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Passing of a Swimming Legend: Australian Olympic Gold Medalist John Devitt Passes Away at 86

John Devitt, who won two Olympic gold medals, passed away at the age of 86. Famous Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser has led the tributes.

Devitt had a 13-year swimming career during which he set 14 world records, going on to become a renowned sports administrator.

Devitt, a Sydney native, captured his lone Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle at Rome.

The event was decided in contentious circumstances, with the chief judge awarding Devitt the gold medal despite the timekeepers recording a slower time than for American Lance Larson, who won the silver medal.

Even though Devitt and Larson had touched practically simultaneously, the judges couldn’t agree because there were no electronic timing devices at the time. The competition hastened the use of electronic timing in the game.

In addition to capturing a gold medal with the Australian 4x200m freestyle relay team at the Melbourne Olympics, he also took home silver in the 100-meter freestyle event and bronze with the Australian 4×200-meter relay team in Rome.

At both Games, he served as the swimming team’s captain.

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John Devitt’s Impact on the Olympics and Australian Sports

John Devitt, who won two Olympic gold medals, passed away at the age of 86.

Devitt helped Sydney win the bid for the 2000 Olympics and afterwards served as an executive on the Australian Olympic Committee.

Devitt also brought home three gold medals from Cardiff, Wales’ 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

 In 1986, Devitt was honored with a spot in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

 Afterward, he worked as an executive for the Australian Olympic Committee, where he contributed to Sydney’s success in securing the bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Devitt served as the chef de mission for Australia during the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

His passing was reported by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Thursday, but no cause of death was given.

Cecil Healy, an Australian swimmer who won the gold medal at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm and perished in the First World War, has a biography co-written by Devitt.

The Cecil Healy Award for Exceptional Sportsmanship, a discretionary award that may be given following each Olympic Games, was established in 2018 with Devitt’s help.

John Bertrand, the chairman of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, praised Devitt.

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Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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