It was a tough and demanding contest for Howey, the former world and European junior middleweight champion, particularly as she had to lift herself mentally after seeing a place in the final slip through her fingers.
She had lost to Odalis Reve Jimenez, a tall Cuban, on the tiny margin of a split decision. The two attacked for the full four minutes, but Reve was given the nod for slightly superior attacks. And it was Reve who went on to take the title with a stunning victory over the world champion, the Italian, Emanuella Pierantozzi.
Howey's task was to regain a positive outlook as she came on for her bronze-medal fight against Lecat. In characteristic style she charged into action, catching Lecat's leg and driving her backwards. The bold move brought her a koka (three points) a little insurance for the rest of the fight.
Lecat responded hard and twice nearly caught Howey on the ground. The English fighter went through her repertoire of pick- ups and drop-shoulder throws but seemed to have lost her accuracy. Just when she was in danger of losing control of the contest, she got right under Lecat and lifted her with a superb kata- guruma (shoulder wheel), dumping her on the mat for yuko (five points).
A similar pattern followed as the fight went into the final minute. Lecat piled on the pressure, but seconds from the end Howey produced another kata- guruma, this time taking Lecat backwards for waza-ari (seven points), confirming her triumph.
The 30-year-old Densign White formally announced his retirement after a disappointing Olympic performance. He won a fifth place in Los Angeles, repeated that in Seoul and had hoped to round off more than a decade at the top level of international judo with an Olympic medal. Having taken two European silvers and a world bronze, it was the only major competition he has not marked with a tangible result.
His consolation was showing his skill yesterday, with a superb uchimata for ippon against Hamete Souffrant (Haiti), in the first round, but he lost a split decision to Korea's Jong Ock Jang.
The men's middleweight division saw a remarkable success for Waldemar Legien, the Pole who won the 78-kilogram category in Seoul. For the first time in Olympic history, he moved up a weight and won again. In the final, his wily fighting style brought him three scores over France's Pascal Tayot.