Queen of 1964 Olympics Sharon Stouder Passes Away at 64

Sharon Stouder Clark, queen of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, passed away on June 23rd.

She won four Olympic medals, including 3 golds, in an era where there were only 8 women’s events in 1964, including the 100 fly, as a part of the American 400 free relay, and as a part of the American 400 medley relay. She also tacked on a silver in the 100 free, losing her only race to Australia’s Dawn Fraser in that 100 free, who was swimming at the tail end of her career.

Stouder probably would have added more hardware had more events been afforded. At non-Olympic meets that year, she twice broke the World Record in the 200 fly, knocking almost three seconds off in the process. She was arguably the first American female swimming star of the modern generation, paving the way for names like Debbie Meyer and Claudia Kolb when the Olympic schedule expanded hugely in 1968.

Stouder was a graduate of Stanford and inductee into both the Stanford (1997) and International Swimming (1972) Halls of Fame. She was honored by the University for her contributions by lighting the Olympic torch in 1984 for the soccer events that took place at Stanford Stadium (north of the primary Games host in Los Angeles).

The family asks to honor Sharon by making donations “In Memory of Sharon Stouder Clark” to the Buck/Cardinal Club Stanford Athletic Department, 641 E. Campus Drive Stanford, Ca. 94305-6150.

Stouder was 64 years old.

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7 years ago

It’s sometimes a shame that more is not done to recognize some of the true pioneers of our sport. Amazing athletes who competed in the amateur only era; particularly the women who had to overcome additional barriers of the era.

I often wonder what percentage of young swimmers could name more than two swimmer’s from before 1984.

Reply to  James
7 years ago

1984?!? I’d be willing to bet most couldn’t name ONE swimmer from before 1994! But I completely agree with you!

7 years ago

I remember her as a young age grouper in So Cal. Always a great competitor. Sad to hear she’s gone.

Lane Four
7 years ago

When I saw the headline I stopped breathing. My God. What a shock and a tremendous loss. Such a great great athlete, Olympic champion and human being. My heart goes out to her friends and family.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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