Victor Davis

For the Australian rules footballer, see Victor Davis (footballer).
Victor Davis
Personal information
Full name Victor Davis
National team  Canada
Born (1964-02-10)February 10, 1964
Guelph, Ontario
Died November 13, 1989(1989-11-13) (aged 25)
Montreal, Quebec
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 87 kg (192 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Breaststroke, butterfly, individual medley
Club Region of Waterloo Swim Club, Pointe-Claire Swim Club

Victor Davis, CM (February 10, 1964 – November 13, 1989) was a Canadian Olympic and world champion swimmer who specialized in the breaststroke. He also enjoyed success in the individual medley and the butterfly.


Victor Davis was born in Guelph, Ontario. 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 Guayaquil, Ecuador, he set his first world record while winning the gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke.

At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, 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.[1]

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, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1994.[2]

Only a few months after his retirement, on November 11, 1989 while outside a nightclub in the Montreal suburb of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Davis was struck by a car whose driver fled the scene. It was later determined that, due to an earlier verbal altercation with the driver, Davis had walked to the middle of the road and was brandishing a juice bottle toward the car at the time at which he was struck.[3] Two days later, the 25-year-old died of his injuries in hospital. In February 1992, Glen Crossley was found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident and sentenced to ten months in prison, ultimately serving four months.[4]


Davis'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 death, 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. Thirteen recipients of this award participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics.[5] In 2002, Victor Davis was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.[6]


Davis's life, death and legacy was remembered in Victor, a two-hour biographical drama film that was written by the Canadian former swimmer Mark Lutz, who also appeared in the title role.

Career highlights

1982 World Aquatics ChampionshipsGuayaquil, Ecuador

1982 Commonwealth GamesBrisbane, Australia

1984 Canadian Olympic TrialsEtobicoke, Ontario, Canada

1984 Summer Olympics – Los Angeles, United States

1986 Commonwealth GamesEdinburgh, Scotland

1986 World Aquatics ChampionshipsMadrid, Spain

1988 Summer OlympicsSeoul, South Korea

Canadian National Championships (including separate trials meets)

See also


  1. "Order of Canada - Victor Davis". Governor General of Canada. Archived from the original on 25 June 2013.
  2. International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Victor Davis (CAN). Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  3. "Friend of Victor Davis changed her story, inquest is told". Toronto Star. September 12, 1990.
  4. The – News – Victor Davis memory lives on through brother’s efforts
  5. Swimming Canada page for the Victor Davis Memorial Fund. A list of recipients can be accessed from this page.
  6. "Victor Davis". Retrieved 25 September 2014. External link in |website= (help)
Preceded by
David Wilkie
Men's 200-metre breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)

August 5, 1982 – August 4, 1989
Succeeded by
Mike Barrowman

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