Frank Havens

Primary events: Sprint Canoe, C-1 10,000m, C-1 1,000m
Height: 6’2”
Birth date: August 1, 1924
Hometown: Arlington, Va
Current residence: Harborton, Virginia
College/school: Washington and Lee High
Club/team: Washington Canoe Club

Olympic results: 

  • London 1948 Olympic Games - SILVER in C-1 10,000m
  • Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games - GOLD in C-1 10,000m (setting a world record time), 4th in C-1 1,000m
  • Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games - 8th in C-1 10,000m
  • Rome 1960 Olympic Games - competed in C-1 1,000m heats

Other highlights: numerous National Championships, 13 World Master Championships, 24 Canadian Masters Canoeing Championships

Honors/awards: Virginia Hall of Fame and Arlington Sports Hall of Fame


Family: wife, 3 sons, 3 grand children
Job: Retired appraiser
Hobbies: paddling, hunting and fishing
What have you been up to since you finished competing? Continued to stay in great paddling shape to compete in canoeing and kayaking in the World’s Master Games (1984-1989) and competed in canoeing and kayaking in the CANMAS (Canadian Masters Canoeing Championships) from 1986-1992, winning a total of 37 events. Now, I enjoy paddling for fun and fishing. It is an easy way for me to travel around.
What is your favorite Olympic memory? My favorite memory is having my brother, Bill Jr., on the same 1948 Olympic Team. Then in 1952, after winning the Gold Medal I was filled with all kinds of emotion. I thought about all the time to prepare for this moment and it finally was happening. There was a lot to be proud of when they raised the United States flag. I remember the pulleys squeaked. It was really hard to keep from crying. All my dad, Bud, Jr. and I had gone through. Bill Jr. was such a big part of all of this. I had to eat a lot of his wash before I caught him.

Frank Havens (born August 1, 1924) is an American sprint canoer who competed from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Destined to compete in the Olympic Games since the day he was born, Frank Havens had the rare distinction of being a four-time Olympian. His father, William "Bill" Dodge Havens Sr., was scheduled to compete in the Olympics in 1924, but did not for fear of missing his son’s debut into the world. Many years later in the 1952 Olympic Games at Helsinki, Finland, Frank Havens won the grueling 10,000-meter Canadian single-blade race in 57 minutes and 41 seconds. He broke the world record set by Czechoslovakia’s Frantisek Capek. Havens proudly presented the gold medal to his father, thanking him for waiting around until he was born. 

In Haven’s first shot in the 1948 Olympic games, he finished second to Capek by 35.4 seconds in a canoe he borrowed from the Czechs. In 1952, his world record was set in a canoe he and his brother, Bill, imported from Sweden for about $160.00.