Canada's Carol Huynh celebrates with her coaches after winning the women's freestyle 48 kilogram gold medal match at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008. Photo by The Associated Press
Canada's medal drought in Beijing is over - and it came to an end with a medal of each colour in quick succession Saturday.
Freestyle wrestler Carol Huynh won the women's 48-kilogram final about 20 minutes after rowers Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen finished second in the men's pair to earn the country's first trip to the podium at the Summer Games.
About 25 minutes after Huynh's win, fellow wrestler Tonya Verbeek claimed bronze in the 55-kilogram event.
"It wasn't really part of our thought process going in because that's just unneeded pressure," Frandsen said of breaking the country's goose-egg. "It's great to get Canada on the board."
Huynh posted a 4-0, 2-1 win in a one-sided final against Chiharu Icho of Japan.
The 27-year-old from Hazelton, B.C., won gold at last year's Pan American Games and a bronze medal at the 2005 world championship.
She wiped away tears as O Canada was played after the medal presentation.
"I was just thinking how proud I am to be Canadian," Huynh said. "And I was just thinking about the road to how I got here. It's been a long one but a good one."
Calder, from Victoria, and Frandsen, from Kelowna, B.C., clocked a time of six minutes 39.55 seconds, nearly five seconds ahead of the bronze medallists from New Zealand.
The Canadians were about two seconds behind Australia for gold.
"I'm really proud of it and Scott is really proud of it," said Calder. "The Australians had a great push through the middle. We pushed back a little bit but congratulations to them. They definitely deserved that.
"We're very happy with a silver medal today."
Calder rowed in the men's pair four years ago in Athens. That crew was disqualified from the semifinal for leaving their lane.
Frandsen was a member of the men's eight that finished fifth in Athens.
Verbeek completed the triple for Canada when she beat Sweden's Ida-Theres Nerell 1-0, 1-0.
The native of Beamsville, Ont., won silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
The medal flurry comes as a welcome relief after Canada went without a trip to the podium during the first seven days of competition.
There were three agonizing near-misses over that span - weightlifter Christine Girard fell three kilograms short of bronze, Mike Brown missed a bronze in the 200-metre breaststroke by 0.09 seconds and shot-putter Dylan Armstrong fell a centimetre short of third place.
The pressure both in China - where expectations were high for the team coming in - and back at home - where anxious fans wondered how Canada could trail countries like Togo, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia in the medal standings - had been building, but should now start to ease.
Meanwhile, three Canadians advanced to women's and men's trampoline finals next week.
Rosannagh MacLennan of King City, Ont., was third and Karen Cockburn of Toronto fourth in the women's preliminary round, while Toronto's Jason Burnett finished seventh among the men.
The women's final is Monday followed by the men Tuesday at National Indoor Stadium.
The news wasn't as good for the Canadian baseball team, beaten 5-4 by the United States for a third straight one-run loss.
This one really hurt as they blew a 4-0 lead in falling to 1-3 at the Games, leaving them needing wins in their final three preliminary round contests to have any hope of reaching the semifinals.
In other Canadian action:
- Zach Bell of Watson Lake, Yukon placed seventh in the men's points cycling race.
- The struggles continued for the men's water polo team, which fell to 0-4 with a 13-7 loss to Greece. Kevin Graham and Aaron Feltham each scored three goals for Canada.
"We played well three of the four quarters but Greece scored five goals in the first," said Nathaniel Miller of Beaconsfield, Que. "We can't give up such a big lead in an Olympic tournament."
- Carline Muir of Toronto advanced to Sunday's semifinals in the women's 400 metres. The 20-year-old ran a personal best 51.55 seconds to finish third in her heat and move on.
"I pushed hard right to the end," said Muir. "It was an awesome way to start my first Olympic experience."
- Kelsie Hendry of Saskatoon failed to advance out of the qualifying round in the women's pole vault. She cleared 4.30 metres, but missed on all three attempts at 4.40.
"The experience I earned is great but my performance wasn't," Hendry said. "I have to take what I can from this and just learn."