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Lesley Thompson-Willie

Full name: Lesley Allison Thompson-Willie
Gender: Female
Height: 5-2.5 (160 cm)
Weight: 99 lbs (45 kg)
Born: September 20, 1959 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Affiliations: LRC, London (GBR)
Country: CAN Canada
Sport: Rowing

Medals: 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze (5 Total)

Biography

With five medals across seven appearances at the Summer Olympics, Canadian Lesley Thompson-Willie has, as of 2012, attended more editions of the Games than any other rower. This feat is made even more impressive by the fact that she did not seriously take up rowing until her mid-20s; although she competed at the 1981 World Championships, and finished fourth in the eights, her initial vocation was that of a gymnast. It was not until she suffered an injury while competing for the University of Western Ontario that she switched to rowing as a full-time athletic career, serving as a coxswain due to her size and gymnastic background. She was fourth again at the 1983 World Championships, this time in the coxed fours, but captured her first major international medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics, silver, by finishing behind the Romanians in the same event. She won bronze in coxed fours at the next two editions of the World Championships, but slipped to sixth in the event in 1987, where she also placed seventh in the eights. After taking gold in the coxed fours at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, her final major race in that event came at the 1988 Summer Olympics, where the Canadian boat finished seventh. From that point on, she was exclusively an eights rower at major tournaments.

Thompson-Willie had her best years in the early 1990s, when she reached the top of the podium at the 1991 World Championships and the 1992 Summer Olympics. The crew did not fare as well at the 1994 or 1995 World Championships, placing seventh and sixth respectively, but she did win a gold medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. From 1996 through 2000, however, Thompson-Willie never failed to reach the podium at the Olympics or World Championships. She captured silver at the 1996 Games and 1997 World Championships and bronze at the 2000 Games and the 1998 and 1999 World Championships.

Thompson-Willie retired after the 2000 Olympics and turned to coaching. After five years, however, she decided to return rowing and rejoined the Canadian team in time to compete at the 2006 World Championships, where she finished fifth in the eights. She was sixth at the 2007 edition, fourth at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and then sixth again at the 2009 World Championships. She returned to the podium the following year and, as of 2013, has yet to leave it: she earned silver at the 2010 and 2011 World Championships as well as the 2012 Summer Olympics. Although still competing as of 2013, she has a career outside of athletics as a librarian and teacher at the London (Ontario) South Collegiate Institute and has been a member of the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame since 1994.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1984 Summer 24 Los Angeles Rowing Women's Coxed Fours Canada CAN 2 Silver
1988 Summer 28 Seoul Rowing Women's Coxed Fours Canada CAN 7
1992 Summer 32 Barcelona Rowing Women's Coxed Eights Canada CAN 1 Gold
1996 Summer 36 Atlanta Rowing Women's Coxed Eights Canada CAN 2 Silver
2000 Summer 40 Sydney Rowing Women's Coxed Eights Canada CAN 3 Bronze
2008 Summer 48 Beijing Rowing Women's Coxed Eights Canada CAN 4
2012 Summer 52 London Rowing Women's Coxed Eights Canada CAN 2 Silver

Women's Coxed Fours

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit T
1984 Summer 24 Los Angeles Rowing Canada CAN Final Round A Final 3:21.55
1984 Summer 24 Los Angeles Rowing Canada CAN Round One Heat Two 3:23.45
1988 Summer 28 Seoul Rowing Canada CAN Final Round B Final 7:19.86
1988 Summer 28 Seoul Rowing Canada CAN Round One Repêchage Heat One 7:29.71
1988 Summer 28 Seoul Rowing Canada CAN Round One Heat One 7:31.02

Women's Coxed Eights

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit T L
1992 Summer 32 Barcelona Rowing Canada CAN Final Round A Final 6:02.62
1992 Summer 32 Barcelona Rowing Canada CAN Round One Heat One 6:11.44
1996 Summer 36 Atlanta Rowing Canada CAN Final Round A Final 6:24.05
1996 Summer 36 Atlanta Rowing Canada CAN Round One Repêchage Heat One 6:06.49
1996 Summer 36 Atlanta Rowing Canada CAN Round One Heat Two 6:29.08
2000 Summer 40 Sydney Rowing Canada CAN Final Round 6:11.58
2000 Summer 40 Sydney Rowing Canada CAN Round One Heat Two 6:13.60
2008 Summer 48 Beijing Rowing Canada CAN Final Round A Final 6:08.04 2
2008 Summer 48 Beijing Rowing Canada CAN Round One Repêchage Heat One 6:10.50 1
2008 Summer 48 Beijing Rowing Canada CAN Round One Heat One 6:12.68 2
2012 Summer 52 London Rowing Canada CAN Final Round A Final
2012 Summer 52 London Rowing Canada CAN Round One Heat Two
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