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.