Fri, September 20, 2013

Canadian synchro pair may miss out on Olympic medals

By LOUIS BUTCHER, QMI Agency


Canada's Marie-Pier Boudreau Gagnon and Elise Marcotte perform in the synchronised swimming duets technical routine qualification round during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre Sunday. (REUTERS)

A few little mistakes, which they will not have to correct Monday during the free routine, pushed Canadian swimmers Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon and Élise Marcotte to fourth place after the first round of the synchronized swimming competition.

The two athletes didn’t seem demoralized after their first attempt in the Olympic Park pool. But they probably wished for a more comfortable ranking.

Sunday’s technical routine counts for half of the general ranking Tuesday, for the duet finale.

Synchronized swimming is dominated by four countries, and Sunday was not different.

To not surprise, Russia, leader for the last ten years, was unmatched with 98.200 points, thanks to Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina.

Chinese Xuechen Huang and Ou Liu (96,100), Spain’s Ona Carbonell-Ballestero and Andrea Fuentes-Fache (96.000) followed. The Canadian duo scored 94.500 points.

Unless disaster strikes one of the top three teams, they will share the medals Tuesday.

“We were here to make ourselves known,” said Boudreau-Gagnon. “This result is satisfying since we performed as well as we did during our recent training sessions.”

The Rivière-du-Loup swimmer admitted to being quite stressed before she got into the pool.

“I was a bit nervous, but everything was fine. The important thing is that we were .500 points above our score in the world championships, earlier this year.”

There, the Canadian duo had ranked fourth.

“The good news is we are finished with the technical program,” admitted Marcotte. “We can now focus on the free routine.”

Out of the 24 countries in the competition, half will be eliminated after today’s free routine. The 12 qualified duets will perform the same program tomorrow, during the final.

Canada promised a very coloured show, based on the “king’s fool” theme, where everything is allowed.

“Not only do we want to wow the judges, we also want to surprise them,” said Julie Sauvé, Canada’s synchronized swimming coach.

“I am convinced we’ll even manage to make them laugh. We’ll win over the audience, we promise you,” Marcotte adds.

“Our main rivals now know our routine will be very daring and we made them doubt” Sauvé says.

Thanks to a favourable draft, the two Canadians will start from the 18th rank today.

Boudreau-Gagnon and Marcotte will attempt to bring back the first duet Olympic medal since twins Penny and Vicky Vilagos win silver in the 1992 Barcelona Games.

During her first Olympic Games, Boudreau-Gagnon finished the competition (along with Isabelle Rampling) in the sixth rank during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.