Kathleen Heddle, Rower Who Won 3 Olympic Gold Medals, Dies at 55

Kathleen Heddle, who won three Olympic gold medals rowing for Canada within the 1990s as well as inspired a generation of athletes, died on Monday at her home in Vancouver, British Columbia. She was 55.

Her death was announced in a statement coming from her family released by Rowing Canada Aviron, the national governing body for rowing within the country. The statement said in which Ms. Heddle had battled for years with breast as well as lymph node cancer, as well as later, melanoma as well as brain cancer.

within the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Ms. Heddle as well as her rowing partner, Marnie McBean, won two gold medals, within the pairs as well as the eights. At the 1994 World Championships, Ms. Heddle as well as Ms. McBean won a silver medal within the double sculls.

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ms. Heddle as well as Ms. McBean won a gold medal within the double sculls, a 2,000-meter competition in which they led the race coming from start to finish, according to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. With in which, Ms. Heddle as well as Ms. McBean became the first Canadians to win three Olympic gold medals in any sport, the organization said.

When Ms. Heddle enrolled at the University of British Columbia, she was tall as well as athletic, hoping to make a mark for herself within the planet of volleyball. although in which was in Ms. Heddle’s third year at the university within the 1980s when she was “picked out of a lineup” because of her height (5 feet 11 inches) as well as recruited to join the school’s rowing team, she told the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame as well as Museum.

“in which was a pretty obscure sport then,” she said, “so they could try to recruit people who they thought had the right build as well as had potential.”

“I was hooked right away,” recalled Ms. Heddle. “I liked the balance between brute strength as well as power with finesse.”

At the time, Ms. Heddle was 19 as well as her volleyball aspirations “had stalled,” according to the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame. She quickly adapted to her completely new sport as well as excelled. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1990 coming from the university as well as continued with her newfound passion.

By 1987, Ms. Heddle had earned a spot on the Canadian national rowing team as well as won a gold medal within the pair event at the Pan American Games.

At the 1991 World Cup in Switzerland, Ms. Heddle paired up with Ms. McBean for initially. In their first race together they beat the defending world champions, according to the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1999 Ms. Heddle was awarded the Thomas Keller Medal, an honor given each year to a recently retired athlete who has “a long as well as successful rowing career as well as who has made an outstanding contribution to rowing as a competitor as well as as a sports personality,” according to the planet Rowing Federation, the governing body for the sport.

Though Ms. Heddle quickly ascended to the upper echelon of rowing, she acknowledged in which the rise came using a challenge.

“Rowing was seen as a medal sport in Canada, as well as we were seen as the favorites,” Ms. Heddle said, according to the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame. There was, she said, “a burden to meet the expectations people place on us.” When she won, she said, “in which was more a feeling of relief than anything else.”

Source : Kathleen Heddle, Rower Who Won 3 Olympic Gold Medals, Dies at 55