Lindsay Wilson was a gangly and exceptionally strong oarsman with a rather carefree attitude to life. He filled the No 4 position in the 1972 Olympic champion rowing eight and remained on the scene long enough to also win the Olympic bronze medal with the 1976 rowing eight.
“Lew”, as he was called, was in the eight that claimed the European title in Copenhagen in 1971. In 1974 at Lucerne and 1975 at Nottingham, Wilson earned world championship bronzes medals in the eights.
He won a national title with Waikato in the eight in 1973.
For all his successes, the one that stands far above the rest was the 1972 Olympic gold medal.
The New Zealanders were among the favourites at Munich and duly delivered. Coach Rusty Robertson prepared them well, and they responded by outclassing a quality field to win by nearly three seconds, from the Americans and East Germans.
This was an important victory for the “amateur” New Zealanders over the “professional” northern hemisphere crews, and, significantly, the medals were presented by IOC chief Avery Brundage.
New Zealand’s rowing stocks were never higher than that emotional day at Feldmoching when the eight – Tony Hurt, Wybo Weldman, Dick Joyce, John Hunter, Wilson, Athol Earl, Trevor Coker, Gary Robertson and cox Simon Dickie – stood on the dais, gold medals around their necks, listening to God Defend New Zealand while they shed tears of joy.
Wilson worked for many years for Maori Affairs in Hamilton. He has always been very keen on outdoor sports such as tramping and shooting. He has been chairman of the Waikato Rowing Association and has had an exceedingly long association with the Waikato Rowing Club. In addition, he has been a national rowing selector and a coaching co-ordinator.
The 1972 Olympic rowing eight was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, and the eight won the New Zealand Sportsman of the Year crown in 1971 and 1972.