It's been six years since Marnie McBean won her last Olympic gold medal, but the former Canadian rower continues to win accolades.

McBean, a three-time Olympic gold medallist and one of the identifiable faces of Canadian rowing, has been named the winner of the 2002 Thomas Keller Medal for her "outstanding career in rowing."

The award is handed out each year by the International Rowing Federation (FISA), and recognizes the careers of those retired athletes who enjoyed remarkable careers in the sport and who exhibited a constant level of sportsmanship.

"It's the icing on the cake," said McBean. "I've been proud to be part of such a strong group of women that introduced rowing to Canada."

Two other Canadian rowing legends, Silken Laumann and McBean's former partner Kathleen Heddle, received the medal in 1999. Considered the highest honour in the sport of rowing, the medal is named after the late president of FISA.

A member of the Canadian national team from 1989 to 2000, McBean was a paragon of consistency and hard work in the sport of rowing.

She is the only rower to win a medal in every Olympic and World Championship crew boat class. She has 12 Olympic and world championship medals to her credit, including gold medals in the sweep oar pairs and the eight from the 1992 Olympics and in the double sculls from the 1996 Games.

"Marnie is outstanding," said Canadian national team coach Brian Richardson. "She's done an enormous amount for rowing in Canada and she's an ambassador for the sport. She is very deserving -- it's the culmination of a great career."

McBean attempted to win her fourth gold medal in 2000 in Sydney but missed the Olympics due to a severe back injury.

"Now I watch the women rowing, but I don't have the desire to train that much," McBean said. "Other years when I've taken time off, I've wanted to be back in a boat but today I'm quite happy to watch."

A native of Toronto, McBean was introduced to rowing at the Argonaut Rowing Club and one year later won bronze at the World Junior Rowing Championship. Richardson saw the potential in matching the outgoing McBean with the shy and reserved Heddle.

McBean is currently in Seville, Spain attending the 2002 world rowing championships. She will be presented the award on Saturday.

List of Marnie McBean's rowing accomplishments: Rowing (3 gold, 1 bronze) Coxless Pairs - gold 1992 Double Sculls - gold 1996 Double Fours - bronze 1996 Eights - gold 1992 With files from Canadian Press