George Ritchie Hodgson (October 12, 1893 – May 1, 1983) was a Canadian competition swimmer of the early 20th century, and considered by many to be the greatest swimmer in Canadian history. Hodgson won the two longer freestyle swimming gold medals at the 1912 Olympics, the only categories in which he competed. He also competed at the 1920 Summer Olympics.
George Hodgson was born in 1893 in Montreal, Quebec. He matriculated at McGill University in 1912, competing in swimming and water polo for the school. While there, he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in applied science in 1916. He was inducted into the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1955, the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968, into the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, and died in Montreal in 1983.
Several members of George Hodgson's extended family were well involved in Canadian sports. His uncles Billy and Archie Hodgson were prominent athletes with the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association in the 1880s and 1890s, playing both ice hockey and lacrosse with the organisation. Archie Hodgson was a member of the first Stanley Cup winning team in 1893, the same year George Hodgson was born.
George Hodgson, Canada's only Olympic gold medal winner in swimming until 1984, did not stay in competition very long. He won two gold medals at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, with times of 5:24.4s in the 400-metre and 22:00.0s in the 1500-metre freestyle. He had already set a world record of 22:23.0 in the first round of the race. He was eighteen at the time and retired immediately after one of the great races of all time. His unprecedented success was widely attributed to his innovation of the trudgen stroke, a hybrid between the front crawl and sidestroke.
It was for the 1500 meter Olympic championship and Hodgson broke world and Olympic records for 1000 yards and meters, and 1 mile in addition to the prescribed 1500 meter race distance. His Olympic record at 400 meters stood until 1924 when Johnny Weissmuller broke it at Amsterdam. He was Canada's lone swimmer in 1912.
- 1912 gold (400 m freestyle)
- 1912 gold (1500 m freestyle)
Fastest freestyle mile in the 1911 Festival of Empire Games (now the Commonwealth Games)