(Vancouver) Three-time Olympic rowing gold medalist Kathleen Heddle died of cancer at the age of 55.
Along with her Canadian teammate Marnie McBean, Heddle won gold in 1992 and 1996 in both sprints and sculls, respectively. Heddle also took the gold with the women’s eight crew.
Heddle fought breast and lymph node cancer for six years, then melanoma and brain cancer.
She died at her home in Vancouver on Monday. His death was confirmed by Aviron Canada, which released a statement on behalf of the family on Wednesday.
In the early evening, the Canadian Olympic Committee responded to the news through its president, Tricia Smith, herself a former rowing Olympian.
“We are upset. We are wholeheartedly with Mike, Lindsey, Mac and all of Kathleen’s beloved family. The greatest of all Olympic athletes in every sense of the word, she was a real rock to anyone who knew her, ”said Smith.
“A proud Canadian, she displayed a depth of character and approached every aspect of her life with integrity and grace. She never sought to be the center of attention, she always looked out for those around her and she always represented the best of Olympic values. It was a great privilege to have known Kathleen, not only as an Olympic champion, but also as a friend. She was a truly exceptional person. Truly Olympic. ”
Born in Trail, her family moved to Vancouver when she was still very young. She became a rower at the University of British Columbia.
Heddle and McBean are the only athletes from Canada to win three gold medals at the Summer Olympics. The two were also crowned world champions in the top two in 1991 and 1995.
Both women were inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
Heddle is survived by her spouse, Mike, and their children, Lyndsey and Mac.