Olympians

1948 Track Relay Team

In 1948, Western was graced with four remarkable athletes.  Jack Parry, Bill Larochelle and brothers Don and Bob McFarlane were all invited to represent Canada at the 1948 Olympic games in London as the country's four person track relay team.  Oddly enough, running wasn't a priority for these men, as all were accomplished football players.  Bob McFarlane was granted one of the highest honours for a Canadian athlete and was selected as the country's flag bearer.

JACK PARRY was perhaps best known for his athleticism as a football player.  As a student at Queen's University, he was an invaluable player and even went on to be the starting halfback for the RCAF Hurricanes which won the 1942 Grey Cup.  After serving in World War Two, Parry transferred to Western in 1946.  While some insisted that he had been poached by Western coach JP Metras, Parry was actually attracted to Western's medical program, which had special course offerings for veterans.

Parry played for the Mustangs from 1947-49 and was a Canadian Press all-star each year and awarded the George McCullagh Trophy in 1949 for MVP.

Parry was also a talented track and field athlete and landed a spot on the 1948 Canadian Olympic team.  Unfortunately, Parry sustained a ham-string injury shortly before the games and was unable to compete.

BILL LAROCHELLE,like his teammates, was both an outstanding football player and track runner. His events in the 1948 Olympics were the 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay with his fellow Mustangs. To qualify for the semi-finals in the hurdles, the athletes were broken up in six heats of four to five runners, in which they had to place among the top two. Athletes were placed in their heats by a random draw. Unfortunately for Larochelle, he was placed in what turned out to be the fastest heat. He placed fourth at 54.9s, which would have qualified him for the semi-finals had he been in another heat.

DONALD MCFARLANE showcased a wide range of skills when it came to track and field.  He was competitive in a variety of distances and was known for having both a strong start and remarkable endurance.  In addition to the 4x400m relay, McFarlane entered the 400m at the Olympics.  In the first round, McFarlane achieved a time of 49.5 seconds.  Despite being an excellent time, it was not enough to advance on to the next round.

BOB MCFARLANE is perhaps Western's most celebrated athlete.  In addition to his success on the football field, McFarlane had great achievements internationally in track and field.  Although his time in the 400m event at the 1940 Olympics was not enough to make into the final, he went on to beat the 800m champion, Mal Whitfield, and the 400m champion, Arthur Wint, in subsequent competitions.  He also set several Canadian records in 440 yards, 500 yards and 1000 yards.  McFarlane has received many honours for his athletic achievements, including the Lou Marsh Trophy, which is awarded to Canada's most outstanding athlete.

1948 Track Team (from left) Jack Parry, Bill Larochelle, Bob McFarlane and Don McFarlane.

Flagbearer Bob McFarlane leads the Canadian athletes at the 1948 Olympics opening ceremonies.

Commemorative medal from the 1948 Olympics belonging to Bob McFarlane.