The Thunder Bay Rowing Club experienced enormous growth and success within the women's program during the late 1970s and 80s and two rowers that were a part of that success were Helen Fleming (now Livingstone) and Barbara Kukko, who competed in Lightweight Doubles and Pairs. Joining the club in 1978 they soon came together as a pair, with Barb as bow and Helen as stroke. After just two years of rowing together they brought home silver medals from the 1979 and 80 Henley and the 1980 Canadian Championships.
In 1981, they entered the history books as national champions by winning the Women's Lightweight Doubles event at the Canadian championships held in Montreal. One week later they claimed gold in the same event at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in St. Catharines. In 1982, they added silver and bronze to their growing national medal collection and repeated as Henley Champions.
In 1985, the North Western International Rowing Association commissioned The Helen Fleming/Barb Kukko Award to be presented to the winners of the Senior Women's Lightweight Pairs event at the NWIRA Championship, in recognition of their domination of the event which included seven consecutive wins between 1978 and 1984.
In addition to contributing to the sport as athletes, these two exceptional individuals also gave back to rowing by helping with clinics and providing leadership and inspiration to the young rowers that followed, as well as, serving on the Executive of the Thunder Bay Rowing Club throughout the years.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 29, 2012