Richard McClure with the 1956 Olympic silver medal winning eights team

David Helliwell

golden leaf icon for Hall of Fame

Team Canada Medal Count

Gold medal icon 0
Silver medal icon 1
Bronze medal icon 0


Rower David Helliwell was a member of the University of British Columbia (UBC) men’s eights crew that was chosen to represent Canada at Melbourne 1956. Only half of the crew had any real rowing experience and with only a year to prepare for the Games, a competitive team was rebuilt and challenged for the Olympic gold medal. Helliwell won a silver medal for Canada behind the Americans by only two seconds alongside his teammates of Philip Kueber, Richard McClure, Douglas McDonald, Bill McKerlich, Carl Ogawa, Donald Pretty, Lawrence West, and Robert Wilson.

At the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games two years later, Helliwell was a member of the silver medal winning coxed fours team with Donald Arnold, Sohen Biln, Walter D’Hondt and Lawrence Stapleton.

Graduating from UBC in 1959 where Helliwell briefly coached rowing, he pursued a career as a Fellow Chartered Accountant. His father John Forbes Helliwell was a Professor Emeritus (Economics) at UBC, and in 1966 his brother John Leedom Helliwell donated 3000 hectares of his waterfront land to the people of British Columbia, known as Helliwell Provincial Park.

Along with his silver medal winning eight’s crew, Helliwell was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1958, British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 1976, and University of British Columbia Sports Halls of Fame in 2010.

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
1956 Melbourne RowingCoxed Eight - MenSilver