George Athans executing a dive

George Athans, Sr.

golden leaf icon for Hall of Fame


A two-time Olympian, Canadian diver George Athans, Sr. competed at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

George Athans, Sr. was just 15 years of age when he made his first Olympic appearance at Berlin 1936 finishing 25th in the platform diving. The captain of the Canadian London 1948 team, Athans, Sr, had two top-10 finishes, eighth in the platform and ninth in the 3m springboard.

A four-time British Empire Games medalist at two Games, Athans, Sr. won one gold (3m springboard in 1950), one silver (1950 platform) and two bronze medals (3m springboard and platform in 1938). Between 1936-50, Athans, Sr. was a 10-time Canadian champion.

When his diving career was interrupted by World War II, Athans, Sr. studied medicine earning his degree from McGill University in Montréal where he was a four-sport athlete during the mid-1940s (diving, basketball, rugby, soccer). After retiring from competition, Athans, Sr. opened his medical practice in Kelowna and began coaching, at one point working with Melbourne 1956 bronze medalist diver Irene MacDonald.

Married to a synchronized swimmer, Athans, Sr. raised his three sons in Kelowna becoming the patriarch of one of Canada’s most accomplished water and ski families. Son George, Jr. was a four-time world champion water skier, Greg was an elite freestyle skier (he predeceased his father in 2006) and Gary competed at Sarajevo 1984 in alpine skiing. Athans, Sr. passed away in Vancouver in 2007 at the age of 86.

Dr. George Athans, Sr. was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1953 and made a member of the British Columbia Swim Hall of Fame. In 2009, his family’s athletic dynasty was inducted into the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame.

Faits saillants olympiques

Jeux Sport Épreuve Rang
1936 Berlin Aquatics - DivingPlatform 10m - Men25
1948 London Aquatics - DivingPlatform 10m - Men8
1948 London Aquatics - DivingSpringboard 3m - Men9