“Medal Madness Monday” nets four canoe/kayak medals at TO2015
The announcer at the Welland International Flatwater Centre called it “Medal Madness Monday” and that’s exactly what Team Canada delivered in Pan Am canoe/kayak on Day 3.
The biggest winners of the day wearing a maple leaf suit were the canoeists in Canada’s C-2 1000m men’s boat paddled by Benjamin Russell and Gabriel Beauchesne-Sevigny. The pair rewarded the home fans’ commitment and outmuscled the opposition with smooth strokes from lane seven in a time of 3:46.316, ahead of Brazil (3:47.117) and Cuba (3:49.932).
Beauchesne-Sevigny said it “feels amazing, feels so good” to win at home. “My parents, my family, everyone’s in the stands, so it’s very nice to keep the race plan we built up from the World Cup. It feels great.”
Russell admitted that they knew Pan Am gold was in play and that the home advantage was huge. “We knew coming into the race that if we had our best effort then there would be results. We really started hurting the last 200 (metres), especially the last 100, but the crowd was incredible. They brought us home.”
Canada’s silver medal from the day came via kayaker Michelle Russell (no relation to Benjamin, though they’re both from Halixax) in K-1 500m. In the individual race Yusmari Mengana of Cuba won in 2:00.656, only 1.725 seconds ahead of Russell, while Ana Paula Vergutz of Brazil (2:03.329) was third.
Earlier in the day Adam van Koeverden got things going with a bronze medal in the men’s K-1 1000m. Then Team Canada flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony, Mark Oldershaw, followed van Koeverden with a canoe silver in C-1 1000m.
Oldershaw wasn’t thrilled to come second at home, but continued to keep an upbeat attitude.
“Obviously I wanted the gold, I wanted to do it for Canada right here at home,” Oldershaw said, but it feels great to get a medal.”
“The Pan Am games have been amazing so far; to get a silver medal, I’m pretty proud of that, but… I’m still a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to a gold.”
The canoeist won multiple World Cup medals this season, married fellow Olympian Annamay Pierse (who is expecting their first child) and led Team Canada to the Opening Ceremony as flag bearer. Oldershaw still has a World Championship ahead of him this summer.
All told Canada took for medals from five races on Monday, the K-2 100m boat belonging to Brady Reardon and Andrew Jessop finishing off the podium in fifth, though they were only 0.622 seconds behind bronze.
The Pan Am canoe/kayak competition will end on Tuesday with six finals. Canada will have a representative in each of the finals, including two chances for world champion Mark de Jonge to find the podium in Welland’s picturesque and loud paddling venue.