Harold Hardwick

Athlete Biography

1888 – 1959

Harold Hardwick was one of a batch of Sydney swimmers in the early years of the twentieth century who were talented in a number of sports. Internationally, Hardwick first came to prominence at the 1911 Festival of Empire festivities in London. There he won the 100 yards freestyle and the heavyweight boxing title. Hardwick duly attended the Olympic Games at Stockholm 1912 where he won bronze medals in the 400m and 1500m freestyle events and was a member of the Australasian 4x200m freestyle relay team that won the gold medal. The other members of that team were the Australians Cecil Healy and Leslie Boardman and the New Zealander Malcolm Champion. He was unplaced in the 100m freestyle and was precluded from competing as a boxer because that sport was not on the Olympic program in Stockholm.

In 1915, Hardwick became a professional boxer and in 1916 lost his Australian heavyweight title to a young Les Darcy. During the fight Hardwick damaged Darcy's teeth and many have thought that complications from the repairing of the teeth may have ultimately led to the septicaemia which contributed to Darcy's death (how much later did he die). At the end of the Great War, Hardwick competed in Inter-allied swimming and boxing contests and his abilities in the ring together with the exemplary way he conducted himself led to his being presented with the Ideal Sportsman of the Empire award. After the war, Hardwick tried unsuccessfully to be reinstated as an amateur swimmer.