Lesley Thompson

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Lesley Thompson
Medal record
Women's rowing
Representing  Canada
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1992 Barcelona Eight
Silver medal – second place 1984 Los Angeles coxed four
Silver medal – second place 1996 Atlanta Eight
Silver medal – second place 2012 London Eight
Bronze medal – third place 2000 Sydney Eight
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1991 Vienna Eights
Silver medal – second place 2010 Lake Karapiro Eights
Silver medal – second place 2011 Lake Bled Eights
Bronze medal – third place 1984 Montreal Eights
Bronze medal – third place 1985 Hazewinkel Coxed fours
Bronze medal – third place 1986 Nottingham Coxed fours
Bronze medal – third place 1998 Cologne Eights
Bronze medal – third place 1999 St. Catharines Eights
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Aiguebelette Eights
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 1986 Edinburgh Coxed four

Lesley Allison Thompson-Willie (born September 20, 1959) is a Canadian rowing coxswain and Olympic champion. She has competed at eight different Olympics, from 1984 to 2016, winning medals in five of them including gold in coxed eight at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.[1][2] She has also won the World Championship in 1991.


At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Thompson competed in the Women's Coxed Four event; the Canadian team won a silver medal behind gold winner Romania. At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul the Canadian team qualified for the B final in coxed four, and placed 7th.[2] At the 1991 World Championships in Austria she won a gold medal in coxed eight with the Canadian team. Next year, at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona she competed in coxed eight, winning a gold medal for Canada. In 1996 in Atlanta she won a silver medal in coxed eight.[2] At the 1998 World Championships in France she placed second in coxed eight.[3] At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney she won a bronze medal in coxed eight. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, she coxed the Canadian eight boat that finished in fourth.[2] When the Canadian eights won silver at the 2012 London Olympics[4] she became the first Canadian to win medals at five different Olympic Games.[5]

She is the only person in the sport of rowing to compete at seven Olympic Games.

A former track athlete, she also competed in gymnastics until 1983. She lives in London and St. Catharines and is affiliated with the London RC Club.[3] She was elected to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1994.

She initially retired after the 2000 Sydney Olympics, missing the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.[5] Her appearance at the 2008 Olympics, when her team lost out on a medal by 0.79 seconds, began back in 2005 when she made a joke to rowing coach Al Morrow[6] about going to Beijing. When he replied, "Really?", she began training.[7]

Thompson-Willie is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario.[5] As of 2014 she continues to train with the national team. She is also a teacher-librarian and physical education teacher at South Secondary School in London, Ontario; and is married to Dr. Paul Willie, a professor of accounting, finance, and hotel management at Niagara College.[8]

In June 2016, she was officially named to Canada's 2016 Olympic team.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lesley Thompson". databaseOlympics.com. Retrieved 19 January 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Lesley Thompson". Sports-reference.com. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Lesley Thompson at WorldRowing.com from FISA
  4. ^ "Canada's women's 8 rowers win Olympic silver". CBC Sports. The Canadian Press. August 2, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Canadian Olympic Committee (July 5, 2012). "Lesley Thompson-Willie". Canada.com. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Honoured members – Al Morrow". Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "Cox one of the big buoys of rowing". Canada.com. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Dave Feschuk (July 15, 2012). "Lesley Thompson-Willie guides women's eight rowers: Seventh Olympics for veteran Canadian coxswain". Brampton Guardian. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ Ewing, Lori (28 June 2016). "Canada announces 26-member Olympic rowing team". Canadian Press. Toronto, Canada. Retrieved 28 June 2016.