Don Arnold’s Historic Win

Don Arnold, the younger son of Nelson and May Arnold, and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. John Arnold and Wayne Pretty, the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Pretty, both from Winfield qualified for the 1956 Olympics. Don Arnold along with teammates Walter d’Hondt, Lorne Loomer and Archie McKinnon won a gold medal in rowing in the 1956 Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia. First gold medal in rowing for Canada. Don stroked a crew of four, to break the world record by 30 seconds. Don along with member Wayne Pretty rowed in the Eights as well and brought Canada a Silver Medal by coming in second. 

Spectators along the course heard an Australian announcer (as later rendered by a Canadian reporter) describe the end of the race: “What a superb sight. The form of this crew from Canada is absolutely am-eye-zing,” the commentator declared. “The U.S. is putting on a spurt, but these Can-eye-dians are simply pulling aw-eye.” After their shocking triumph, the quartet was dubbed the “Cinderella Fours” for their fairytale win.

After managing the Canadian rowing team at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, Mr. Arnold co-founded Rowing BC, serving as the governing body’s executive director for 13 years as he encouraged the development of the sport throughout the province.

Mr. Arnold, a resident of West Vancouver, died of heart failure on June 27, 2021 at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. He leaves his wife, Linda (née Palin), whom he married in 1978. He also leaves three sons and six grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife, the former Gwendolyn (Wendy) Mary Amor, who died of breast cancer in 1977, whom he had married in 1959. 

Don Arnold was raised in Winfield (now Lake Country) on a family orchard that lacked electricity and running water until after the Second World War. Don Arnold drove trucks as a teenager after the family business expanded into serving local fruit growers with transport and a refrigeration plant.

By: Mrs. W. R. Powley-Winfield Women’s Institute, Tom Hawthorn-The Globe and Mail.

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