Lange, by 0.32 seconds. The Sydney 2000 single sculls was one of the most anticipated rowing events at the Games given the loaded field of champions. It lived up to the hype with Porter finishing just off the podium in fourth in the closest single sculls race ever with just two seconds separating first from fourth.

A member of the national rowing team from 1989-2000, Porter competed in eight World Championships and is the 1993 World singles sculls champion and 1999 bronze medalist. He was a member of the men’s eight crew that won back-to-back silver medals at the 1990 and 1991 World Championships. Following Atlanta 1996, Porter was concentrating on chiropractic school in Toronto and finished 12th and 13th at the 1997 and 1998 World Championships, respectively. 

Despite the fact Porter’s father Hugh was a 1958 Commonwealth Games rowing men’s eight bronze medalist for England, he didn’t pick up an oar until his second year of university when he was re-introduced to the sport by 1984 Olympic men’s eight champion Grant Main.


Porter grew up in Victoria, British Columbia graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Victoria. After 12 years of a virtually injury-free career, which Porter mostly attributes to proactive chiropractor care, he pursued a career as a chiropractor, graduating in 1998 from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC). Porter retired after Sydney 2000, and after brief attempt at resuming his career in 2006, he settled in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife, Helen Rhee-Porter, and their child.

Porter was made a member of the Canadian Olympic (1994), British Columbia’s (1996), Canada’s Sports (2012) and Victoria’s Sports Halls of Fame (2013), and awarded the Order of British Columbia in 1996.