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australian rowers profiles and history

Kevin J A McMahon

Albert Park Rowing Club (VIC)

1956 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxed Four two seat – Fourth

1958 - Interstate Men’s Eight Championship emergency

Kevin was only 17 years old and with less than 12 months rowing experience when he competed at the Olympic Games. He is probably the youngest Australian sweep rower (excluding coxswains) to compete for Australia at the Olympic Games.

Bob Duncan in his book Small boat rowers of the fifties, self published in 2015 added: This achievement came only 15 months after his first handling an oar as a raw beginner. When a student at the neighbouring South Melbourne Technical College, Kevin responded to our [Albert Park Rowing Club] "Learn to Row" brochure sent to his school in the 1955 winter. At 6'2" and 13 stone he was certainly a big boy for his age and already with the body of an adult elite athlete. He was a natural since first going afloat in August 1955 and by the end of his first season in April 1956, he was already a top class Junior. He was another of the few who made the Junior Premiership possible. He was the obvious choice to be the man for the 2 seat. 

1956 Olympic coxed four - Kevin in second from the left 

After the Olympic Games, Kevin rowed in club races with Albert Park for several years before moving to Albany in Western Australia. Kevin died unexpectedly at home aged 67.

Andrew Guerin
May 2020

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