Sport Shorts: The Ascent of Lopes-Schliep

Second in the World: The pride of Whitby, Ontario decided to make her mark on the athletics scene last summer at the Beijing Olympic Games. Priscilla Lopes-Schliep reached the final in the 100-metre hurdles and didn’t settle for just being there. She blasted over the hurdles, reached her head forward at the finish line and a video replay confirmed she had won a bronze medal. It proved a very important race, as it was Canada’s sole Olympic medal in athletics.

This season has been the ascent of Lopes-Schliep. After many races around the world – including first-place at Toronto’s Festival of Excellence – she has been at or near the top the full season. Yesterday, for the first time in Lopes-Schliep’s career, she was one of the favourites to capture a medal in a top world meet.

There, at the World Championships in Berlin, she ran a time of 12.54 seconds and won a silver medal in her first-ever World Championship final. The race was won by Jamaican Brigitte Foster-Hylton in 12.51 seconds – which happens to be Lopes-Schliep’s career best time posted less than three weeks ago in Stockholm. Lopes-Schliep is right now the brightest star on the Canadian athletic landscape. In that World Championship yesterday, her teammate Perdita Felicien (Pickering, Ont.) suffered a cramp in her calves early in the race but persevered to finish in 15.53 seconds.

Reed is Fastest Thus Far: This morning, Victoria’s hard-working specialist Gary Reed began his road to a possible World Championship medal in the 800 metres. In the qualification heats, Reed posted a time of 1:45.76, which was the fastest out of all 48 runners who finished. Two years ago at this event, he claimed the silver medal – his big breakthrough. The following year, Reed finished fourth at the 2008 Olympic Games. Reed is known for his incredible work ethic; for him, the cliché « lives and breathes » track would not be an overstatement.

New Director for Summer Sports: Own the Podium, which helps drive Canada’s pursuit of excellence in high performance sport, has named a new director for its summer sport program. Taking the helm is Anne Merklinger, who has spent more than 40 years in Canadian sport. First a national team swimmer, Merklinger went on to become a successful curler (four Ontario titles and two Tournament of Hearts final appearances). And for the past 15 years, she has been director general of CanoeKayak Canada. She will now help direct the development of athletes in the run-up to London 2012.

Rowers Ready: In three days, the 2009 World Rowing Championships will take place in Poznan, Poland. They run August 23 to 30 and Canadian rowers will look to build on the momentum of four medals won last summer at the Beijing Olympic Games. Canada’s full team for this competition can be found at . For information on the World Championships, visit .