Hayden hangs on for bronze

After missing the final in Beijing, Brent Hayden of Mission B.C. stepped up Wednesday night to find the podium in the 100m freestyle swimming final in a time of 47.80. The result marks a best-ever Olympic performance for Canada and the country’s sixth medal of the London 2012 Games.

“The best day of my life feels like the worst day of my life right now,” said Hayden. “I had the urge to kiss the starting block. I never knew I could love Lane 7 so much. I think tonight it was about just digging down deep, right into my soul. Emotionally and spiritually I had that extra push to get me beyond … it was all about finding my inner strength.”

In the 200m breaststroke semifinal, Martha McCabe of Toronto swam a 2:24.09 in her semifinal for 7th place and a chance to swim in the final Thursday night.

The women’s team of Barbara Jardin, Samantha Cheverton, Amanda Reason and Britanny MacLean finished 4th in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay – the best result ever for Canada in that event – in a time of 7:50.65.

Teammate Andrew Ford of Guelph, ON touched the wall in 2:01.58 in his 200m individual medlay semifinal finishing in 15th.

In the 100m freestyle semifinal Stratford, ON’s Julia Wilkinson swam to a 54.25 for a 13th. She swam a 54.16 in her preliminary heat. Her teammate Tobias Oriwol of Toronto clocked a 1:58.74 in his 200m backstroke semifinal for a 14th finish. Oriwol swam a 1:58.06 in his preliminary heat.

On the individual time trial course, Canadian Olympic icon Clara Hughes rode to a fifth place finish and covered the 29km course at Hampton Court Palace in 38:28.96. American Kristin Armstrong took the gold in 37:34.82. Teammate Denise Ramsden finished in 19th at 41:44.81. The men’s race saw Ryder Hesdejal come through in a mid-pack, 20th place finish, stopping the clock in 56:06.18 over the 44km course.

It was a tough day at the aquatics centre for four-time Olympian Alexandre Despatie and his 3m synchro springboard partner Reuban Ross. The pair finished in sixth position with 421.83 points. Despatie will go on to compete in the individual 3m competition Aug. 6.

Some drama on the Badminton competition has resulted in the Canadians’ favour. The women’s doubles team of Alexandra Bruce and Michelle Li will advance to the semifinals Thursday after winning a surprise quarter-final match against Australia 2-1. Competitors from China, Korea and Indonesia were forced to leave the competition for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” to avoid playing fellow countrymen before the final round.

The women’s basketball team moved to 1-2 after dropping a close one with France 60-64 in preliminary play. “I thought we executed the game plan perfectly,” said head coach Allison McNeill. “I thought our players played extremely hard. The pace is where we wanted, but too many free throws missed from the three point line and too many missed layups.  We’ll have to correct it for our next game”  The women will face Brazil (1-2) on Friday at 9:30 a.m. EST.

At ExCel, weightlifter  Marie-Eve Beauchemin-Nadeau, of Montreal, lifted a total of 239kg in the light heavyweight (69kg) class to finish eighth and finish her Olympic debut.

In Archery competition today, three-time Olympian Marie-Pier Beaudet of Lévis, QC. was eliminated from action by Louise Laursen of Switzerland 7-3.

In her second Olympic competition, Sandra Sassine of Chibougamau, QC. was eliminated by Aleksandra Socha of Poland in the round of 16 individual sabre event 15-7.

Judokos Alexandre Emond and Kelita Zupancic were eliminated from competiton in the men’s 90kg and women’s 70kg respectively.

Beach Volleyball
At Horse Guards Parade, the Canadian duo of Martin Reader and Josh Binstock lost to Brazil’s Ricardo Santos and Pedro Cunha 2-0. This gives the Canadians a 1-2 record to finish the preliminary stage.

As Sailing continues in Weymouth Zac Plavsic holds seventh position in the RS:X event with four races remaining. On the women’s side Nikola Girke stands in ninth spot with four races to go. Action continues tomorrow.