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Duncan Alexander Goodhew, MBE (born 27 May 1957) is an English former competitive swimmer. After swimming competitively in America as a collegian at North Carolina State University, he was an Olympic swimmer for Great Britain and won Olympic gold and bronze medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He also swam at the 1976 Summer Olympics.[1]

Duncan Goodhew
Personal information
Full nameDuncan Alexander Goodhew
National teamUnited Kingdom
Born (1957-05-27) 27 May 1957 (age 62)
Marylebone, England
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight12 st 8 lb; 80 kg (176 lb)
College teamNorth Carolina State University


Early lifeEdit

Goodhew attended Windlesham House School and Millfield School (Walton House).

Aged 10, he fell out of a tree, a traumatic event which triggered permanent hair loss due to alopecia universalis.[2]


Duncan Goodhew came to prominence as an international swimmer in 1976, finishing 7th in the 100m breaststroke at the Montreal Olympics that summer.[3] Four years later, in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, he won gold in the 100m breaststroke, in a time of 1:03.34, and a bronze in the 4x100m medley relay.[4]

His bald head made him instantly recognisable. He was a member of the British bobsleigh team at the 1981 European Championships (cf. We Are the Champions, 1984 Grand Final). He now works part-time at Millfield School.

Goodhew made a guest appearance twice on The Sooty Show. Firstly in 1984, in the episode, 'All Blocked Up' and a second appearance in 1991 in the episode 'Hair Today'.

He says he was dyslexic; he is also an author and motivational speaker. He was appointed an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to sport.

Goodhew's 100 m breaststroke gold medal achievement was ranked 99th in the British network Channel 4's 100 Greatest Sporting Moments in 2002. He has made a number of television appearances including Dave Gorman's Important Astrology Experiment.

After the London protests during the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay, Goodhew stated that the protests were "a bad example for children".[5]

On 29 September 2001, Goodhew participated in an international relay off the coast of California from Santa Catalina Island to Santa Monica.[6] Of the eight international relay teams participating, each team had one swimmer with MS. Goodhew swam on the same team as organizer and MS activist Taylor MH.[7] Proceeds from fund-raising were all donated to the Myelin Project.[8]

Cultural referencesEdit

He is mentioned in the BBC TV series The Office during a motivational speech by David Brent (Ricky Gervais), by The Toy Dolls in a song called Yul Brynner Was A Skinhead, in an episode of Little Britain in which a bald character is likened to the swimmer and in The Mighty Boosh, when a peacock crashes into his back in a speech made by Naboo and also in the Welsh psychedelic rock group, Sen Segur's song "Taith Duncan Goodhew" from their first EP, 'Pen Rhydd'.. He recorded a charity single with Melbourne’s very own Martin Enright which briefly featured in the top 100 record charts. He is also sardonically mentioned in the Only Fools and Horses episode "The Longest Night" by Tom Clark, the head security officer of the fictional Top Buyer Superstores. He is mentioned in the song 'Shaven Haven' by Kunt and The Gang and was also featured in The Macc Lads song "Al O'Peesha".

He appears in several episodes of Dave Gorman's Important Astrology Experiment, after Dave was instructed to befriend somebody with his initials, but whose life was very different. Together, they're seen playing hide and seek, frisbee, cycling and swimming.

In the BBC Radio 4 spoof news programme On The Hour, the sports desk presenter Alan Partridge often alludes to a fictional incident where Goodhew's hair 'tragically' grows back, thus robbing him of his celebrity status as a 'cheery bald swimming star'. Duncan was a guest on Radio 4 Extra's News Quiz Extra

Personal lifeEdit

Goodhew married Annie Patterson, a graphic designer from North Carolina, in December 1984, and they have two children.[2][9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Duncan Goodhew Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016. Invalid |url-status=yes (help)
  2. ^ a b Culley, Jon (3 August 1993). "Where are they now?: Duncan Goodhew". The Independent. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Duncan Goodhew Bio, Stats and Results". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Duncan Goodhew Bio, Stats and Results". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  5. ^ Edwards, Richard; Thomas, David (7 April 2008). "Olympic torch relay nearly abandoned". The Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on 13 April 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "Swimming to Santa Monica". The Independent. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  8. ^ Eldred, Georgia. "Mike Does His Charity Swim, With Dolphins...And a Shark". South London Press. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ Goodhew, Duncan (13 May 2011). "Duncan Goodhew: Five things I can't live without". Daily Express. Retrieved 13 April 2017.