1988 Olympic Games, Seoul, South Korea, Bronze 4x100m Medley Relay
Victor Davis, born on February 10, 1964 in Guelph, Ontario, learned how to swim in lakes around the area and joined the Guelph Marlins aquatic club at the age of 12. Just three years later, Victor burst on to the scene at the 1981 Canadian Nationals and beat Canada’s favourite Graham Smith in a come from behind victory in the 100 metre breastroke. This was his first of 31 national titles. A dedicated sportsman, he had a passion to win which led him to become one of Canada’s most prominent international swimming stars and the greatest breaststroke swimmer.
Coached by his one and only coach and mentor, Clifford Barry, Victor not only claimed 31 national titles, he also broke 3 world records and won a total of 16 medals in International competition. His international sweep started in 1982 at the World Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he set his first world record while winning the gold medal in the 200 metre breastroke. He is remembered for his outstanding performance at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles were he medaled Gold in the 200m breaststroke and 2 silver medals in the 100 breastroke and 4x100m Medley Relay. His Olympic experience continued in1988 at the Seoul Olympics where he posted the fastest 100 meter split time in history, enabling his Canadian medley relay team to capture the silver. Victor Davis has won more Olympic medals than any other swimmer in Canadian history.
In recognition of his accomplishments, Victor Davis was named Swimming Canada’s Athlete of the Year three times; 1982, 1984 and 1986. The Canadian government made him a member of the Order of Canada in 1984. He was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in1990, the latter just one year after he retired from swimming and a few months after his tragic death. And, finally, in 1994, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
On November 13, 1989, Victor was tragically killed in a hit and run accident while standing outside a suburban Montreal nightclub just after midnight. He was only 25 years old, and had only been retired from swimming for a few months. His memory and legacy still live on in the form of the Victor Davis memorial fund which helps young promising Canadian Swimmers to continue their education while training in pursuit of excellence at the international level of competition.
Victor Davis’ enormous popularity with Canadians was perhaps due as much to his cocky flamboyance as his astonishing talent. In any case, Victor was an inspiration and a model of admiration. The movie “The Fast and the Furious” produced by CBC features a convincing portrait of 2 different yet similar heroes: Victor Davis and Alex Baumann.