Two-Time Australian Olympian Allan Wood Dies at 79

Two-time Australian Olympian Allan Wood died on Oct. 10 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 79.

Wood was a two-time Olympic medalist during his competitive swimming career, earning a pair of bronze medals in the men’s 400 and 1500 freestyle at the 1964 Games in Tokyo.

He also competed at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, swimming in the heats for the men’s 4x200m free relay. The Australian team of John Devitt, John Konrads, David Dickson, and Murray Rose earned the bronze medal, but Wood did not receive one as prelim relay swimmers didn’t begin earning medals until 1984.

Born in Wollongong, a coastal city south of Sydney, Wood also qualified for the Australian team at the 1962 Commonwealth Games and found success while working under esteemed Australian coach Don Talbot.

Wood had strong performances at the 1964 Tokyo Games under the tutelage of Talbot, guiding him to his pair of bronze medals which both came in the form of personal best times. Wood also competed in the 4×200 free relay final but narrowly missed the podium, with the Aussie team finishing fourth.

Prior to Tokyo, Wood raced in similar events at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. He won gold in world record fashion in the 4×220-yard free relay and earned silver in the 440-yard free and bronze in the 1650-yard free.

According to Commonwealth Games Australia, the relay consisting of Tony Strahan, Bob Windle, Rose, and Wood was considered by many as a “dream team.” Strahan recalled his experience of performing in front of a home crowd as having an atmosphere akin to a “real amphitheater.”

Wood retired from competitive swimming after the 1964 Games and remained involved in the sport as a coach for some time. Later in life, he removed himself from the sport and relocated to the Gold Coast, Queensland, to breed horses in the Currumbin Valley.

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