Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Elenor Gordon: Scotland's first female Commonwealth Games champion has died

It is with regret we report one of Scottish Swimming's greatest Commonwealth Games athletes has died at the age of 80, weeks before she was scheduled to present medals at Glasgow 2014. 

Helen Orr Gordon, who came to be known as Elenor Gordon, 
was the talented daughter of the Hamilton Baths manager and in 1950 at the age of 16 and was the first ever Scottish woman to win a Gold Medal at the Empire Games. Her win in the 220 yards Breaststroke also makes her Scotland’s youngest ever Gold medallist. 

In the 1952 Olympic games held in Helsinki, Elenor was the only British swimmer to win a medal, coming home with a Bronze, however this was a controversial race as Butterfly was included in the final alongside Breaststroke; this was a new style and faster than Breaststroke, however Elenor held her nerve and came 3rd overall.

Elenor had been confined to a wheelchair in recent years due to a degenerative spinal condition but was due to attend Glasgow 2014, where she would have awarded a medal in one of the swimming events.

Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), led the tributes.

"All at the CGF are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Elenor Gordon, an outstanding Scottish and Commonwealth athlete," he said. 

"Elenor was due to present medals at a swimming event at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, which she was delighted by and eagerly looking forward to. 

"Elenor won three golds and a bronze in swimming at the 1950 and 1954 Games, so this would have been especially appropriate."

Elenor Gordon was inducted into the Scottish Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010 and her list of achievements can be found here

Scottish Swimming send their condolenscences to Elenor's family and friends at this sad time.