Helen Orr Gordon (known as Elenor) was Scotland’s first ever female Commonwealth Games gold medallist with victory in the 220 yards Breaststroke in 1950. Her triumph came at the age of just 16, also making her Scotland’s youngest ever gold medallist. She completed a brilliant debut Games by taking bronze in the 330 yards relay alongside Margaret Girvan and Elizabeth Turner.
Four years later she defended her 220 yards Breaststroke title at in Vancouver and added a further gold in the 330 yards relay with team mates Margaret Girvan and Margaret McDowall. With three gold and one bronze medal, Elenor remains Scotland’s most successful female Commonwealth Games athlete to date.
Elenor competed at three Olympic Games, and, at 15 years old, was the youngest British team member at the 1948 Games in London. At the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, she was the only Briton to win a swimming medal. But the final was controversial as it included both Breaststroke and Butterfly swimmers – the Butterfly being a new style, and also a faster one. Elenor took bronze behind two Butterfly swimmers. She also competed at the 1956 Olympic Games before retiring from the sport.
Elenor was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and died in 2014.
- Date of Birth 10/05/1933
- Birth Place Hamilton
- Commonwealth Games Representation 1950, 1954
Did You Know?
Elenor was the first Scottish female athlete to successfully defend a Commonwealth Games title