Biography:

Two-time Olympic rowing medalist Don Arnold won a gold medal in the coxless fours at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne and a silver medal in the eights at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

Don Arnold started out as a spare on the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) coxed eights crew and as part of their training they competed at the Canadian Olympic Trials in the coxless fours, which they won, and went on to represent Canada at Melbourne 1956. In the Olympic final, it was no contest in the race for gold. Arnold, stroke of the “Cinderella 4” team of Walter d’Hondt, Lorne Loomer and Archie MacKinnon, took the lead at the half-way point, winning by 10 seconds over the Americans. It was Canada’s first Olympic gold medal in rowing.  At Rome 1960, Arnold was on the Canada eights crew that was represented by the UBC’s men’s eights and were by no means favourites to win the gold medal. In the Olympic final, the Canadian crew remained even with the favoured boat until, with 200m to go, the Germans pressed ahead, and Arnold won a silver medal, with teammates D’Hondt, David Anderson, Sohen Biln, Nelson Kuhn, John Lecky, Archie MacKinnon, Bill McKerlich and Glen Mervyn. It was Canada’s only medal of the Games.

In the men’s eights at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Arnold along with his gold medal winning coxless fours team at Melbourne 1956 won the gold medal, the Canadian team dominating the competition.

Upon graduating from UBC in 1962, Arnold was presented the Bobby Gaul Award, the highest honour a UBC graduating athlete can achieve. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management from Indiana University Bloomington in 1970 where he was named the most outstanding graduating athlete. Arnold received Contribution to Sport citations from the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario, as well as a Coast Amateur Rowing Association (CARA) medal of honour for outstanding contribution to rowing. 

Along with his gold medal winning crew, Arnold was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1957, Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1958, British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 1966, University of British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, and Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame in 2018. He was inducted a second time into the British Columbia (1977) and University of British Columbia (2012) Sports Halls of Fame for his Rome 1960 silver medal.