Passages: 1976 Olympian Janis Hape Dowd Dies After Battle With Cancer

Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

1976 Olympian Janis Hape Dowd passed away Sunday at her home in Charlotte, North Carolina after a battle with cancer.

Janis Hape qualified to swim at the 1976 Olympics in the 200 breaststroke by virtue of her third-place finish at the 1976 Trials. At the Olympic Games in Montreal, she placed 25th in the event and was an integral part of that 1976 team, especially as time passed.

Montreal gold medalist John Naber said in a Facebook post that “Janis was the glue that kept our team connected for the last 45 years.”

“I am very sad to report the passing of one of my 1976 Olympic swim teammates, Janis Hape Dowd,” Naber wrote. “We lost her to heart failure after a brave battle with cancer. Janis was the glue that kept our team connected for the last 45 years. My condolences to husband Frank and her beautiful family.”

Dowd remained close to the sport of swimming, establishing herself as a benefactor for the USA Swimming Foundation, and as a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s One in a Thousand club. Dowd had been a big contributor to her alma mater, the University of North Carolina. She helped found and fund the annual Janis Hape Dowd Nike Invitational, hosted annually by the University of North Carolina, where she was a swimmer in the pre-NCAA era of women’s swimming and diving from 1977-1980.

In 2019, she was inducted into the North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame.

She is survived by her husband Frank, and children Will, Diana and Sally.