Sport Shorts: What a Weekend
Two Wheels on a Mountain: Star mountain biker Catharine Pendrel (Kamloops, B.C.) won a gold medal Sunday in a World Cup cross-country race at Mont-Ste-Anne, Que. The second-place rider finished a minute-and-a-half behind Pendrel, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world. Veteran rider Geoff Kabush (Victoria), a two-time Olympian, won a bronze medal in the men’s race.
Two Wheels in Paris: Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal rode down the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday, wrapping up his second straight Tour de France. Again, the two-time Olympian cracked the top-50. He finished in 49th spot, 1:14.03 behind the winner Alberto Contador, of Spain, who also won in 2007. Hesjedal helped his Garmin Slipstream teammate Bradly Wiggins finish fourth overall, just behind Lance Armstrong.
Shining in London: At the London Grand Prix athletics event, Canadians showed off their star power. First Gary Reed (Kamloops, B.C.) scored a huge victory in the 800 metres, winning gold in a time of 45.85 seconds. Fourth at the 2008 Olympic Games, Reed is aiming to be in peak form for the World Championships next month. Perdita Felicien nearly matched Reed’s gold medal but came up just short in a photo finish in the 100-metre hurdles. The Pickering, Ont. native took silver while teammate Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (Whitby, Ont.) was fifth.
One Long Plane Ride: Sixteen of Canada’s top men’s alpine skiers have flown across the world and touched down in New Zealand. There, at Coronet Peak near Queenstown, speed and technical skiers will hold an on-snow training camp. Under direction of head coach Paul Kristofic, they will concentrate on technical adjustments that make the difference in a sport won by milliseconds. Skiers will be eased back into racing form to avoid any potential injuries. Next month, the women’s team will come to New Zealand and some will compete in the country’s Winter Games Aug. 24 to 30.
Remembering Mark Leduc: The COC extends its sincere condolences to the family of Mark Leduc, an Olympic boxer from Toronto, who passed away on July 22. He was 47. Leduc captured a silver medal at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, in the light welterweight division. He is remembered as an excellent technical boxer, who understood the fine points of how to win a match. Leduc was also an outspoken gay athlete, coming out of the closet not long after the Olympic Games, an advocate and volunteer within the gay community. Leduc will be missed by the Canadian Olympic Team.
Backed by Barbados: Steve Stoute, president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees, said that Toronto has the backing of his Barbados Olympic Committee for the 2015 Pan American Games. He has said that he will promote Toronto 2015 to the Caribbean nations involved in the vote – which count 23 of 52 total votes. Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe are bidding against Lima, Peru and Bogota, Colombia for the Games.