Carolyn Wood is an
American former competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world
record-holder, from Portland, Oregon. At the 1960 U.S. Olympic Trials, Wood
finished first in the 100-meter butterfly event and was favored to win the
gold medal in the event at the Olympics. At the 1960 Summer Olympics in
Rome, however, during the women's 100-meter butterfly finals, she
accidentally swallowed water during the turn and did not finish the race.
She did win a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. team in the
women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay, together with teammates Joan Spillane,
Shirley Stobs, and Chris von Saltza. She swam the crucial third leg of the
relay, during which she caught up to and passed Australian swimmer Lorraine
Crapp and gave a two-foot lead to anchor swimmer von Saltza, who finished
the relay in first place to give the Americans the gold medal. The U.S.
relay team set a new world record of 4:08.9 in the event final--nine seconds
faster than the previous record. Wood, at 14 years old, was the youngest
member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team to win a medal. Following the
Olympics, Wood returned to her hometown of Portland, Oregon, where she
attended Beaverton High School. She was ruled a professional, and was
therefore ineligible to swim in college or in subsequent Olympic Games.
Wood attended the University of Oregon and became an English teacher. She
taught at both Beaverton High School and Wilson High School in Portland.
She was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.#butchhistory