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

Kathleen Heddle, who received three Olympic gold medals rowing for Canada within the Nineties and impressed a era of athletes, died on Monday at her residence in Vancouver, British Columbia. She was 55.

Her demise was introduced in an announcement from her household launched by Rowing Canada Aviron, the nationwide governing physique for rowing within the nation. The assertion mentioned that Ms. Heddle had battled for years with breast and lymph node most cancers, and later, melanoma and mind most cancers.

Within the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Ms. Heddle and her rowing companion, Marnie McBean, received two gold medals, within the pairs and the eights. On the 1994 World Championships, Ms. Heddle and Ms. McBean received a silver medal within the double sculls.

On the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ms. Heddle and Ms. McBean received a gold medal within the double sculls, a 2,000-meter competitors by which they led the race from begin to end, in keeping with Canada’s Sports activities Corridor of Fame. With that, Ms. Heddle and Ms. McBean turned the primary Canadians to win three Olympic gold medals in any sport, the group mentioned.

The next yr Ms. Heddle and Ms. McBean had been inducted into Canada’s Sports activities Corridor of Fame.

On Tuesday night time, Ms. McBean wrote on Twitter in regards to the demise of her rowing companion, calling Ms. Heddle the “Biggest of All Time.”

“I’m crushed and with out phrases at this time at this loss,” she added.

Within the assertion from Rowing Canada Aviron, Ms. Heddle’s household mentioned, “A rustic and a sport received to know and perceive her resolve.”

Kathleen Joan Heddle was born on Nov. 27, 1965, in Path, British Columbia, about 400 miles east of Vancouver. When Kathleen was 8 months outdated, her dad and mom, Duncan, a mining engineer, and the previous Marilyn Buchanan, a registered dietitian and homemaker, moved the household to Kitsilano, a neighborhood in Vancouver that abuts the English Bay. The household additionally included two different daughters, Libby and Peggy, and a son, Murray.

Ms. Heddle remained in Vancouver, settling within the close by neighborhood of Kerrisdale along with her husband, Mike Bryden, whom she married in October 2000. They’ve two teenage kids, Lyndsey (a pupil on the College of British Columbia and a member of the rowing staff) and Mac.

Along with her husband and youngsters, Ms. Heddle is survived by her sisters, Libby Heddle and Peggy Neal.

When Ms. Heddle enrolled on the College of British Columbia, she was tall and athletic, hoping to make a mark for herself on this planet of volleyball. Nevertheless it was in Ms. Heddle’s third yr on the college within the Eighties when she was “picked out of a lineup” due to her top (5 ft 11 inches) and recruited to affix the varsity’s rowing staff, she instructed the British Columbia Sports activities Corridor of Fame and Museum.

“It was a reasonably obscure sport then,” she mentioned, “so they’d attempt to recruit individuals who they thought had the fitting construct and had potential.”

“I used to be hooked instantly,” recalled Ms. Heddle. “I preferred the stability between brute power and energy with finesse.”

On the time, Ms. Heddle was 19 and her volleyball aspirations “had stalled,” in keeping with the British Columbia Sports activities Corridor of Fame. She shortly tailored to her new sport and excelled. She earned a bachelor’s diploma in psychology in 1990 from the college and continued along with her newfound ardour.

By 1987, Ms. Heddle had earned a spot on the Canadian nationwide rowing staff and received a gold medal within the pair occasion on the Pan American Video games.

On the 1991 World Cup in Switzerland, Ms. Heddle paired up with Ms. McBean for the primary time. Of their first race collectively they beat the defending world champions, in keeping with the British Columbia Sports activities Corridor of Fame.

In 1999 Ms. Heddle was awarded the Thomas Keller Medal, an honor given every year to a not too long ago retired athlete who has “a protracted and profitable rowing profession and who has made an impressive contribution to rowing as a competitor and as a sports activities character,” in keeping with the World Rowing Federation, the governing physique for the game.

Although Ms. Heddle shortly ascended to the higher echelon of rowing, she acknowledged that the rise got here with a problem.

“Rowing was seen as a medal sport in Canada, and we had been seen because the favorites,” Ms. Heddle mentioned, in keeping with the British Columbia Sports activities Corridor of Fame. There was, she mentioned, “a burden to satisfy the expectations individuals place on us.” When she received, she mentioned, “it was extra a sense of aid than anything.”

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