The 1956 UBC/VRC eights had only a year to prepare for the 1956 Olympic Games. Although only half of the crew was composed of rowers who had any experience, coach Frank Read successfully rebuilt a team strong enough to challenge for Olympic gold.
At those Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, the UBC/VRC eights representing Canada won silver in the 2000m event, posting a time of six minutes 37.1 seconds, missing the gold by only three-quarters of a length.
During their win, the eights were cheered on by the UBC/VRC coxless fours crew who had won Canada’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in rowing earlier in the day and had trained side-by-side with the eights crew back home in Vancouver.
Team Members:
Tom Gray (spare), Dave Helliwell (4), Phil Kueber (bow), Dick McClure (3), Doug McDonald (7), Bill McKerlich (6), Carl Ogawa (cox), Wayne Pretty (5), Frank Read (coach), Glen Smith (spare), Laurie West (stroke), Bob Wilson (2).
This team is also inducted in the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. For their UBC biography, please visit