Wally Wolf

Wallace Perry Wolf Jr. (October 2, 1930 – March 12, 1997) was an American competition swimmer, water polo player, and Olympic champion. He competed in the 1948, 1952, 1956, and 1960 Summer Olympics.

Wally Wolf
Personal information
Full nameWallace Perry Wolf Jr.
National team United States
Born(1930-10-02)October 2, 1930
Los Angeles, California
DiedMarch 12, 1997(1997-03-12) (aged 66)
Santa Ynez, California
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight176 lb (80 kg)
StrokesFreestyle, water polo
ClubLynwood Swim Club
College teamUniversity of Southern California

At Beverly Hills High School, he won the CIF 220y-freestyle championship three years running, 1945-47, and was the CIF record holder in 220y-freestyle and individual medley. As a 17-year-old representing the United States at the 1948 Olympics in London, he won a gold medal as member of the U.S. team in the men's 4×200-meter freestyle relay which set a world record of 8:46. At the US Olympic trials of the 1948 4x200-meter freestyle relay, several swimmers who had already qualified in other events slowed down in their heats or swam fast in the prelims and scratched themselves for the final to allow more swimmers to qualify for the US Olympic Team.[4] He was the top qualifier in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay trials final with a time of 2:14 flat.[5]

Ultimately, coach Robert Kiphuth did hold a time trial shortly after the actual trials[6] with eleven of the swimmers. This time trial had Jimmy McLane as first overall with a time of 2:11.0, Bill Smith and Wally Wolf in 2:11.2, and Wally Ris in 2:12.4. This quartet was used for the Olympic final and won the gold medal. The next four-Eugene Rogers in 2:14.2, Edwin Gilbert in 2:15.4, Robert Gibe in 2:15.6, and William Dudley in 2:15.9, were used in the Olympic prelims.[7] The next three swimmers-Joe Verdeur who came in 2:16.3, Alan Ford in 2:16.4 and George Hoogerhyde in 2:17.4 were not used in any capacity in the 4x200 freestyle relay.

Four years later at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, Wolf once again was the top qualifier in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay at the US Olympic trials. Like the trials in 1948, several top swimmers-Ford Konno, Clarke Scholes, William Woolsey, Wayne Moore and Jimmy McLane swam under their potential in the trials and failed to qualify for the final who had otherwise qualified in other events.[8] Coach Matt Mann used four of the swimmers who actually qualified in the trials for the Olympic prelim. For the final, Mann used Konno, Woolsey, Moore and McLane who won the gold medal. Wolf helped the U.S. relay team to qualify for the final of the men's 4×200-meter freestyle relay, but, under the international swimming rule of the time, he was not awarded with a medal because he did not swim in the event final.

He attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he swam for the USC Trojans swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition and was a four time All American. He graduated from USC with a bachelor's degree in 1951, and later returned to USC to earn a law degree in 1957.[9]

Wolf was a member of the U.S. men's team that finished fifth in the 1956 water polo tournament in Melbourne, Australia, playing in five matches. Again, four years later at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, he finished seventh with the U.S. men's water polo team in the 1960 tournament. He played all seven matches and scored five goals.

He was the son of famous vaudeville music director Rube Wolf Sr. and Fanchonnette Sunny (Rutherford) Wolf. He married and had three children- Wallace Scott, John and Lori.

He was born in Los Angeles and died in Santa Ynez, California. He was Jewish.[10]

See also


  1. Los Angeles Times 29 July 1951 Page B11
  2. New York Times 21 August 1949 Page S2
  3. Los Angeles Times 1 April 1951 Page B13
  4. New York Times 25 July 1948 Page S3
  5. Page 119 1948 US Olympic Book
  6. New York Times 28 July 1948 Page 29
  7. Page 128 1948 US Olympic Book
  8. Page 131 1952 US Olympic Book
  9. University of Southern California, About USC, A Trojan Olympic Miscellany. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  10. http://scjewishsportshof.com/wolf-wally.html
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