Canadian Bill Crothers made his Olympic debut at Tokyo 1964, where he was up against the world record holder and defending Olympic champion in the 800m. He ran wisely, winning his first round and semi-final races with times that got progressively faster. In the 800m final, at the start of the homestretch Crothers was in third, ran down Jamaican George Kerr in his sprint for home, and won the silver medal setting a personal best time of 1:45.69. Crothers also reached the semi-finals of the 400m. At Mexico City 1968, Crothers was a member of the 4x400m relay team that was eliminated in the first round.
Crothers began running at 15 under the direction of Fred Foote, the coach of the East York Track Club. He made his international debut at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, where he finished sixth as a member of the 4x400m relay team. Following Tokyo 1964, Crothers won the 800m gold at the 1965 Summer Universiade, and was was ranked by Track & Field News magazine as one of the top 800m runners of that year and the second best of the decade. At the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, he won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay. In one of his last major meets, Crothers won two silver medals at the 1967 Pan American Games (800m, 4x400m relay). From 1961-67, Crothers was the national champion over 800m, and the 400m champion from 1961-65. At one point in his running career, Crothers held the Canadian record in all distances from 400m to 1500m and a World indoor 800m record (set in 1964).
Born in Markham, Ontario, Crothers grew up in the Toronto suburbs attending Agincourt Collegiate Institute before studying pharmacy at the University of Toronto, then pursued a career as a pharmacist (Kiernan-Crothers Pharmacy) in Markham. He spent over 30 years contributing to the growth of tennis in Ontario and acting as Trustee for the York Region District School Board. The “Bill Crothers Secondary School”, an athletic-focused high school in York Region, opened in his honour in August 2008.
In 1963, Crothers won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete, and in 1964, the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada’s top male athlete. Crothers was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1965, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, and Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. He received the Tennis Canada Distinguished Service Award in 2003.
|1964 Tokyo||Athletics||800m - Men||Silver|
|1964 Tokyo||Athletics||400m - Men||-|
|1968 Mexico City||Athletics||Relay 4x400m - Men||-|