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


The next year Heddle and McBean were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday night, on Twitter, McBean called her rowing partner the “Greatest of All Time” and added, “I am crushed and without words today at this loss.”

Kathleen Joan Heddle was born on Nov. 27, 1965, in Trail, British Columbia, about 400 miles east of Vancouver. When she was 8 months old, her parents, Duncan Heddle, a mining engineer, and Marilyn (Buchanan) Heddle, a registered dietitian and homemaker, moved the family — which also included two other daughters, Libby and Peggy, and a son, Murray — to Kitsilano, a neighborhood in Vancouver that abuts the English Bay.


Heddle remained in Vancouver, settling in the nearby neighborhood of Kerrisdale with her husband, Mike Bryden, whom she married in October 2000. He survives her, as do their two teenage children, Lyndsey (a student at the University of British Columbia and a member of the rowing team) and Mac, and her sisters, Libby Heddle and Peggy Neal.


When Heddle enrolled at the University of British Columbia, she hoped to make a mark for herself in the world of volleyball. But in her third year at the university, in the 1980s, she was “picked out of a lineup” because of her height (5 feet 11 inches) and recruited to join the school’s rowing team, she told the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

“It was a pretty obscure sport then,” she said, “so they would try to recruit people who they thought had the right build and had potential.”

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