Don Schollander

Don Schollander is an American athlete who was the first swimmer to win four gold medals in a single Olympic Games. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1946, he truly was the golden boy of sport.

Forty-four years ago, Don Schollander was the hero of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He was everywhere in the news with the picture of four Olympics gold medals draped around his neck.

But as a kid, Don was a lousy swimmer; he was a pretty good athlete but couldn’t swim very well. However, by age 12, he improved so much that his family sent Don to California for better training opportunities.

Just at the age of 16, he was a multiple-time national champion and on a pace to become a legendary swimmer. He won numerous U.S. national titles and set several U.S. and world records during his career.

After retirement, Schollander provides an excellent profile of his early life and his Olympic victories in Duke Savage (1971), written by Duke Savage.

If you want to know what Don Schollander is doing now? Where is he? What was his career like, and about his awards and achievements? Read this article till the end.

Don Schollander: Quick Facts

But before we proceed with our article, let us glance at quick facts.

Full Name Donald Arthur Schollander
Common Name Don Schollander
Birth Date April 30, 1946
Birth Place Charlotte, North California, USA
Religion Christian
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Father’s Name Wendell Leslie Schollander
Mother’s Name Martha Perry Schollander
Brother Wendell Leslie Jr.
High School
  • Santa Clara High School
  • Lake Oswego Senior High School
University Yale University
Swim Club
  • Aero Club, Portland
  • Santa Clara
Coach (Club) George Haines
Horoscope Taurus
Age 76 Years Old
Height 180 cm
Weight 79 kg
Build Athletic
Eye Colour Brown
Hair Colour Dark Brown
Profession Professional Swimmer
Strokes Freestyle
First Olympic Games Tokyo, 1964
Club Santa Clara Swim Team
Retirement 1968
Olympic Medals 5 Gold and 1 Silver
Olympic Games Two
Coach George Haines
Marital Status Married
Wife Cheryl Schollander
Children Jeb, Kyle, and Katie
Residence Lake Oswego, Oregon
Net Worth Unknown
Social Media None
Merch Autobiography Deep WaterInside Swimming
Last Update August, 2022

Don Schollander: Early Life

Wendell Leslie Schollander and Martha Perry Schollander were the parents of Don Schollander, a native of Charlotte, North California.

Wendell worked as an insurance company executive and was a former all-state high school football player. Outstanding swimmer Martha served as a swimming stunt duplicate for various motion pictures.

She also appeared in several Tarzan films in place of Jane, who was played by Olympic gold winner Johny Weissmuller.

Wendell Leslie Jr., who played all-state football in high school before joining the University of Pennsylvania’s wrestling team, is his brother.

At a young age, Don’s family relocated to the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Football was Don’s first choice because both his brother and father had thrived at the varsity level while playing for North Dakota State University.

Don, though, felt that he was not as big a football fan as the other lads, so he opted for swimming instead. He reasoned that he might succeed more if he concentrated all of his efforts on swimming.

the age, height, and weight of Don Schollander

This year, Don became 76 years old. On April 30, he celebrates his birthday. His zodiac sign is Tauras as a result.

Schollander is 79 kilograms and 5 feet 11 inches tall (180 cm) (174lbs). Don had an athletic body and was slender in his early years.

University and swimming

Schollander picked up the fundamentals of swimming at Portland’s Aero Club as a youngster. He improved the backstroke national record for his age category by ten.

When Don entered Oregon High School, his father once more encouraged him to give swimming a try. When he was just a freshman, Don competed against high school seniors to demonstrate his swimming prowess.

Schollander competed in two events at the Oregon state championships during his freshman year of high school and won both of them. Then, in his senior year, Don won every competition against every opponent.

As a freshman, Don led Lake Oswego High School to the Oregon state championship, displaying his unmatched talent at a young age.

After observing Don’s quick processing as a swimmer in the neighborhood high school, his parents made the decision to go to Santa Clara, California, in search of better prospects.

Schollander joined the Santa Clara Swim Club in Santa Clara, where George Haines was his coach. He developed into the best swimmer of his time there.

Schollander graduated from Santa Clara High School in June 1964 while also participating in Swim Club.

Professional Career of Don Schollander

olympics in 1964

George Haines, who prepared Dan for the 1964 Olympic Trials, expressed certainty that Dan could triumph in any freestyle competition for which he was prepared.

George feared that training Don for both the 1500-meter race and the 100-meter sprint at the same time would be foolish, despite the fact that the swimmer was strong throughout the middle distances.

He concentrated Schollander’s training on the 100-meter race since he believed Don had the best stroke for it. The instructor was also certain that Don’s good stroking would be successful in any impending tests.

Schollander won home four gold medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as a result of George’s successful plan.

Don Schollander at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964:

Schollander won both the 400-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle, breaking both previous records.

Along with winning individual competitions, Don also took home gold for the USA in the 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter relay teams.

Olympics in Mexico in 1968 and Yale University

Schollander received the scholarship following the Tokyo Olympics and enrolled at Yale University.

Don resumed his swimming career at Yale and joined a fraternity there along with future US President George W. Bush.

He won gold in the 100-meter freestyle relay, 100-meter medley relay, and silver in the 200-meter freestyle at the Mexico City 1968 Games. In the 200-meter freestyle relay, he also took home the gold.

During the 1968 Mexico City Olympics Game, Schollander was in action (Source: Swimming World)

At the time of the Tokyo Olympics, he was 18 years old and certain that he would get another shot. But at the Mexico Games, he was 22 and believed his athletic career was over. Despite having more experience, Schollander felt more uneasy during the 1968 Olympics because of this.

Awards and Successes

Schollander received a lot of respect in his native USA for becoming the only swimmer to ever win four medals at one Olympics.

Don Schollander, at 18 years old, appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in 1964 after becoming the owner of all the gold. Additionally, he received the James E. Sullivan Memorial Award for 1964 from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).

This honor is given yearly to the amateur athlete who has displayed the best sportsmanship throughout the year through exceptional performances.

Don was honored swimmer admitted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965. He also received the award of Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year from ABC.

Public viewing of Schollander’s gold medals is currently available at a Bank of America location in the Oregon city of Lake Oswego.

Star Forgotten

From his peak, Don Schollander received widespread acclaim and earned a place in sports history.

Everyone’s ideal of a championship swimmer, he appeared to be idolized and even earned the moniker “The Golden Angel.”

Schollander, however, made little money. Most swimmers would eventually retire, and swimming would then receive little publicity.

Eighteen-year-old Don Schollander with a gold medal in the middle for 1964’s Olympic men freestyle

The greatness of Schollander was rapidly discounted. Unfortunately, his excellence came before top sportsmen had access to endorsement deals, so they were unfamiliar with them.

Life Following Retirement

After his competitive career came to an end following the 1968 Mexico Games, Don Schollander continued to be active in swimming and the Olympics.

He became an athlete advocate and worked to increase the number of athletes represented on Olympic laws. For four years, he served on the U.S. Olympic Committee’s board of directors.

For the following four years, Schollander traveled to a number of Olympic locations around the world for business. Legendary University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman was with him.

Grown-up Schollander, Don (Twitter as source)

He worked for a year in New York following his Yale graduation before moving to San Francisco for another year. Following that, he returned to his home in Oregon and launched his real estate company.

Don no longer competes but still swims on occasion with the neighborhood Master’s team. The American flag during the 1964 closing ceremonies and earning the first Olympic medal rank among his fondest memories from the past, which he still cherishes.

Children and Wife of Don Schollander

Don resides in New Oregon with his wife Cheryl, their kids Jeb, Kyle, and Katie. His wife Cheryl, a long-retired nurse for children with disabilities, is now a housewife.

Jeb, the 31-year-old oldest son of Don, assists in running the family’s real estate firm. Kyle, a second son, is a student at Western Oregon University and is 22 years old.

For the University’s football team, Kyle is a defensive end. The eldest daughter, who is 18 years old, plays tennis and is a high school student.

How much is Schollander Net Worth?

Schollander’s current net worth is unknown, as is his exact earnings history. But if Don had achieved success like to his in the present, he undoubtedly would have been among the richest athletes.

Don’s gold medals alone had such great value and worth since the time period in which he was at the height of his career was not better for swimmers to amass large fortunes.

Schollander started his own real estate development company and wrote two books after giving up competitive swimming.

As a result, Schollander leads a tranquil, contented life in New Oregon with his family.

Don Schollander: Social Media Presence

Don, who turned 76 this year, is currently enjoying quiet life away from any exposure and limelight.

Schollander is not active on any social media platforms. And it is suitable for him as he is spending quality time with his wife and children.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Deep Water book of Don Schollander about?

In the book, Deep Water Schollander has retold about his swimming career. This book also shows the corrupt side of the AAU, now the USA Swimming Association.

He has shed light on the behind-the-scenes story of the NCAA, the AAU, and the IOC, as well as the political mess during the Olympic Games.