Canadians still can't find the podium

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

A number of bona fide medal hopes fall by the wayside; nation gets more and more restless

The drought continued for Canada Wednesday as its first legitimate chances at bringing home a medal failed to deliver on Day 5 of the Beijing Olympics.

Divers Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda, who finished second at the world championships last year, placed fifth in the men's three-metre synchronized diving event.

Michael Saunders (20) congratulates Canadian teammates Emmanuel Garcia (15) and Chris Robinson (30) as they return to the dugout after scoring against China Wednesday during the Canadians' opening game in the preliminary round of the 2008 Olympic Games ba

Beijing - The drought continued for Canada Wednesday as its first legitimate chances at bringing home a medal failed to deliver on Day 5 of the Beijing Olympics.

Divers Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda, who finished second at the world championships last year, placed fifth in the men's three-metre synchronized diving event.

Fencer Sherraine Schalm, ranked fifth in the world, lost 15-13 in the round of 16 of the individual epee to Hungary's Ildiko Mincza-Nebald.

"It's like I imagine being a man, it's like being kicked in the nuts repeatedly, that's how bad it feels, you feel like you want to curl up and die," said Schalm, who was devastated by the loss.

The Canadian men's 4x200-metre relay swim team, considered one of the country's best medal hopes in the pool, finished fifth.

And Brent Hayden, who tied for gold in 100-metre freestyle at last year's world aquatic championship, didn't even get a chance to swim for a medal after flaming out in the semifinal.

The struggles continued into this morning, when swimmer Mike Brown had the country's closest call yet.

The native of Perth, Ont., finished just 0.09 seconds shy of the bronze in the 200-metre breaststroke.

"That's about as frustrating as it gets," said Brown, who was timed in two minutes 9.03 seconds. "Fourth place is probably the worst spot you can get at the Olympic Games."

Back home, The Globe and Mail ran an editorial Wednesday entitled "Enough With the Personal Bests."

"Despite some bright spots, our summer Olympic team is not very good," it said bluntly.

Though the fact the divers were Canada's first bona-fide medal hopefuls, Despatie tried to look at the bigger picture.

"Diving is not here to support Canada on its own," he said. "The Games have just started. People are still training for their events, they're still competing and the medals are going to come.

"We want medals too. Don't give up on us."

Some of Canada's top medal contenders will compete over the weekend. The highly touted men's eight rowing crew will race in the final Sunday. The Canadian rowing team also has medal potential in the women's eight and the men's pair.

The women's wrestling team has high hopes heading into its weekend competition. Tonya Verbeek of Beamsville, Ont., a silver medallist in 2004, has medal potential as do her three other teammates.

Diver Blythe Hartley, ranked fourth in the world in women's springboard, also has an outside shot at a medal on Sunday.

Canada's baseball team provided a bright spot Wednesday with a 10-0 thrashing of host China.

"I think any time you put up 10 runs in a game it's a good one," London, Ont., outfielder Adam Stern said. "It went as expected."

And Canada's women's softball team earned its second win of the tournament, downing the Netherlands 9-2.

Things did not go as expected for some other Canadians, however.

Schalm, the three-time Olympian from Brooks, Alta., had a good chance to make history at the Beijing Games as the first Canadian to win an Olympic fencing medal. She led her entire bout against Mincza-Nebald, the fourth-place finisher at the 2004 Athens Olympics, before her opponent took control in the final three points en route to victory.

Despatie, from Laval, Que., and Miranda, from Montreal, had an opportunity to win a medal but couldn't take advantage of their opponents' miscues, finishing with 409.239 points for their six dives.

The Canadians were solidly in third place through three dives, but tumbled down the standings after posting the second-lowest score with their fourth attempt. They still had a shot at the bronze, but their final dive - an inward three-and-a-half somersault - left them just under six points short of third place.

Canada used to be able to count on a medal in synchronized diving but, with the women's team coming up empty Tuesday, Canada was shut out of the discipline for the first time since it was introduced at the 2000 Games in Sydney.

On Wednesday, Canada's relay team of Colin Russell of Oshawa, Ont., Brian Johns of Victoria, Hayden and Andrew Hurd of Cambridge, Ont., finished fifth in 7:05.77.

Meanwhile, Hayden was sixth-fastest in his heat with a time of 48.20, placing him 11th overall. The top eight advanced, with Australia's Eamon Sullivan setting a world record in 47.05.

Audrey Lacroix of Montreal swam 2:09.74 to finish 13th in the women's 200 butterfly. After the race she walked through the mixed zone with the aid of three staff, looking ill.

And Julia Wilkinson of Stratford, Ont., finished seventh in the final of the women's 200-metre individual medley in a time of 2:12.43.

Then today, Brown got as close as any Canadian swimmer has at these Games before coming up short. Japan's Kosuke Kitajima won gold in a time of 2:07.64 with Australia's Brenton Rickard taking silver in 2:08.88.

Adding to the disappointment for Brown was the fact that his semifinal time of 2:08.84 would have been good enough to win a silver medal in the final.

"That's extremely disappointing," he said. "I would have loved the medal. The first medal for Canada would have been awesome to have.

"I couldn't pull it through but that doesn't mean we won't be having one soon."

Organizations: Beijing Olympics, Olympic Games, Globe and Mail Beijing Games

Geographic location: Canada, Beijing, Hungary Perth Montreal Beamsville China London, Ont. Australia Brooks Laval Sydney Oshawa Victoria Cambridge Stratford Japan

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments