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Victor Davis, CM (February 10, 1964 – November 13, 1989) was a Canadian Olympic and world champion swimmer, a well known breaststroker from Canada. He also enjoyed success in the individual medley and the butterfly.


Victor Davis was born in Guelphmarker, Ontariomarker, Canada. As a boy, Davis learned how to swim in the lakes around his home. He then joined the Guelph Marlin Aquatic Club at the age of 12.

During his career, Davis held several world records as the winner of 31 national titles and 16 medals in international competition. At the 1982 world championships in Guayaquilmarker, Ecuadormarker, he set his first world record while winning the gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke.

At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Californiamarker, he won a silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke event, then captured the gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke, in the process establishing another world record. In recognition of his accomplishments, Davis was named Swimming Canada's Athlete of the Year three times and the Canadian government made him a Member of the Order of Canada.

A star of Canada's national swim team for nine years, he retired from competitive swimming in July 1989. He was voted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985 and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Only a few months after his retirement, on November 11, 1989 while outside a nightclub in the Montreal suburb of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebecmarker, Davis was struck by an automobile whose driver fled the scene. It was suspected that Davis and the driver had been in a heated argument. Two days later, the 25 year-old died of his injuries in hospital. In February 1992, more than two years after the accident, Glen Crossley was found guilty of hit-and-run. He spent four months behind bars.


Victor's parents fulfilled his express wish that his organs be donated to help save the lives of others. The swimmer's heart, liver, kidneys and two cornea were transplanted.

Each year since his passing, awards are made by The Victor Davis Memorial Fund to help young Canadian swimmers continue their education while training in pursuit of excellence at the international level of competition. To date, more than 86 athletes have benefited from this award, and many of them have gone on to have successful swimming careers. 13 recipients of this award have participated in the Beijing Olympics.


Victor's life, death and legacy was remembered in VICTOR, a two-hour movie which was telecast on Sunday, January 13, 2008 and Saturday, June 7, 2008 on CBC Television. The movie was a critical and ratings smash. The movie was written by the former Canadian swimmer Mark Lutz, who appeared in the title role.

Career highlights

1982 World Aquatics Championships - Guayaquilmarker, Ecuador
  • Gold medal – 200 m breaststroke (world record 2:14.77, breaking the old record of 2:15.11 set by David Wilke in 1976)
  • Silver medal – 100 m breaststroke

1982 Commonwealth GamesBrisbanemarker, Australia
  • Gold medal – 200 m Breaststroke
  • Silver medal - 100 m Breaststroke

1984 Canadian Olympic Trials - Etobicoke, Ontariomarker, Canada
  • Won the 200 m breaststroke (broke his own world record with a time of 2:14.58, bettering his 1982 time)

1984 Summer Olympics – Los Angeles, United States
  • Gold medal - 200 m breaststroke (established world record at 2:13.34, lowering his own 1984 record time)
  • Silver medal - 100 m breaststroke
  • Silver medal - 4x100 m medley relay

1986 Commonwealth GamesEdinburghmarker, Scotland
  • Gold medal - 4x100 m medley relay
  • Gold medal - 100 m breaststroke
  • Silver medal - 200 m breaststroke

1986 World Aquatics ChampionshipsMadridmarker, Spain
  • Gold medal - 100 m breaststroke
  • Silver medal - 200 m breaststroke

1988 Summer OlympicsSeoulmarker, South Korea
  • Silver medal - 4x100 m medley relay (1.00.90 split)
  • Fourth place - 100 m breaststroke (1.02.38)

Canadian National Championships (including separate trials meets)
  • 17-time national champion, 100 m breaststroke
  • 14-time national champion, 200 m breaststroke
  • 2-time national champion, 200 m butterfly
  • 2-time national champion, 200 m individual medley
  • 1 national championship, 400 m individual medley

See also

External links

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