Triathlete delivers silver

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Published on August 19, 2008

China's Zhong Man, left, and France's Julien Pillet compete during the semifinals of the men's individual saber quarterfinals at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Tuesday, August 12, 2008. - Photo by The Associated Press

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Canada's Dylan Armstrong, from Kamloops, B.C., sits on the bench after missing the bronze medal on the last throw during the shot put final at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Friday, August 15, 2008. - Photo by The Canadian Press

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Canada's Jeane Lassen from Victoria, B.C. kisses the weights as she competes in the women's 75kg weightlifting final at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Friday, August 15, 2008. Lassen placed eighth. - Photo by The Canadian Press

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Carol Hyunh of Canada,is carried off after defeating Japan's Chiharu Ichu in the final of 48kg women's freestyle wrestling competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008. Carol won gold. - Photo by The Associated Press

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Canada's David Calder of Victoria, B.C. shares a moment with his daughter Mira, 4, after he and teammate Scott Fradsen of Kelowna, B.C. won the silver medal in the men's pair rowing final at the Beijing Olympics in Beijing, China, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008.

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Colin Jenkins of Canada competes in the swimming portion of the men's Triathlon final at the Triathlon venue on Day 11 of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008 in Beijing, China. - Photo by The Associated Press

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The duet team of Jiang Wenwen and Jiang Tingting of China perform the duet free routine preliminary in synchronized swimming during the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. China placed third with Japan in the preliminaries. - Photo by

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China's Guo Shuang falls during the Track Cycling Women's Sprint race, at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. - Photo by The Associated Press

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Canada's Adam van Koeverden paddles to the win as New Zealand's Steven Ferguson, back, closes in the Kayak Single K1 500M men's heat at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. - Photo by The Associated Press

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Canadian fans cheer as the duet pair of Marie-Pier Boudreau Gagnon and Isabelle Rampling perform the duet free routine preliminary in synchronized swimming during the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. - Photo by The Associated Press

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Canada's Jason Burnett, from Etobicoke, Ont. holds up his silver medal following competition in the mens trampoline final at the the Beijing Olympics in Beijing, China Tuesday, Aug.19, 2008. - Photo by The Canadian Press

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Canada's Alexandre Despatie of Laval, Que. celebrates his silver medal win following the 3 meter diving final at the Beijing Olympics in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008. - Photo by The Canadian Press

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Disappointment for some Canadians

Silver medals from Karen Cockburn and Canada's equestrian team salvaged a day that began with disappointment and disaster for the nation's athletes at the Olympics.

And Simon Whitfield got Canada off to a good start Tuesday with another silver medal.

The Kingston, Ont., native won silver in triathlon, finishing five seconds behind German gold medallist Jan Frodeno's time of one hour 48 minutes 53 seconds.

Beijing - Silver medals from Karen Cockburn and Canada's equestrian team salvaged a day that began with disappointment and disaster for the nation's athletes at the Olympics.

And Simon Whitfield got Canada off to a good start Tuesday with another silver medal.

The Kingston, Ont., native won silver in triathlon, finishing five seconds behind German gold medallist Jan Frodeno's time of one hour 48 minutes 53 seconds.

He seemed to lag behind the pack during the run before catching up just prior to the final stretch.

"I kind of fought my way on there, and I thought there's no time like the present," Whitfield said. "I tried to make it a battle of pure willpower. I gave it everything I had."

He even took the lead in the final stretch, before Frodeno overtook him en route to the win.

"I tried hard, I tried really hard. For a moment there, I thought I had it," Whitfield said.

The 33-year-old won gold in this event eight years ago in Sydney but stumbled to an 11th place finish at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

"To be able to fight my way back to the podium, that was hard, that was so hard - this was a harder race than Sydney was," Whitfield said.

He is second on the men's all-time career World Cup list with 11 wins. He finished fifth at a World Cup event in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this month.

Whitfield led the first full Canadian men's team of triathletes to qualify for the Olympics into Beijing.

Edmonton's Paul Tichelaar finished 28th, while Colin Jenkins of Hamilton was 50th.

Whitfield said his teammates' help during the race was invaluable.

"Our communication was spectacular," he said.

The Olympic triathlon course began with a 1.5-kilometre swim in the Ming Tombs Reservoir before a 40-km bike race followed by the last 10-km on foot.

Race time temperature was 28 C with 80 per cent humidity.

Cockburn won her third Olympic medal in as many Games on Monday, taking silver in women's trampoline.

The equestrians followed with a silver in show jumping, giving Canada its third straight multi-medal day at the Beijing Games.

Canada's Tabia Charles has advanced to the women's long jump final in her Olympic debut.

The 23-year-old from Pickering, Ont., jumped 6.61 metres in the qualifying round Tuesday morning to earn a spot among the top 12 in Friday's final.

Fails to advance

Tyler Christopher had failed to advance out of the 400-metre heats and triathlete Lauren Groves fractured a bone in her left elbow in a cycling crash early Monday before the two podium visits.

Cockburn, won silver in 2004 a bronze in 2000, finished with a score of 37.0.

"It's still hard to believe," the 27-year-old from Toronto said. "I just started this sport for fun and it wasn't an Olympic sport.

"Then it got into the Olympics, I went to three Games and I have a third medal. I'm still trying to soak it in, I think."

He Wenna of China won with a score of 37.80 while Ekaterina Khilko of Uzbekistan took the bronze at 36.90.

After Cockburn's triumph, Ian Millar of Perth, Ont., Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ont., Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, Ont., and Mac Cone of King City, Ont., took silver in show jumping after losing a jump-off with the United States.

The U.S. won gold when their first three riders executed clean rounds in the jump-off. Henselwood, Canada's lead rider, had picked up four faults.

Norway won bronze.

It was Millar's first medal in nine Olympic appearances, and the Canadians did it with just three riders. Cone had to withdraw after his horse, Ole, sustained a minor injury during Sunday's first round.

Four riders normally compete for each team, with the best three rounds counting.

The country's medal tally is up to 10 - two gold, four silver and four bronze - and with several top contenders still to come, Canada's push up the standings should continue. BMX biker Samantha Cools, mountain biker Marie-Helene Premont, the taekwondo team and the canoe/kayak team are expected to increase Canada'a medal haul this week.

Flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden took a step in that direction, winning his opening heat in the K-1 1,000-metre kayak race to advance directly to Friday's final.

The Oakville, Ont., native finished in three minutes 29.622 seconds.

"This was the first chance to put my best effort forward just to see what I could do," van Koeverden said. "So far so good."

Not so for Christopher, a 24-year-old sprinter from Chilliwack, B.C., who was considered Canada's best medal hope in athletics.

He failed to survive the 400-metre event's first race, finishing fifth in his heat in 45.67 seconds to get eliminated.

"Disappointed? That's a bit of an understatement," Christopher said after the race. "Disappointment would be not making it to the final.

"Not making it out of the heats, that's just ridiculous."

He arrived in Beijing ranked sixth in the world after capturing gold at the world indoor championships in March in Valencia, Spain.

But he says he came down with a flu bug at the Canadian team's training camp in Singapore and couldn't shake it until a couple days before the race.

"I couldn't really get out of my bed until two days ago," he said. "It was just a lack of energy, my body was just completely fatigued, it hurt to touch, it hurt to lay down, it hurt to do everything. I thought I was over it, but it seems like it still has taken a lot out of my body."

Lauren Groves, meanwhile, thought she was headed to a top-10 finish in the women's triathlon after a strong swim. Instead she ended up in hospital, where the initial diagnosis of a fractured radial head in her elbow was confirmed.

The Vancouver native was in a small group chasing the lead pack when one of the other cyclists went down in front of her and several of them tumbled to the ground.

My coach Joel (Filliol) was there and I said I wanted to continue. He asked me to try to move my elbow. I tried once more and couldn't so I knew I was done," she said.

Organizations: Athens Olympics, Beijing Games

Geographic location: Canada, Beijing, Sydney Kingston Des Moines, Iowa Edmonton United States Pickering Toronto China Uzbekistan Perth Oxford Mills Schomberg King City Norway Oakville Chilliwack Valencia Spain Singapore Vancouver

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    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Why would anyone want to attend this game?

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    Why would anyone want to attend this game?