#30MostSwimfluential: Dick Pound

Dick Pound
Photo Courtesy: US Mission Canada

Who is Dick Pound?

  • A former Canadian swimmer, lawyer, and author.
  • Earned 6th place in the 100m free at the 1960 Olympics and was a four time medalist in the 1962 British Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia.
  • Served as a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1978, including as two time vice president. He negotiated television and sponsorship deals for the IOC that expanded it into a multi-billion dollar industry and led its investigation following a corruption scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
  • A firm believer in strict drug testing for athletes, he served as two-time chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and has written several books including “Inside the Olympics: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Politics, the Scandals and the Glory of the Games.”
  • Advocated for drug testing in other professional sports leagues beyond the Olympics, asking them to comply with the WADA.
  • Time magazine listed him as one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2005.

How did he influence the swimming community?

Dick Pound has not been afraid to criticize anybody he thinks isn’t playing fair; be it NHL or FIFA players, Lance Armstrong, or Russian swimmers. In December 2014, the WADA appointed Pound to head the doping investigation of Russian athletes, including swimmers. Pound’s unrelenting commitment to fair play is a model for the entire swimming community. In 2002, Sports Illustrated called him “the savviest person in sport today…certainly the most candid.” Everyone can take a lesson from Pound on how to be candid and uncompromising in one’s beliefs. Pound has shown the swimming community that we have an obligation to be critical of ourselves for the sake of the sport’s character.

Words from the swimfluential Dick Pound:

“As I look back on an increasingly lengthy involvement in sport, my first reflection would be that I would not have had the same enormously satisfying life experiences that I have been able to have had without swimming.  The swimming experience led to the Pan Am Games, the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games and later to the Canadian Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee.  The values of fair play learned through swimming encouraged my commitment to the development and leadership of the World Anti-Doping Agency. It has always been offensive to me to see athletes cheated out of the results they deserve by those who show contempt for the rules of sport and their fellow competitors.”

*USA Swimming and Speedo invited the swimming community to help celebrate their 30 years of partnership by voting for the “30 Most Influential People in Swimming Over the Past 30 Years.” Votes were cast through social media with the hashtag #30MostSwimfluential and the final vote came from a panel of 10 judges selected by USA Swimming and Speedo. All 30 nominees have had a powerful impact on the swimming community. Many are recognizable names, but some have remained unsung heroes of the sport. Swimming World will profile each swimfluential person over the course of the week.