Renn Crichlow

golden leaf icon for Hall of Fame


Canadian paddler Renn Crichlow made his first Olympic appearance at Seoul 1988 where he reached the semi-finals in both the K1-500m and K4-1000m. At Barcelona 1992, he once again reached the semi-finals in the K1-500m and finished eighth in the K1-1000m. Four years later and having entered medical school two years prior to Atlanta 1996, Crichlow made the semi-finals of the K1-500m and had his top career Olympic finish of seventh in the K4-1000m (with Mihai Apostol, Peter Giles and Liam Jewell).

A member of the Canadian national team from 1985-96, Crichlow is a three-time World Championships medalist winning two in the K1-500m (1991 gold, 1993 silver) and one in the K1-200m (1995 bronze). He was the first Canadian male kayaker to win a medal at the World Junior Championships and the first to win a World Championship gold medal in the senior category. A 16-time Canadian senior singles champion, Crichlow also won a silver medal at the 1994 Goodwill Games.

Crichlow grew up in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean and pursued many sports eventually joining the Rideau Canoe Club at the age of 12. When he moved west for university he paddled for the Burnaby Canoe & Kayak Club. After graduating from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Science in 1994, Crichlow started medical school at Harvard University in 1994, while training for his third Olympic Games. Dr. Crichlow became a board-certified surgeon focusing on orthopedic trauma and fracture care, founded his own orthopaedic clinic and became Chief of Orthopaedics at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. In 2015, he obtained a Masters of Business Administration from Indiana University. A trauma instructor, he also travelled with the IndyCar series providing orthopaedic care to the drivers. Crichlow married his wife Heather and had five children. He stayed active spending his time wakeboarding, paddle boarding and traveling. 

After retiring from competing, Crichlow was a member of the Canadian Olympic Association Board of Directors, International Canoe Federation Athletes Committee and a motivational speaker. The annual trophy given to the winner of the CanoeKayak Canada national sprint championship in Men’s U17 K1-1000m is named in Crichlow’s honour. He was elected to the Nepean Wall of Fame in 1987, won the Harry Jerome National Achievement Award in 1992 and was named the Ottawa ACT Athlete of the Year in 1991.

Crichlow was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1992 and Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
1988 Seoul Canoe-Kayak - Sprint K-1 500m - Men11
1988 Seoul Canoe-Kayak - Sprint K-4 1,000m - Men12
1992 Barcelona Canoe-Kayak - Sprint K-1 1,000m - Men8
1992 Barcelona Canoe-Kayak - Sprint K-1 500m - Men8
1996 Atlanta Canoe-Kayak - Sprint K-4 1,000m - Men7
1996 Atlanta Canoe-Kayak - Sprint K-1 500m - Men11