Former resident Sharon Stouder Clark set the bar for female Olympians

Courtesy of the Clark family
Sharon Stouder Clark won three gold medals and a silver at the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo.

Former Los Altos resident and Olympian Sharon Stouder Clark died June 23 at 64. She competed in the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo, where she won a silver and three gold medals.

Mrs. Stouder Clark won the 100-meter butterfly and swam one of the legs in both women’s winning relay teams. She earned a silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle, finishing narrowly behind the winner.

Mrs. Stouder Clark, who graduated from Stanford University in 1970, was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1972 and entered the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

After graduating from Stanford, she attended UC Santa Barbara’s education program and earned her teaching credential. She taught and coached swimming while studying there.

After completing her studies, Mrs. Stouder Clark traveled around the world, briefly living in New Zealand. Eventually, she returned to the Bay Area and settled in Los Altos, where she married Ken Clark and had daughter Kerry and son James.

She owned and operated Dash Leathers and Apparel, a women’s store, from 1979 to 2004. In 2004, she retired and moved to the Central California coast near Pismo Beach.

Mrs. Stouder Clark had the honor of lighting the torch to kick off the soccer portion of the 1984 Olympics at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto. San Francisco Chronicle sports writer Art Rosenbaum wrote an article about the Opening Ceremony that was accompanied by a picture of Mrs. Stouder Clark lighting the torch.

She was inducted into the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997 along with Bill Walsh and John McEnroe.

Mrs. Stouder Clark participated in numerous events in support of the Stanford athletics department over the years. She was an active member and donor to the Stanford Cardinal Club until it merged with the Stanford Buck Club and she transferred her allegiance to it.

Mrs. Stouder Clark was featured in a Sept. 26, 2012, Town Crier article, which described her experience as a very young Olympian.

She is survived by her daughter Kerry Clark, son James Clark and sister Barbara Lockhart.

Memorial services were held Sunday at Shoup Park.

The family suggests honoring Mrs. Stouder Clark by making donations to the Buck/Cardinal Club Stanford Athletics Department, 641 E. Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-6150. Mark contributions “In Memory of Sharon Stouder Clark.”

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