Victor Davis

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
Personal information
Full nameVictor Davis
National teamCanada
Born(1964-02-10)February 10, 1964
Guelph, Ontario
DiedNovember 13, 1989(1989-11-13) (aged 25)
Montreal, Quebec
Height1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight87 kg (192 lb)
StrokesBreaststroke, butterfly, individual medley
ClubRegion of Waterloo Swim Club, Pointe-Claire Swim Club


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

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.[3] Crossley told police he hit Davis while trying to avoid a juice bottle Davis threatened to throw at the vehicle and didn't realize he made contact with the swimmer. However, other testimony showed that Davis was actually hit from behind and thrown 14 meters in the air before hitting his head on a parked car and a street curb. [4] Two days later, the 25-year-old swimmer died of a severe skull fracture as well as brain and spinal hemorrhage 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.[5] In January 2017 Glen Crossley was charged in the death of 70 year-old Albert Arsenault after an altercation at the Station 77 bar in September 2016. Crossley plead guilty to manslaughter in Arsenault's death[6]


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 corneas 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.[7] In 2002, Victor Davis was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.[8]

In Guelph, the city named the 50m swimming pool in honour of Victor Davis.


Davis's life, death and legacy were 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.[9]

Career highlights

1982 World Aquatics ChampionshipsGuayaquil, Ecuador

  • Gold medal – 200 m breaststroke (world record 2:14.77, breaking the old record of 2:15.11 set by David Wilkie in 1976)
  • Silver medal – 100 m breaststroke

1982 Commonwealth GamesBrisbane, Australia

  • Gold medal – 200 m Breaststroke
  • Silver medal – 100 m Breaststroke

1984 Canadian Olympic TrialsEtobicoke, Ontario, 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 – 4 × 100 m medley relay

1986 Commonwealth GamesEdinburgh, Scotland

  • Gold medal – 4 × 100 m medley relay
  • Gold medal – 100 m breaststroke
  • Silver medal – 200 m breaststroke

1986 World Aquatics ChampionshipsMadrid, Spain

  • Gold medal – 100 m breaststroke
  • Silver medal – 200 m breaststroke

1988 Summer OlympicsSeoul, South Korea

  • Silver medal – 4 × 100 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


  1. "Order of Canada - Victor Davis". Governor General of Canada. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  2. International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honorees, Victor Davis (CAN). Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  3. Almond, Elliott (November 14, 1989). "Swimmer Victor Davis, 25, Dies of Injuries". Los Angeles Times.
  4. Woods, Allan. "Man who killed Victor Davis in 1989 charged in 2016 death". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  5. The – News – Victor Davis memory lives on through brother’s efforts
  6. Wilton, Katherine (September 9, 2019). "Driver who fatally hit Victor Davis pleads guilty in death of senior". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  7. Swimming Canada page for the Victor Davis Memorial Fund. A list of recipients can be accessed from this page.
  8. "Victor Davis". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  9. "Victor: His Name, His Mission"., Inc. 1 Oct 2009. Retrieved 11 Jan 2017.
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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