Bobby Pearce (sculler)

Henry Robert ( "Bobby" ) Pearce ( born September 30, 1905 in Sydney, † May 20, 1976 in Toronto ) was an Australian rower of the One was successful in the 1920s and 1930s. He won in 1928 and 1932 depending on an Olympic gold medal, was three times world champion in the pros and also won at the Henley Royal Regatta. He later moved to Canada and took Canadian citizenship.


Pearce was born into a sports-minded family. His great-grandfather had emigrated from England in 1850 and settled on the Double Bay in Sydney; as a change to his work as a fisherman, he ran a shed for rowing boats. The grandfather John Pearce sr. was Australian champion in the one - rowing, as Father John Pearce, Jr. One of Pearce's aunts was swimming champion of New South Wales, his uncle Sandy Pearce a successful rugby league players. Brother Cecil Pearce took part in 1936 in the one - rowing in the Olympics.

At the age of six years, Pearce began to row. He left school early to become a carpenter and later worked in his father's fishing business. From 1923 he served in the Australian Army. After winning the Army Cup heavyweight boxing in 1926, he turned entirely to the rowing. From 1927 to 1929, he won three consecutive championships in the Australian one. In 1928, he wanted to attend the Henley Royal Regatta. Participation was denied him because he was a carpenter by trade, and until 1937 only rowers were admitted who did not earn their money through physical labor.

At the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam in 1928 Pearce was standard bearer of the Australian team. He won the Olympic race each with ease and by a large margin, even as he had to stop short in the quarterfinals to have a family of ducks to pass. In the final race, he won the gold medal with an improvement of 25 seconds Olympic record.

During the world economic crisis Pearce was unemployed. Only with the financial support of friends, he was able to attend the British Empire Games in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada. He sat down by the one-man race against the Englishman Jack Beresford and attracted the attention of the whiskey manufacturers Lord Dewar, who offered him a job as a salesman. This allowed him to participate in 1931 at the Henley Royal Regatta and won the race with half a boat length lead.

At the Olympic Summer Games 1932 in Los Angeles Pearce won with just one second ahead of the second time the gold medal, the rest of the field was back almost half a minute. Although he lived now in Canada, he had to leave for Australia, but according to the rules of the IOC continues. A year later he became a professional rower, which excluded him from further participation. He won the Professional World Championship in 1933 in Toronto and repeated this success in 1934 in London. Shortly after the death of his wife he won in 1938 in Toronto for a third time, then stepped back and received as Canada's athlete of the year the Lou Marsh Trophy.

From 1939 to 1940 Pearce was active as a professional wrestler and then voluntarily resigned in the reserve troops of the Royal Canadian Navy. He was promoted to lieutenant and was responsible for the training of new soldiers for the Navy, he also made public work. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1956 and returned back to civilian life. Pearce again worked as a salesman and became a Canadian citizen in 1970.