Lesley Tashlin, who grew up with a competitive spirit with four athletic siblings, was determined to play every sport when she enrolled at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. Alongside her twin sister, Lindsey, she competed in field hockey, volleyball, badminton, and track and field. Lesley excelled on the court, in the field and in the classroom. Lesley taught herself to hurdle in grade nine and also led the midget girls relay team to the OFSSA finals.
By the time she graduated, she was an OFSSA medalist in both track and field and badminton. She was the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Athlete of the Year in 1988.
Attending York University, Lesley became an All-Canadian Champion, earning OUA and CIS sprint hurdles gold medals. She moved to Ottawa to train seriously in her quest to qualify for the Canadian Olympic team for the 1996 games in Atlanta. Her perseverance paid off. She proudly represented Canada at the Olympics, and five other international competitions. A full-time member of the Canadian Track and Field team for close to a decade, Lesley made the finals in four international events with fourth place finishes in both the Commonwealth Games and the Pan-Am Games.
In the middle of her athletic career, Lesley became a mother and kept her status as a full-time, world-class athlete. She continued to improve on the track, travel to competitions around the globe, and maintain her ranking among the top three hurdlers in Canada. Retiring from competition in 2002, Lesley continued her involvement in her sport as a Canadian Track and Field Delegate. She travelled with teams and supported them in her role as a registered sports massage therapist. She now owns and operates a massage and sports therapy clinic and frequently works with Canada’s Olympic track and field athletes. Lesley Tashlin is an inspiration to small town girls who train on dirt tracks during black fly season. They, too, can strive to be Olympians.