Sport Shorts: Snowboard Cross Starts With a Bang

Two of Three Ain’t Bad: Canadian snowboarders got off to a big start to the 2009 World Cup season, particularly in Saturday’s snowboard cross event in Chapelco, Argentina. Maëlle Ricker of Squamish, B.C. won the gold medal in her inaugural race. Dominique Maltais of Petite-Rivière Saint-Francois, Que. followed that up with a bronze medal in the electric sport that sees four snowboarders race down a course simultaneously. For the veteran Ricker, it was her 27th World Cup medal, 20 of them in snowboard cross. It is her 12th gold medal in World Cup races. The top Canadian man was Mike Robertson, who finished 6th.

Reed Makes His Mark: Six Canadian athletes competed at the World Athletics Final over the weekend in Thessaloniki, Greece. One of them stole away with a hard-earned medal. Victoria’s Gary Reed, Canada’s preeminent 800-metre runner, won silver, about a half-second behind a Kenyan gold medallist who set a Championship Record. Elsewhere, in 100-metre hurdles, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (Whitby, Ont.) and Perdita Felicien (Pickering, Ont.) finished 4th-5th; in shot put, Dylan Armstrong (Kamloops, B.C.) finished 8th; in 1,500 metres, Nathan Brannen (Cambridge, Ont.) was 9th; and in hammer throw Sultana Frizell was 6th.

Petitclerc’s Big Night: Special mention goes to Paralympic star Chantal Petitclerc. On Saturday night, she was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto. Petitclerc (Montreal) is an extraordinary wheelchair racer who has won 21 Paralympic medals. Last summer in Beijing, she won all five events she entered (100, 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 metres) while setting two world records.

Whitfield Eighth: Simon Whitfield is twice an Olympic medallist, once an Olympic champion and the owner of 12 World Cup wins. But the triathlete from Victoria has never won a World Championship, and it eluded him this year as well. On Saturday he swam, cycled and ran to eighth place – still an excellent result – in Sydney. Whitfield, 34, watched the medal ceremony where the gold went to 21-year-old British phenom Alistair Brownlee. Brent McMahon (Victoria) was 18th, Edmonton’s Paul Tichelaar was 20th and Kyle Jones (Oakville, Ont.) was 25th. Canada’s best result came in the under-23 race, where Edmonton’s Paula Findlay won the bronze medal.

Hesjedal Makes Cycling History: On Sept 11, Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal became the first Canadian ever to win a stage of the Tour of Spain. The two-time Olympian becomes only the second Canadian cyclist to win a Grand Tour stage, following Steve Bauer’s stage win in the 1988 Tour de France. Hesjedal had finished 2nd in the 10th stage last Tuesday.

Remembering Harry Kermode: Harry Kermode was a star basketball player first for the University of British Columbia and then for Team Canada. He donned national colours and played for Canada at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. He is a member of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. Kermode passed away on Aug. 19 at the age of 87. The Canadian Olympic Team would like to extend its condolences to his family.