“Sea Wolf” Sails Home – -Olympian Sir Durward Dies
Posted on 26 February 2018.
by Jones Bahamas
Sir Durward Knowles, the first Bahamian to win a medal at an Olympic event and who was recently recognized as the world’s oldest living Olympian has died at age 100.
Sir Durward rose to prominence after he became the Bahamas’ first Olympic medalist when he won the bronze in sailing with Sloane Farrington in Melbourne, Australia in 1956. Then along with Cecil Cooke, he captured the gold medal at the 1964 games in Tokyo,Japan.
Sir Durward, who turned 100 in November last year, was also well known as a philanthropist and a humanitarian. He was knighted in 1996 and became the oldest living Olympic champion following the death of Sandor Tarics in May 2016.
Following his passing, condolences poured in from both the government and opposition personalities. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis described Sir Durward as “ an active and vibrant presence in the community, in sports and in business.
“He made great contributions to the maritime sector and as a maritime pilot; mentored and empowered numerous maritime pilots of both the past and the current generation. A successful businessman, he was one of the driving forces behind One Bahamas that strived to unite all Bahamians,” Dr. Minnis said.
Free National Movement Chairman Carl Culmer in a statement expressed his condolences to Sir Durward’s family on behalf of his party saying that he is glad to know Sir Durward got his flowers while he was still alive; adding he was a man for all seasons and the stories of his kindness, love of country and his people will live in the hearts of Bahamians forever.
Progressive Liberal Party leader Phillip “Brave” Davis in statement said Sir Durward was unique in his time, in his class and social demographic, parlaying his work as an Olympian into that of a tireless promoter of the sport of sailing, the training of young people, and a life full of participation in civic advocacy and for that the country is better, because he lived amongst us.
During his time as Chairman of the National Sailing Association, Sir Durward along with others started the ‘One Bahamas’ committee that brought all Bahamians under one umbrella and he publicly apologized to all Bahamians for racism that existed previously.
Last year the legendary Olympic sailor gladly accepted the sailing community’s One Bahamas joint effort to honour him in the Sir Durward Knowles 100 Regatta.
The event was a joint effort by the National Family Island Regatta Committee, the Bahamas Sailing Association and the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources with responsibility for regattas.
Leading up to his 100th birthday, there were calls for the “Sea Wolf,” as he was affectionally called to be properly honored and have his image placed on the $100 bill.
Sir Durward passed away on Saturday at Doctor’s Hospital surrounded by family and friends.