Marnie McBean

Graduation Year: 

  • BA 1997

Stats (results):

  • 1992 - Gold - Coxless Pairs - Barcelona
  • 1992 - Gold - Women's Coxed Eight - Barcelona
  • 1996 - Gold - Double Sculls - Atlanta
  • 1996 - Bronze - Quadruple Sculls - Atlanta

Marnie McBean has competed in three Olympic Games: 1992, 1996 and 2000. She was also part of the women's team that won the Ontario Women's Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA) championships in 1981-92, 1984-85 and 1989-90. In high school, she competed in basketball, volleyball, soccer, track and softball. She also took a "learn-to-row" workshop and by grade 12, she found herself on the junior national team. Her long-term goal was to get into Western but her grade average fell below the cut off. She had already been accepted to the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. She was eventually given a place at Western and "arrived at her residence with every piece of sports paraphernalia on the planet." The first year that she participated in the rowing team, she was coached by Doug Clark and later by Al Morrow. She rowed with UWO for two years but was disqualified from intervarsity competition due to her international success. McBean was awarded the FWP Jones Award in 1989 for the most outstanding contribution to intercollegiate athletics. She then turned to coaching. She won the OWIAA Coach of the Year award in 1992-93.

In 1991, she won four gold medals at the world championships, a feat which had never been accomplished. In 1995, she was awarded the Governor General's Meritorious Service Medal and the Toronto YWCA/YMCA Women of Distinction award. McBean was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 with her rowing partner Kathleen Heddle. Also in 1997, she was awarded the Thomas Keller Medal by FISA, the International Rowing Federation, for her inspirational career in rowing.

Marnie McBean.

Women's heavyweight rowing 1989-90 team. McBean is pictured in the middle row, second from the left. Al Morrow is also pictured here.