Olympic Medals
Games Participations1
First Olympic GamesStockholm 1912
Year of Birth1883


Having already earned a reputation as an able hammer and discus thrower in his native province of Nova Scotia, among other track and field events, Duncan Gillis moved to Vancouver in 1904 to work as a police officer and took his athletic talents across Canada and the United States, winning numerous amateur championships. He was well-known enough that, prior to the 1912 Summer Olympics, he was profiled by the New York Times as one of the athletes to watch at the upcoming Games, the only Canadian to earn that distinction. It was on the basis of this report that he was selected as Canada’s first Olympic flagbearer; he did not disappoint, winning silver in the hammer throw behind only the great American Matt McGrath (whose shortest throw went 4.44 metres further than Gillis’ best). He also competed in the discus, finishing 14th in a field of 41 competitors.

Gillis’ gave up on athletics following the Games and focused on wrestling, becoming the Canadian national heavyweight champion in 1913 and turning professional the following year. He was inducted into the British Columbia (1967), Cape Breton (1997), and Nova Scotia (1999) Sports Halls of Fame. As of 2012 he is one of only two Canadians to have won a medal in the hammer throw, the other being Con Walsh, who won bronze in 1908.

Personal Bests: DT – 43.24 (1910); HT – 51.20 (1912).

Olympic Results

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