Early bronze a big lift

In Beijing, in 2008, it took Canada nine days to win a medal. In London? Just two.

On Sunday, Émilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel nailed down a bronze in 3m synchro diving, making Heymans the only female diver to win a medal in four Olympic Games and set the stage for Canada to carry some big momentum into the early days of these Games.

“It’s awesome, I’m really happy that I was able to win my fourth medal with Jennifer,” said Heymans, 30, of her diving partner and fellow Montrealer. “We’ve worked hard together for the last two years.”

The pair collected a score of 316.80 for the bronze, putting them behind silver medallists from the U.S. and gold-medal winners from China.

“I am so happy, but the feeling has of not sunk in yet,” said Abel, 20.

The early medal resonated with Canada’s Assistant Chef de Mission, Olympic gold medallist diver Sylvie Bernier, who emphasized the importance of giving a lift to new Olympic teammates.

“The first medal is very special because it gives a boost to the whole team,” said Bernier. “It shows the whole team: ‘Yes we can do this.’”

Both Abel and Heymans will compete individually in the Women’s 3m springboard event on Aug. 3.

Toronto’s Brittany MacLean set a new national record in the 400m freestyle heats with a time of 4:05.06 en route to the final Sunday, where she finished 7th.

Charles Francis swam to a 15th place finish in the men’s semifinals of the men’s 100m backstroke after putting down a 54.08 in his heat for his place in that race.

In the men’s 200m freestyle, Blake Worsley won his heat in a time of 1:48.14 but did not advance to the semifinal round.

Sinead Russell and Julia Wilkinson both advanced through their heats and into the 100m backstroke semifinal Sunday but did not make the final finishing 16th and 9th respectively. Wilkinson missed the chance to swim in the final by .09 seconds.

In the 100m breaststroke, Tera Van Beilen had a swim-off for her chance to reach the final and did not advance. Jillian Tyler advanced to the semifinal and finished 14th with a 1:07.87

In her sixth Olympic Games, Clara Hughes did not deliver the kind of finish she wanted with 32nd spot on a very wet, rainy course at Box Hill in the 140km the women’s road race. Her teammate Joelle Numainville crossed the line in 12th place while Denise Ramsden was 27th. Hughes will compete in the individual time trial on Aug. 1.

At Eton Dorney, the women’s eight crew won its heat to advance to the final on Thursday. “The race for medals is the one that counts,” said Darcy Marquardt. “Today we got into that race successfully.”  Patricia Obee and Lindsay Jennerich moved into repechage 1 after finishing fifth in lightweight doubles skulls. In men’s doubles skulls, David Calder and Scott Frandsen advanced to repechage 2 after winning the first repechage round Sunday.

In men’s boxing, Custio Clayton defeated Mexico’s Oscar Molina Casillas 12-8 in the welterweight division. “It was an amazing fight,” said the boxer from Dartmouth, NS. We had a strategy and it worked perfectly.” Clayton moves on to fight Cameron Hammond of Australia Aug. 3.

Langley, B.C’s Dorothy Ludwig did not advance in 10m pistol after earning 34th spot and collecting 376 points. Still, the shooter was satisfied with her performance. “I’m pleased and especially happy about dealing with the pressure,” she said. Ludwig’s father, Bill Hare, took part in the 1964 1968 1972 Olympic Games in the free pistol events.

Toronto’s Sasha Mehmedovic was eliminated from Judo competition Sunday after losing to Masashi Ebinuma of Japan. “I was calm and ready,” he said. “In the second round I got surprised. He changed his strategy and that unfortunately ended my day.”

In Fencing action, Montreal’s Philippe Beaudry was eliminated in the individual Sabre competition by Dmitri Lapkes of Belarus. “I had a good start, said Beaudry. “But my opponent adjusted his strategy and he won the fight.”

Table Tennis
In Table Tennis action Sunday, Mo Zhang beat to Melek Hu of Turkey  4-3 and went on to play Li Qiangbing of Austria. Zhang was eliminated from competition after dropping that match 4-1.

Tyler Bjorn and Richard Clarke sit in 10th place after Day 1 in their Finn boat while Greg Douglas earned 20 spot in Finn class on Day 1.

Canadians Jessica Phoenix and Rebecca Howard competed in dressage on Day 2 of the three-day eventing competition, contributing to a current team ranking of 11th.

Canoe/Kayak – Slalom
In preliminary competition, Michael Tayler did not advance in the men’s K-1 slalom. “It’s tough,” he said. “It did not go exactly as I had planned, but at the end of the day it was a pretty good experience.”

Artistic Gymnastics
After the first day of competition at North Greenwich Arena, the women’s artistic Gymnastics team advanced in the team all-around — the first time ever a Canadian women’s team has qualified for the team final.

Beach Volleyball
Marie-Andrée Lessard and Annie Martin faced host nation Great Britain Sunday at Horse Guards parade. The Quebec pair 2-1.

The lone Canadian managing to get a match in on a rainy Sunday at Wimbledon was Vasek Pospisil who lost to David Ferrer of Spain 6-4, 6-4.