Dean Crawford – 1958-2023

Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) is saddened to learn of the passing of Dean Crawford, a distinguished member of the Canadian eights crew at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics.

Dean’s remarkable contribution to Canadian rowing and his leadership in the Canadian sport system will be remembered with deep gratitude.

Born in 1958, he began his rowing journey in 1977 at University of Victoria and was one of the first key pieces of the school’s successful rowing program of the early 80’s, under the legendary coach Al Morrow.  Dean quickly rose through the ranks, making his first national team selection in 1982 and debuting with the national team at the 1983 World Championships. Dean made history at the 1984 Olympics, with teammates Mike Evans, Mark Evans, Blair Horn, Grant Main, Brian McMahon, Kevin Neufeld, Paul Steele, and Pat Turner, in securing Canada’s first Olympic gold medal in rowing since 1964. The thrilling race against the United States, with a narrow victory margin of just 0.42 seconds, remains etched in the history books of Canadian sporting achievements. In his final year on the national team, Dean also competed at the 1985 World Championships in Belgium rowing in the 4-.

Dean, along with his 1984 gold medal-winning crew, was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 1985, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Canadian Rowing Hall of Fame in 2019.

(1984 Olympic Eight Gold – Dean, pictured on far right)

Beyond his athletic achievements, Dean pursued education at the University of Victoria, studying computer science and economics. Named the 1985 Male Athlete of the Year, he demonstrated excellence both on and off the water.

His commitment and passion for sport, was evident in his long-time association with the swimming community with roles as President of Swim BC, and in 2021, Dean assumed the role of president of Swimming Canada’s Board of Directors. He more recently served on the Board of the Canadian Sports Institute Pacific.

Dean’s impact reached far beyond the water, leaving an indelible mark on the rowing community and the Canadian sports system. He will be remembered as a champion, a leader, and a devoted family man. RCA extends its deepest condolences to Dean’s family (Belinda, Nicole (Amir), Dillon, Celine, father Gerry, and siblings Donna (George), Derrick (Jennifer), Maureen, Dale (Sandra), Brenda, and Carolin), friends, and the entire Canadian rowing community during this difficult time.

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