Mervyn Wood

Mervyn Thomas ( " Merv " ) Wood, LVO, MBE ( born April 30, 1917 in Kensington, Sydney, New South Wales; † August 19, 2006 in Sydney) was an Australian rower. He rowed for more than twenty years, participated in four Olympic Games and won three Olympic medals in the one and in the double sculls. At work Wood worked as a police officer. He rose to commander ( Commissioner) on the Police of the State of New South Wales, but was forced to resign amid allegations of corruption.


Mervyn Wood was the youngest of four children of Thomas Wood, who had emigrated to Australia in 1905 and joined the police service. He grew up in the southeastern suburb of Randwick and graduated from Sydney Boys High School. Wood represented his school in the sports of rugby union, swimming and most successful in rowing. After high school graduation, he became a police cadet and joined the rowing club of the police of New South Wales.

The Australian Olympic Committee nominated the police team as a representative at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Woods eight - team eliminated in the repechage. After his return from Germany he was promoted to Constable. Since most of his eight colleagues were resigned, he began to row with the One. Wood was a member of the Intelligence Division of crime and reported in 1944 in the Royal Australian Air Force to serve as a navigator.

After the end of World War II Wood won the championships of Australia and New South Wales in the years 1946 to 1948. This allowed him to participate in the Summer Olympics 1948 in London. He left before the other oarsmen and won the Competition One of the Henley Royal Regatta. In the Olympic final race he won by a margin of nearly 14 seconds. Wood was elected to Australia's Sportsman of the Year and won thereafter seven times in a row the Australian Championships. In the British Empire Games in Auckland in 1950 he won the One, along with Murray Riley in the double sculls.

At the Summer Olympics in Helsinki in 1952 Wood was flag bearer during the opening ceremony. On the way to Finland he had made a trip to England and repeated his success at the Henley Royal Regatta. In Olympic competition, he was considered favorite, but lost the Russian Yuri Tjukalow. In the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954 in Vancouver Wood rowed in the double sculls and coxless four. Although the final race took place only at a distance of 45 minutes, he won both times.

1956 Wood lost his National One title to Stuart MacKenzie. He was not nominated for this race at the Olympic Summer Games in 1956, however, together with Murray Riley for the double sculls. After he had been standard-bearer for the second time during the opening ceremony ( he is the only Australians, the received this honor ), he won the bronze medal with the double sculls. For the last time as rowers Wood joined the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958 in Cardiff in appearance, where he was second with the double sculls together with Stuart MacKenzie at the age of 41 years.

Thereafter, Wood very focused on his career in the police force of New South Wales. He was promoted several times and finally appointed commandant in 1977. His rowing partner Riley had also been a policeman, but then had the police leave and set up an international drug smuggling ring. Woods connection to Riley, the controversy resulting from this and numerous other cases of corruption in the police force in 1979 forced him to resign. He was charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice in 1989, the prosecution had but two years later to be dropped due to statute of limitations.


Olympic Games:

Empire / Commonwealth Games:

Henley Royal Regatta:

  • Winner 1948 and 1952 with the One