George Ritchie Hodgson, swimmer, pilot, investment broker (born 12 October 1893 in Montreal, Quebec; died 1 May 1983 in Montreal). George Hodgson was Canada's first Olympic swimming champion, winning gold in the 400m and 1500m freestyle at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. Hodgson also served with the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force during the First World War. He eventually established an investment brokerage firm in Montreal.
George Ritchie Hodgson received little formal training as a swimmer but practised summers at his family's cottage in the Laurentians; he also swam daily in winter at the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association pool. Hodgson represented Canada at the 1911 Festival of the Empire Games, where he defeated the world record holder over the 1-mile (1.6 km) distance. At the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Hodgson won gold medals in the 400 m freestyle and 1500 m freestyle, setting world records in both. They were not broken until 1924, by the famous American swimmer John Weissmuller. Hodgson was Canada’s only Olympic champion in swimming until the 1984 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles, when Victor Davis, Anne Ottenbrite and Alex Baumann won Olympic gold in the pool.
Hodgson attended McGill University. During the First World War, he served with distinction in the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force and was awarded the Air Force Cross. Not long after the war ended, Hodgson competed in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp but did not medal. The same year, he took a position in sales with Greenshields & Company of Montreal. He eventually founded an investment brokerage firm, Hodgson, Roberton, Laing and Company.
Hodgson was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (1949), Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (1955), the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1968) and McGill University Sports Hall of Fame (1996).