Sport Shorts: Canadians Winning All Over the Map
Whitten Wows Cycling World: Edmonton cyclist Tara Whitten won a pair of gold medals at the World Track Championships over the weekend. She won the omnium event on Saturday before taking the women’s points race on Sunday. She finished ninth in pursuit earlier in the week. In the keirin race, Calgary’s Monique Sullivan was ninth.
Figure Skating Recap: By now you may have heard that Olympic champion ice dance duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (London, Ont.) won the world title on Friday. That caps an extraordinary year for them, one of the most successful ever in Canadian figure skating history. Their score of 224.23 points edged American rivals (and friends) Meryl Davis and Charlie White by 1.40 points. Teammates Vanessa Crone (Aurora, Ont.) and Paul Poirier (Unionville, Ont.) had an excellent result, finishing seventh after a strong free dance. Their efforts secured Canada a third ice dance team at the next World Championships.
One day earlier in Turin, Italy, Patrick Chan — Canada’s top men’s skater — won his second straight silver medal at a World Championships. The Toronto native returned to fine form after an injury suffered several months before the Olympic Winter Games. It is a triumphant end to what he called his most challenging season. Teammate Kevin Reynolds (Coquitlam, B.C.) finished 11th, a result that does the same for Canada as Crone and Poirier did.
On the women’s side, Cynthia Phaneuf (Contrecoeur, Que.) finished a very strong fifth, her best-ever international performance. In pairs, two Canadian teams finished in the top-10. Jessica Dube (Lively, Ont.) and Bryce Davison (Huntsville, Ont.) were sixth while Cody Hay (Edmonton) and Anabelle Langlois (Hull, Que.) were 10th.
Diving Season Kicks Off: Montreal’s Meaghan Benfeito kicked off the diving season by winning two bronze medals at a FINA World Series event in Qingdao, China. On Saturday she was third in 10-metre platform, and on Sunday she and Roseline Filion (Laval, Que.) were third in 10-metre synchro. Next up is an event in Mexico in two weeks.
Vicent Caps Career: Canadian speed skaters won silver medals on the men’s and women’s side at the short track World Team Championships yesterday in Bormio, Italy. Just eight elite nations were invited to participate. For one skater, Tania Vicent of Laval, Que., it marked the final race of her career. She retires with four Olympic relay medals in the sport, and helped blaze a trail of success for future Canadian stars. The 34-year-old said she has new projects on the horizon, including starting a family.
Canada Wins Rugby Event: In rugby sevens, a sport that will be added to the Olympic program in 2016, Canada topped all other countries at the Bowl Championship in Hong Kong. On Sunday, the men’s team defeated Wales 35-19 in front of 40,000 fans. Canada will next play rugby sevens in London and Edinburgh this May.
Biathlon Season Closes: In Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, four Canadian biathletes finished 12th in the mixed relay event to end the World Cup season. In the race, women twice complete a 3 km loop while the men race 7.5 km, with two rounds of shooting for each athlete. Canada’s representatives: Megan Tandy (Prince George, B.C.), Zina Kocher (Red Deer, Alta.), Jean-Philippe Le Guellec (Shannon, Que.) and Brendan Green (Hay River, N.W.T.).