Nanjing 2014: McNamara twins and Philippe Gagné collect silver medals
Beach volleyball’s Megan and Nicole McNamara had to settle for silver today after taking a strong Brazilian team to three sets, 21-17, 13-21, 14-16. Ana Patricia Silva and Eduarda Lisboa overpowered the Canadians for gold.
The Vancouver sisters took the first set by frustrating 6’4″ Ana Patricia who received the bulk of Canada’s serves. In the second set, the Brazilians combined excellent defence from Lisboa and powerful hitting from Silva to even the match at one set a side.
“The second set we got really tense and nervous but then in the timeout we re-grouped. In the third set we decided, let’s just have fun and try our best,” said Nicole after receiving her medal.
That relaxed approach seemed to work, at least at the beginning of the third set. Canada grabbed a 4-1 lead early, but Brazil would counter and the teams remained only a point apart for much of the final frame. Silva and Lisboa earned an on-serve match point with a 14-13 lead, but the McNamaras used a timeout and a heavy cross-court drive to quickly tie the game at 14. However, Brazil would not be denied with their second opportunity, taking the gold medal in 42 minutes.
“We had a great comeback to win the second and third sets. We will celebrate tonight and then go home and celebrate with our families. This is an unbelievable feeling,” said 16 year-old Lisboa in an FIVB release.
For their part, the 17 year-old twins were resilient against Lisboa, who won gold at the under-19 world championship with another partner. Megan and Nicole were bronze medallists at that tournament.
“We learned that we are able to compete with the best in the world, we just need to get in the gym, get stronger and be ready for next year,” said Megan.
At the natatorium, diver Philippe Gagné added a silver in 10m platform to his 3m springboard bronze from Sunday.
China’s Yang Hao completed the diving double, winning gold with a dominant 665.90 points. Gagné’s score of 531.70 placed him a comfortable second, ahead of 3m silver medallist Rodrigo Diego Lopez of Mexico who scored 512.75.
The 16 year-old Montreal native was 6th entering finals, with four dives from the preliminaries carrying into the evening. Gagné was much better with his remaining five opportunities. “I was very consistent compared to prelims which was a little bit up and down. In finals I decided to go one dive at a time,” he said.
Gagné described his medal on 3m as a factor in lowering his stress level tonight. In fact, that fixation may still be impacting one of Canada’s best young male divers, “I’m really happy about this second medal, in my mind I didn’t get a second medal, I just got the bronze,” said Gagné, referring to his Sunday performance.
Perhaps later he’ll start believing it. He is Canada’s only multiple medallist at these Youth Olympic Games. Tuesday’s medals are Canada’s sixth and seventh in Nanjing, (three silver, four bronze). Canada has not won a gold medal but men’s field hockey will contest the top spot against Australia on the final day of competition Wednesday.