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  • Lesley Thompson - Rowing

    Nominated by Rowing Canada Aviron

     Leadership is inherent in Lesley Thompson. As the coxswain of the women's 8+ since 1984, she has led crews to countless international medals, including one gold and two silver medals at three Olympic Games and six world championship medals. She has been named to every Canadian Olympic team since 1980.

     Although she doesn't pull the oars, her crew's success rests with Thompson. National coach Al Morrow likens her to an auto-racing pit crew, responsible for the car and for implementing race strategy. Marnie McBean says, "She sits in a boat with eight rowers who have prepared to push it to the wall, and it's her job to get more out of us than we thought was there." It is a job at which Thompson excels.

     The key to a coxswain's success is the ability to garner absolute trust from the rowers, and Thompson has done just that. Years of experience have taught her to make the right decisions and, when necessary, to exercise her authority to deviate from the race plan. She has great skill at anticipating every eventuality and swiftly transmitting vital information to the crew. She keeps in peak condition, because the fitter she is, the clearer she can think in a pressure situation.

     For Thompson, being Canada's coxswain is all about constant improvement. She strives for excellence in everything she undertakes, both in sport and in her personal life. When at home in London, Ont., she devotes much of her time to volunteer teaching and coaching at the high school, university and provincial levels, guiding others toward achieving their full potential. Last spring, her community recognized her achievements with the YMCA-YWCA's Women of Distinction award.

     Currently, Thompson is training full time and is a full-time student at the National Coaching Institute-Victoria.



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