Olympic Oarsman Douglas Turner Dies

West Side Rowing Club’s coxed four that went to the Olympics in 1956. From the top: Douglas Turner, James Wynne, James McMullen, Ronald Cardwell (stroke) and Edward Masterson (cox).

10 November 2018

By Göran R Buckhorn

The other day it was announced that Douglas L. Turner passed away on 4 November, at age 86.

Turner worked for more than 60 years as a reporter, editor and columnist and became executive editor of the Buffalo Courier-Express and Washington bureau chief for The Buffalo News.

Douglas Turner, the newspaper man.

‘During his tenure as editor he directed a Courier-Express known for hard-hitting journalism, often reflecting his “take no prisoners” directive recalled by its veterans,’ Robert J. McCarthy wrote in The Buffalo News on 5 November.

Turner was born in Buffalo, New York State, in 1932. He graduated from Lafayette High School in 1952 and then continued to Brown, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1954. He rowed for West Side Rowing Club in Buffalo and for Brown and claimed several victories at major regattas, including the Royal Canadian Henley. After graduating from Brown, he enlisted in the Army as a Special Agent for Counter Intelligence, where he stayed until 1957, when he took a job at the Buffalo Courier-Express.

Turner participated in the 1956 Olympic rowing regatta on Lake Wendouree, in Ballarat, in the U.S. coxed four, where he was rowing at bow. In the crew were also James Wynne, James McMullen, Ronald Cardwell and Edward Masterson (cox).

The first Olympic heat in the coxed fours on 23 November was won by Italy (7:00.0) and the second heat was won by Sweden (6:57.9). The Swedish crew was coached by Gösta ‘Gus’ Eriksen, who had rowed at University of Washington for Al Ulbrickson. The third heat was won by the Americans (7:01.8). Looking at the times for these first-placed crews, the semi-final races could be tight.

However, on 26 November, the times were around 1 minute slower than on the 23rd. In the Americans’ semi-final heat were Sweden, the Soviet Union, and Finland who were the European champions in the boat class. Sweden won at 8:01.8, followed by Finland (8:08.1), Soviet Union (8:14.0) and USA (8:14.0). The Americans were thereby eliminated.

The following day, in the final, Italy, leading from start to finish, became Olympic champions at 7:19.4. Sweden took the silver and Finland the bronze. The host nation Australia took the fourth place.

Douglas L. Turner, born 5 January 1932, died 4 November 2018.

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