Canadian Roundup: Rio test success and winter World Cup openers
Feature photo: Cameron Smedley in action at Rio 2016 canoe/kayak slalom test event.
A mix of summer and winter sports brought Canada success over the weekend.
Some summer athletes wrapped up their season while others were in Rio testing the waters – literally. Meanwhile, several winter sports slid into the World Cup season. Here are some Team Canada weekend results:
At a Rio 2016 test event in the canoe/kayak slalom, Cameron Smedley won a bronze medal in the C1 competition behind David Florence (Great Britain) and Takuya Haneda (Japan). Florence is a London 2012 (C2 class) and Beijing 2008 (C1) two-time Olympic silver medallist.
Smedley won Pan Am Games silver at Toronto 2015 this past summer at the Minden Wild Water Preserve in Ontario. The Canadian called his experience at the Olympic Whitewater Stadium in Rio de Janeiro over the weekend an “eye opener” for what he is capable of doing at the Games next August. “Being here training and competiting on the Olympic course has really got me excited for next year.”
Some of the best-ever Canadian gymnasts were in Denmark over the last week competing at the world championships in trampoline. Canada experienced tough results in Olympic events, with one highlight being London 2012 gold medallist Rosie MacLennan narrowly finishing out of the podium in fourth, yet giving Canada a spot for Rio 2016 by making the final.
In non-Olympic events Canada won two medals in men’s (silver) and women’s (gold) double mini team contests.
Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz won the opening World Cup race of the year in Altenberg, Germany, setting a track record on their way to dominating the women’s competition, beating the field by nearly three quarters of a second – which feels like an eternity in sliding sports.
At the last Grand Prix of the season before the finals, vegan-powered Meagan Duhamel and partner Eric Radford won pairs gold in Nagano, Japan, despite having uncharacteristic trouble with some of their elements. Their next competition will be at the Grand Prix Finals in Barcelona in the second week of December.
The biathlon World Cup season opened with a (single) mixed relay medal for Team Canada via Rosanna Crawford and Nathan Smith in Östersund, Sweden. Crawford and Smith – who had a breakthrough season last year – finished second to Norway while beating Germany for second place. The single mixed relay is a non-Olympic format. At Sochi 2014, a mixed relay was introduced with two women and two men representing each country.
Cross country skiing
Cross country skiing star Alex Harvey has picked things up where he left off after his success last season, winning his first career World Cup medal before Christmas. The two-time Olympian glided to a skate-ski silver in Finland in the opening weekend of the World Cup season.
The first races of the new luge World Cup season saw a familiar face on the podium Saturday, with Alex Gough taking third place in Igls, Austria at the Innsbruck 1976 Olympic track.