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Conn Findlay, Who Won Medals At Four Olympics And Was USC’s Oldest Living Olympic Gold Medalist, Dies

Apr 9, 2021

LOS ANGELES--Conn Findlay, a medalist in rowing and sailing at four Olympics who is regarded as USC's greatest rower, died on Thursday (April 8).  He was 90. 

At the time of his passing, he was USC's oldest surviving Olympic medalist and gold medalist.  He also was USC's third oldest surviving Olympian, behind swimmer Iris Cummings Critchell (100) and water poloist William Ross (92). 

Findlay won gold medals in the coxed pair rowing event at the 1956 Melbourne and 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which sandwiched a bronze in the event at the 1960 Rome Olympics.  Then, at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, he competed in sailing and captured a bronze medal in the tempest two-man keelboat class event, crewing for Dennis Conner. 

He is one of six Trojans to have competed in the Olympics in two different sports, joining Ira Courtney (track, baseball), Howard Drew (track, baseball), Robert Hughes (water polo, swimming), Fred Kelly (track, baseball) and Wallace Wolf (swimming, water polo). 

In rowing, Findlay also won a gold medal at the 1963 Pan American Games in coxed pair and placed fifth in the event at the 1962 World Championships.  He was named USRowing's Man of the Year in 2007. 

In sailing, he also was part of the winning America's Cup sailing crews in 1974 and 1977. 

Findlay rowed at USC as a senior in the 1953-54 season. 

He became the freshman rowing coach at Stanford, then was the varsity coach in 1959 for several years.  He was responsible for building the original Stanford boathouse.  He was inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. 

After coaching, he ran a boat leasing business and officiated rowing regattas. 

He resided in Northern California at the time of his passing.