Rower John Wallace proud of his Olympic achievement

Aldershot grad is only Burlington-born and bred athlete to win Olympic gold

Of all the talented athletes born and raised in Burlington, John Wallace is the only one to win an Olympic gold medal.

He turned the trick as a member of Canada’s eight-man rowing crew that edged Romania by 0.14 seconds in Barcelona in 1992.

At the time, Wallace, who grew up in the Marley Court neighbourhood in west Burlington, said the experience, especially moments just after the race ended, was a thrill he would never forget.

His sporting preference growing up was running the 800 and 1,500 metres for the Burlington Legion-Optimist Track and Field Club, often sharing the track at Nelson Stadium with fellow future Olympian Paula Schnurr.

It wasn’t until his final year at the University of Western Ontario (now Western University) that Wallace started rowing competitively, and he was 30 at the Barcelona Games.

Gruelling training under head coach Mike Sprackland, who took over coaching the rowers in 1990, made the difference.

Of those two years, he said at the time: “You basically led a one-dimensional life. It was like a nine-to-five job, but in our case it was a seven-to-five job.”

Twenty-five years later, living in Victoria, B.C. with his wife Alexandra Rose and four children, Wallace can put the accomplishment in perspective.

“It was an incredible feeling and I would have loved to bottle it and open it up again,” said the 55-year-old mortgage broker. “I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity that one time.”

The euphoria over an Olympic medal win was No. 1 on his list of life highlights until he started a family.

Content taken from