sport

Van Koeverden overcomes jet lag to advance in Nationals

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REGINA — Adam Van Koeverden of Oakville, Ont., advanced to the K-1 500 and 200-metre finals at the Sprint Nationals canoe and kayak championships Thursday.

In his K-1 500 heat, Van Koeverden clocked one minute 43.448 seconds to finish ahead of world championship teammate Angus Mortimer of Ottawa (1:43.448).

Van Koeverden won bronze in the event at the world championship in Poland on Saturday.

In his K-1 200 heat, Van Koeverden took top spot ahead of Hughes Fournel of Lachine, Que.  Ryan Cochrane of Windsor, N.S., and Andrew Willows of Carleton Place, Ont., were the victors in the other two heats.  “My goal this week is to race well and do my club proud,” said Van Koeverden, competing at his 14th Canadian championship for the Burloak Club. “I want to win the races I traditionally win.”

Van Koeverden didn’t use jet lag from his recent arrival from overseas as an excuse for performances this week.

“I try not to think about it too much,” he said. “There is no trick to getting over jet lag. I just try to manage my time and be as prepared as best as I can when I’m travelling. I’ve done this enough times in my career.”

In the C-1 500 heats, Olympic bronze medallist Thomas Hall of Pointe-Claire, Que., was first in the opening heat with Andrew Russell of Dartmouth, N.S., second while in the second race Richard Dalton of Halifax finished ahead of Mark Oldershaw of Oakville and Ben Russell of Dartmouth.  Emilie Fournel of Lachine, Que., took a women’s K-1 1,000 heat ahead of Una Lounder of Dartmouth and Kathleen Fraser of Mississauga, Ont.

Read entire article here.

McKeever strikes gold for Canada

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After the historic lost opportunity for Brian McKeever to race at the 2010 Olympics, becoming the first athlete ever to compete in both Olympic and Paralympic games, this is a very sweet result. A dominant victory to take some of the sting away from the disappointment from Whistler.

Andy Clark, Reuters Brian McKeever, left, claimed gold--Canada's first in the visually impaired 20-kilometre cross country freestyle event.

Paralympic Games: ‘It couldn’t fall to a more worthy person’
Terry Bell, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WHISTLER – The 2008 Olympics in Beijing had Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. The 2010 Olympics had Lindsay Vonn and a rather remarkable goal by Sidney Crosby.

The 2010 Winter Paralympics have Brian and Robin McKeever.

Brian McKeever, the 30-year-old legally blind Paralympic cross country skier/ biathlete from Canmore, Alta., is a major star at these Games, his star rising even higher after he had qualified for the Canadian Olympic cross-country team only to be denied a chance to compete by the team’s coaching staff.

Yesterday morning at Whistler Olympic Park, he laced up his boots and with the help of his brother Robin, who acts as his guide, won the men’s 20-kilometre freestyle visually impaired event . The gold medal is Canada’s first at these Games. As this is the first time Canada has hosted the Winter Paralympics, it also marks the first winter gold on Canadian soil.

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=2686762#ixzz0iP5FPIu4

Erik Guay takes Kvitfjell Super-G

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Free of the super hype surrounding Whistler and the Olympic races there, Guay took his place at the top of the podium today in Kvitfjell, Norway. As he said in interviews, he was .03 off the podium in Whistler and won today by .02. Ridiculously tight results. Other Canadians: Manny Osborne-Paradis finished 11th and Jan Hudec, 17th.

I’d like to see Erik bring his momentum to the World Cup finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen next week. Sentimental location for me, as that was where I taught skiing for a couple of seasons.

Erik Guay kept his slim hopes of claiming the men’s World Cup super-G title alive by taking victory in the event at Kvitfjell.

The Canadian clocked a time of one minute 31.95 seconds to claim his second ever World Cup race win and first in super-G.

Michael Walchhofer missed out on his chance to take an unassailable lead in the standings as the Austrian could only manage a sixth-placed finish.

Walchhofer’s compatriot Hannes Reichelt trailed Guay home by a mere 0.02 seconds.

Olympic star Aksel Lund Svindal, riding on home snow in Norway, shared third place with Swiss Tobias Gruenenfelder.

The result leaves Svindal 46 points behind Walchhofer in the super-G standings, with Guay a further 23 points adrift in third place.

Read the rest of this entry »

Majdic won bronze in XC sprint despite broken ribs, collapsed lung

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This is the most remarkable story of the Olympics to date. It’s unimaginable how a skier could compete at all in a sprint event like this, let alone win a bronze medal.

Posted by Meri-Jo Borzilleri

Turns out, Petra Majdic was more than just bruised when she won bronze in the individual classical sprint on Wednesday.

The Slovenian cross-country star was found to have broken four ribs and suffered a collapsed lung when she fell off course during a training run just before the race.

Majdic’s injuries will end not only her Olympics but her season. She has been hospitalized since the accident, and is not permitted to fly home for at least a week.

Her national team has filed a protest with Olympic organizers that there should have been more protection where she tumbled off the course, falling about 10 feet and onto some rocks.

Majdic, the world’s top-ranked sprinter, did not know how badly she was hurt until after the race.

Amazingly, she managed to capture a medal in the event that requires major lung exertion and hard poling by both arms and torso. In a sprint, skiers race in a small pack and go all out for a total four 1.4-kilometer loops on a hilly, technical course.

Majdic appeared in severe pain, crumpling each of the four times she crossed the finish. Her agony was so apparent that while on course, coaches from rival nations cheered her on, she said.

Read the entire article here.

History made by Canada’s XC skiers

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Amazing results from the Canadian trio of Babikov, Grey and Harvey.

Three skiers in the top nine. Just fantastic!

Canada's George Grey, right, comes to the aid of an exhausted Ivan Babikov after the pursuit on Saturday. (Javier Soriano/Getty Images)

Canada was the only country with three skiers in the top 10.

Ivan Babikov of Canmore, Alta., led the way, just 9.1 seconds back in fifth place.

National team veteran George Grey of Rossland, B.C., was eighth in 1:15.32, immediately followed by Alex Harvey of St-Ferreol-les-nieges, Que., in ninth place.

Harvey was 11 seconds behind Grey.

Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont. was 16th at 1:16.23.6. A total of 64 from around the world entered the competition.

The Canadians took turns flirting with the lead pack. Grey and Babikov were sitting sixth and seventh respectively at the 22.5k mark, with Harvey overtaking them for a while.

Canadian men have never reached the Olympic podium, but the performance was cause for hope.

To put it into perspective, the top trio of Canadians finished ahead of previous Olympic medallists Petter Northug of Norway, Dario Cologna of Switzerland and Pietro Piller Cotter of Italy.

Does it get better than speed skating gold?

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Only skiing gold would be better.

Christine Nesbitt’s gold has been the highlight of the Games so far for me. This medal will resonate like no other with the nations that founded the Winter Olympic Games. And yes, that matters in the world of Olympic competition. See the orange Dutch uniforms on either side of her? That colour composition will matter to the Dutch, the Norwegians, the Germans, and to all the other countries who value the tradional core sports of the Games so highly.

Congrats to Chrstine!

DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

Of the seven medals won by Canadians thus far, five have been won by women, including two of the three gold medals.

You can discuss among yourselves the significance of those numbers. But, for the Canadian Olympic Committee, it means any thought of owning the podium is inexorably tied up with the XX-chromosome set.

“They’re fierce competitors,” said Marcel Lacroix, the Canadian speedskating coach who works with Nesbitt specifically and Kristina Groves, Clara Hughes and others generally. “They’re going for the kill. Yeah, they’re girls and all that.

“But you know what? Deep down inside they want to win as much as the guys. Put a hockey stick in their hands and I can guarantee they’re going to go into the corners and plow someone. That’s how bad they want to win.”

And in Nesbitt’s mind, that’s how she won.

Vancouver Sun

Alexandre Bilodeau wins historic first gold!!

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Canada breaks the home soil Gold medal drought. The dedication he has shown to his brother is what makes this so meaningful. Congratulations Alex!!

Canadian Press

Bilodeau’s older brother, Frederic, who has cerebral palsy, was at the finish line and cheering wildly for his younger sibling. Bilodeau was close to tears when he spoke to CTV about his brother and his family.

“A lot,” he said when asked how much of his historic medal belongs to Frederic. “It’s really getting me right now. My brother is my inspiration. Growing up with handicapped people puts everything back in perspective and he taught me so many things in life. My parents did, too.”

His father Serge Bilodeau says he knew right away that Alex’s run was a winner.

“It is not possible to describe, but I knew it before. I knew it was the best. I have followed the sport for 12 years. I know the sport so well and I knew when he crossed the finish line that it was the best run and no one could beat it.”

Read the entire article here.

Manny wins Val Gardena

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DECEMBER 19,2009

Manuel Osborne-Paradis won for the second time early in the 2009-’10 World Cup season, taking the classic Saslong downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, on Saturday (Dec. 19).

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus, who won the Bombardier Lake Louise Winterstart super-G last month, is the first Canadian to win twice in a season since Thomas Grandi won two giant slalom races in three days in December 2004.

“Before Christmas normally I don’t ski that well,” Osborne-Paradis said in an Alpine Canada Alpin statement. “But I have been getting better and I am figuring out these courses more and more, just becoming so much more confident on every course.”

“This is the first year that I have had a game plan on every course before I have got here, just with the experience that I have. I have put in my time and now it’s just paying off with me being able to know the courses,” he said.

Osborne-Paradis, the ninth racer of the day to leave the start hut, won with a time of two minutes, 01.27 seconds. Austria’s Mario Scheiber put up the day’s greatest challenge to the Canadian, finishing 13 hundredths of a second behind. Ambrosi Hoffmann of Switzerland was third in 2:01.52.

Osborne-Paradis now has eight career World Cup podium results and has become the fifth Canadian male alpine ski racer with more than two career World Cup wins.

Read full article here.

A day of extremes at Lake Louise

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Manny Osborne-Paradis won his first World Cup Super G today in Lake Louise while team leader John Kucera was airlifted off the mountain with a broken leg that will almost certainly keep him out of the upcoming 2010 Games.

Photograph by: Andy Clark, Reuters

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — John Kucera’s 2010 Olympic dream likely ended in a high-speed crash Sunday during the super-G slalom at the Bombardier Winterstart World Cup.

The 25-year-old Calgarian, one of the favourites in the race, suffered a broken left leg when he went off the steepest part of the course as he attempted to complete a C-turn and crashed into a catch net.

He was airlifted off the mountain by helicopter and transported by ground ambulance to Banff hospital for X-rays. An Alpine Canada spokesman revealed that Kucera’s injury will require surgery but didn’t specify which bone was broken.

“It’s a tough day . . . I mean it’s a good day but a tough day,” frowned a concerned teammate Jan Hudec when he learned of the extent of the injury. “He was skiing so good . . .”

The good day were first-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes for the seven-man Canadian team.

Read the whole article here.

Hermann Maier Ends His Storied Ski Racing Career

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One of the greatest of all time calls it a career …

flachau_hermann_maier_04

By Patrick Lang

A week prior the start of the next alpine World Cup season one of the greatest legends of the sports surprisingly announced his decision to retire from the ski tour.

Double Olympic champion Hermann Maier, who turns 37 in December, informed the amazed Austrian reporters gathered at the last minute in Wien by his press agent and the Austrian Ski Federation that he had decided to end his career as one of the leading heroes of the sports after overcoming another series of health problems.
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“I just felt that it was time to retire as I felt fully healthy again. I’m closing an important chapter in my life but I’m sure that there will be many more exciting moments to face from now on.”

maier naganoMaier exploded on the ski scene in February 1997 a month after breaking a hand in a downhill crash at Chamonix in surprisingly beating all top-favorites in a Super-G race at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He became a world star a year later at the 1998 Winter Olympics clinching two gold medals only a few days after a horrendous crash in downhill. He was nicknamed “The Herminator” afterwards by his colleagues, the press and his numerous fans from all over the world because of his incredible determination and his reckless racing tactics.

He won two more gold medals at the 1999 World Championships at Vail/Beaver Creek, in Colorado, and kept on dominating the scene until 2001, winning a total of 13 races that season. In March 2000, he captured his second overall World Cup title with a record of 2000 points.

Unfortunately he suffered a terrible motorbike accident in August 2001 and was lucky to survive it after a series of operations. After working very hard during his rehabilitation, he celebrated an incredible comeback in 2003, winning the treacherous Super-G race at Kitzbühel and a silver medal at the World Championships at St Moritz.

Read the entire article here.

Tyson Gay equals second fastest men’s 100 time

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tyson gay 9.69

Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:10pm IST
By Liu Zhen and Nir Elias

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Former world champion Tyson Gay equalled the second fastest 100 metres time ever on Sunday when he clocked 9.69 seconds at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix.

Gay’s time equalled the world record set by Jamaican Usain Bolt when he won the 100 metres final at last year’s Beijing Olympics.

Bolt reduced his mark to 9.58 seconds at this year’s Berlin world championships with Gay second in 9.71.

Gay, who has been suffering from a strained groin, told reporters he would be more motivated to challenge Bolt’s world record when he was fully fit.

“I’m not too motivated because I’ve not been fully healthy …I ran my run so well even though my groin hurts,” he said.

Read the entire article here.

Kootenay Rockies Film Festival announced

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rossland mountain film festival

In Rossland, winter promises a flurry of skiers and snowboarders not just on the slopes, but on the big screen as well. Cued to roll November 19 – 22, the 10th annual Rossland Mountain Film Festival will usher locals and visitors alike into screening rooms throughout town for four days of film, visual arts, music and multi-media productions.

Screening work from up-and-coming Kootenay filmmakers, photographers and visual artists (think: reel upon reel set to immortalize a region where powder is king), this marquee event kicks off Thursday with cool beats and plenty of libations during a gala gathering in the town’s Old Fire Hall. Friday follows with screenings for all ages, and late night festivities for the older set, complete with feature films and a live band.

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Segger reaches Mile 0 in Victoria in four days

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This is a phenomenal achievement, especially if you consider the route she took down Vancouver Island.

segger salomonYesterday, for example, Segger ran the West Coast trail in a single day!! This is a hike that seasoned hikers consider a grueling week-long trek. Congratulations Jen!! Just amazing.

From Jen Seggers’s twitter account …

JenSegger:

is so thankful for everyone’s support! Now….off to bed and shower. Its been a long 4 days, time for some zzzzz’s
about 2 hours ago from web

DONE!!!! The Vancouver Island Quest is finished as of 5:48am this morning!
about 2 hours ago from web

Pain Contest

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Leaving the dock

I’m especially interested in the article below because I did a feature last summer on the Canadian Men’s Eight and their Erg (ergometer/indoor rowing machine) training called “Pain Contest”.

Here’s the video about the Beijing gold-medal winning crew; below is an article about a sensational Danish rower who has broken the world record on the Erg twice this year …

Erg versus water, that is the question
26/08/2009

The indoor rowing machine, or ergometer, love or loath it, the machine has become a vital training tool for rowers. Today at the 2009 World Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland, world record holder on the erg, Henrik Stephansen raced on the water. Denamark Lightweight Double

Coming from Denmark, Stephansen is part of a rowing programme that does not always have the luxury of rowing on the water. It is often too cold and sometimes too rough. So Danish Rowing has adapted by training indoors. Earlier this year lightweight athlete Stephansen went under six minutes over 2000m on the indoor rowing machine. His time of 5:58.5 set a World Record that was previously thought unachievable.

Read the entire article here.

Gary’s nemesis

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With Victoria’s Gary Reed recently coming off a big victory in the 800m at the Grand Prix of London, all eyes should be on him. But it’s his rival yego and reedand defending 2007 World Champion Alfred Kirwa Yego (photo left) who is still getting the headlines. I’m sure that’s just fine by the Canadian 800m champion. He probably wants nothing more than to focus on taking back that 1/100 of a second he gave up to Yego in the last Worlds.

This is the kind of press Yego is getting …

Ready when it counts – Yego knows when to come good
Saturday, 08 August 2009

Yego has developed the rewarding habit of rising to the occasion, dating back to the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships, when he left a number of more highly-rated opponents trailing in his wake to take the silver in a then personal best of 1:47.39.

After winning the World title in 1:47.09, winning by a single hundredths-of-a-second from Canada’s Gary Reed, yego reed 2he completed his collection of medals on the global stage when he took the bronze in last summer’s Olympic Games.

The place on the Beijing podium that proved to all his critics after Osaka that, even if gold medal went to his compatriot Wilfred Bungei, he was not just a streak of lightning down the home straight that only struck once.

Read the full article here.

Remember, it was Yego who denied Reed the gold in 2007, and it was Yego again who denied Reed the podium in Beijing last summer. Should be a great rematch.

The initials “JO”

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The World Athletics championships are coming up fast and I spotted this interesting detail just now …

jesse-owens-1936-olympics

American athletes will wear the initials “JO” on their uniforms in honor of iconic hero Jesse Owens, who defied onlooking Adolf Hitler in the same stadium by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

“These World Championships are special,” said USA Track chief executive Doug Logan. “It’s Team USA’s chance to come back strong in the post-Olympic year and it’s an opportunity to honor the incredible legacy of Jesse Owens.

Read full article here.

The Worlds will run from August 15-23 in Berlin.

Watch out for Gary Reed, hot off a Grand Prix of London victory in the 800m.

Speed skiers on snow in NZ

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osborne paradis

The Olympic season began in earnest for members of Canada’s alpine ski teams last week, with the men’s team training on the snow at Coronet Peak, near Queenstown, New Zealand.

Whistler’s Manuel Osborne-Paradis, who won the first World Cup downhill race of his career in Kvitfjell, Norway last season is one of the 16 ski racers at the high-intensity camp.

“Obviously everyone knows what’s at stake this year with the Olympics in Whistler. And this is the beginning of the process,” said the 24-year-old Osborne-Paradis, a 2006 Olympian who has six career World Cup podium results. “I have actually never been to New Zealand and so I am looking forward to getting there and getting back on the snow.”

Read full article on Pique

The men’s team is highlighted by John Kucera who won the gold medal in the men’s downhill at the World Championships in Val D’Isere, France during the month of February. At the same competition, Jan Hudec fell and injured his knee. After surgery and recovery, Hudec, along with teammates Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Erik Guay will all be training over the summer.

vanderbeekTechincal skier Michael Janyk will be attending the camp after winning a bronze medal, Canada’s first ever World Championship technical medal, also in Val D’Isere.

The ladies team will be headlined by Britt Janyk, Geneviève Simard, Emily Brydon and Kelly VanderBeek, all of whom have earned World Cup podium finishes.

Read full article on ctvolympics.ca

Snubbed Down Under

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The Aussies are playing hardball with the Canadian Freestyle team’s summer training grounds down under …

mogulsIt’s become a mean old sporting world out there as countries scrap for every advantage heading towards the 2010 Winter Olympics.

There’s been plenty of griping from other nations as Canada has tried to protect its home-field advantage in Vancouver.

Some competitors are practicing a little payback. It turns out the Canadian moguls team has been denied the opportunity do on-snow training in Australia the past two summers.

Canada’s Alex Bilodeau will duke it out with Australia’s Dale Begg-Smith at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

The Aussies wanted unlimited access to the 2010 Olympic moguls site at Cypress Mountain, near Vancouver, in exchange for letting the Canadians continue to train at their site in Perisher.

Australia’s big hope for 2010 is B.C. native and defending Olympic champion Dale Begg-Smith, an Aussie by convenience who lives 20 minutes from Cypress.

The Canadians weren’t about to cave in to those demands with the best men’s moguls team in the world, including reigning World Cup champion in Alex Bilodeau, who tore up the circuit with Begg-Smith on the sidelines after tearing up his knee.

This has potential to be a great duel at the 2010 Games.

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Cochrane glides to 1500m silver

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cochrane

Ryan Cochrane of Victoria, B.C., earned his second medal of the world swimming championships on Sunday with a second-place finish in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle event.

Cochrane was in and out of the lead during his 14 minute, 41.38 second swim before finally finishing second behind Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, who finished in 14:37.28.

China’s Sun Yang took the bronze.

“It was unexpected by how, well, frankly how easy it was in the first half. That always feels good,” said Cochrane, who won bronze in the 1,500 at the Beijing Olympics.

“In Beijing last year it was a pretty hard final to make, so I knew it was going to hurt going into the finals and it did,” Cochrane said.

The pain was worth it as Cochrane, who also won bronze in the 800 on Wednesday, secured a third swimming medal for the national team and the country’s ninth medal overall at the event.

Vancouver’s Annamay Pierse earned silver in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke on Friday. Canada also won three diving medals, two in synchronized swimming and a silver in women’s water polo.

CTVOlympics.ca

London Grand Prix win for Gary Reed

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This one fits into the “better late than never” category but it’s impossible to pass over Gary Reed’s success at the London Grand Prix from a week ago.

For background, see this feature about Gary

Canada’s Reed scores big track win

Gary Reed of Kamloops, B.C., fought off international competition Friday night to win the 800 metres at the London Grand Prix.

John Gichigi/Getty Images
John Gichigi/Getty Images

Reed finished in a time of one minute, 45.85 seconds to earn the big win just a few weeks ahead of the world championships in Berlin.

“The race was great, I am thrilled to get the win,” Reed said in an email to The Canadian Press. “It’s very important to be in the mix heading into the world championships.”

Reed is looking to improve on his showing at the Beijing Olympics, where his finishing kick came just a hair too late in a fourth-place finish.

CBC Sports

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And to get completely caught up, check out this article …

Banner weekend for Island athletes: Kabush, Cochrane, Hesjedal, Whitfield and Reed soar, Times Colonist

Because of certain advantages, such as the year-round mild climate and the national training centres based here, it is in the summer sports season where the Island shows its best …