Scottish Olympic Champion David Wilkie Dies at 70

David Wilkie MBE, a Scottish swimmer and British Olympic champion, died Wednesday morning at the age of 70 after battling cancer.

One of Britain’s most successful international swimmers, in 1976 Wilkie became the first British man to win Olympic gold in the pool in 68 years.

Wilkie won gold in the 200 breaststroke at the Montreal Olympic Games, breaking the world record at the time by over three seconds. He also took home a silver medal in the 100 breaststroke at the same Olympics.

Wilkie previously won silver in the 200 breaststroke at the 1972 Games in Munich and was the world champion in the event in 1973.

In addition to his Olympic success, Wilkie broke five world records and brought home a multitude of medals from his performances at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships over the course of his career.

Wilkie’s first major medal was a bronze in the 200 breaststroke at the 1970 Commonwealth Games; he went on to win gold in both the 200 breaststroke and the 200 IM at the 1974 competition. He was crowned world champion in the 200 breaststroke in 1973 and was the world champion in both breaststroke events in 1975.

Wilkie first learned to swim in Sri Lanka, where he was born in 1954 to Scottish parents, before returning to Scotland in 1965 to attend Daniel Stewart’s College and joining Warrender Baths Club for swimming.

In 1969, Wilkie was selected by the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association to join the elite Scottish Training Squad.

Wilkie headed to the University of Miami in 1973 to study marine biology and continue training, where he quickly established himself as the best breastroker in the world.

He retired from competitive swimming one month after the Montreal Games at the age of 22, going on to become a successful businessman.

Wilkie was awarded an MBE in 1977 and was voted British Sports Personality of the Year in 1975.

His son, Adam Wilkie, said in a statement: “My dad was a truly wonderful man, father, and husband. He achieved so much in his life and those that knew him will never forget his love for life, kindness, and wonderful sense of humour.”

Wilkie is survived by his wife, Helen, and children, Natasha and Adam.

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Rob Davis
1 month ago

Saddened to read this. David Wilkie was one of my swimming heroes.

Anthony Memory
1 month ago

I was so lucky to have met him at Crystal Palace, London pool. just schocked that this very jovial guy has passed. He was, as I remember, so cool with all us youngsters at the meet. wow. Tony. UK.

1 month ago

Wow! I idolized David as a boy and tried hard to copy his technique. You’re definitely old when your swimming role-models start to die. Anyway, my condolences to those who knew this man and are mourning his death.

1 month ago

He was a true champion, a real inspiration to so many young British swimmers in the 1970s and beyond.

Luis Vargas
1 month ago

Rest in peace fellow hurricane!

1 month ago

He also broke the world record in the 200 im in the 1974 European Championships in Vienna. RIP

1 month ago

Growing up in Britain David Wilkie was the first swimmer I ever heard of as he was always on TV after his Olympic gold. RIP.

1 month ago

May his soul rest in peace