Medal floodgate opens for Canada, Olympic chief vows more to come

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Canada's Tracy Cameron of Shubenacadie, N.S., left, and Melanie Kok of St. Catherines, Ont. bite their bronze medal following the lightweight women's double sculls final at the Beijing Olympics in Beijing, China, Sunday. Photo by The Canadian Press

Chris Rudge said it was the cooler weather in Beijing on Saturday that eased the sweat on his brow.
But after more than a week without a Canadian on the podium at the Summer Games, Saturday's three-medal outpouring provided its own relief.
Wrestlers clinched a gold and bronze, while rowers took silver.
"Well, we knew this was going to happen sooner rather than later," said Rudge, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
"We're pretty well on track with where we were in Athens. I think we had three after seven or eight days in Athens."
Canadians went on to win 12 medals at the 2004 Summer Games, 10 of them in the last week of competition.
After eight days of drought in Beijing, the medal floodgates opened for Canada on Saturday.
The day started late in the afternoon for Canadian fans as a crowd gathered at Canada Olympic House to watch rowers Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen clinch Canada's first medal at the Games.
Within an hour, wrestler Carol Huynh took gold in the 48-kilogram freestyle division while teammate Tonya Verbeek took the bronze in the 55-kilogram class.
"Pretty emotional for us, the gold medal ceremony at the wrestling," Rudge said.
"I don't know who cried more, me or the athlete but it really was an exciting day for us."
Canada's late start on the medal race was pinned on many things, including a lack of funding for summer sports, contenders sidelined by injury and simple timing - many of Canada's top medal contenders do not compete until the latter half of the Games.
"I think that we've known all along that the second half of the Games is where we start to pick up," Rudge said, adding both rowing and swimming events in the days to come look good for medal finishes.
While Canadians may have been wringing their hands over the poor showing, in the athletes village it's been business as usual.
Rowers Calder and Fransden hadn't heard about the two other medals when they arrived for a reception at Canada Olympic House.
"You know that it's hard to understand but in the village we don't really get these messages because we don't have the television, we don't have the papers, the athletes don't have time to go on the Internet that much," said Sylvie Bernier, the chef de mission for Canada's team.
"So most of them are really focused on their event, their competitions, their training."
But with a three medal win on one day, it will capture their attention, said Bernier.
"They've heard about it, they've seen their peers and their colleagues, they're going to see them (Saturday) in the village," she said.
"So of course, it's great to win medals."

Organizations: Canada Olympic House, Canadian Olympic Committee

Geographic location: Canada, Beijing, Athens

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