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Passing of a great Olympian: Merv Wood

21 August 2006

Olympian Mervyn Wood passed away on Saturday after a long illness, aged 89.

Merv represented Australia in rowing at four Olympic Games and won three medals. He is the only Australian athlete to carry the flag at two Olympic opening ceremonies (Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956).

Merv started rowing when he was 13 at Sydney Boys High School and got his first taste of the Olympics at 19, as a member of the eight in Berlin in 1936.

At the next Olympics in London in 1948 he won gold in the single sculls, he won silver at Helsinki four years later in the same event, and at Melbourne 1956 he teamed with Murray Riley for bronze in the double sculls.

One of the proudest moments of his life was running with the Sydney 2000 torch near his home in Maroubra. He was the uncle of three-time Olympic road walker Ron Crawford.

AOC Historian Harry Gordon wrote a profile on Merv in December 2005, for the ’50 Of Our Finest’ series for this website. To read in Harry's words click here.

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