Veteran coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie of Napanee won yet another medal Sunday, when the Canadian women’s eight claimed the bronze at the world rowing championships at Lac Aiguebelette, France.
It’s the 10th world championship medal since 1985 for Thompson-Willie, 56, who has also won medals at more Olympic Games—five—than any other Canadian athlete.
The Canadian crew went into Sunday’s race hoping to catch the reigning world champion Americans, but instead Thompson-Willie et al, despite a good start, were unable to withstand the challenge of an upstart New Zealand crew that finished second, behind the U.S.
Canada finished the race in 6 minutes 9.05 seconds, 3.4 seconds off the winning pace, 53 one-hundredths of a second behind New Zealand and a little more than half a second ahead of the fourth-place British crew.
Also Sunday, the Canadian men’s lightweight four, with Kingston’s Nicolas Pratt in the boat, finished fifth in the B final to claim the 11th and final qualifying spot for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Canada won the bronze medal in the event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but failed to qualify for the 2012 Games in London.
On the final day of the week-long regatta, the Canadians, who were fifth for most of the race, finished in 5:58.67, two and a half seconds off the winning time posted by the American crew, but eight seconds faster than the time they clocked in the semifinals.