Mon, September 23, 2013

Canadian Olympic notes

By QMI Agency


Brent McMahon at the Pan American Games in Puerto Vallarta October 23, 2011. (REUTERS/Sergio Moraes, file)

Triathlete Brent McMahon was a team player Sunday.

Although McMahon, a 31-year-old from Victoria, B.C., finished well off the podium in Sunday's World Championship Series race in Madrid, his 24th-place showing was enough to ensure that three Canadian men will race in the triathlon at the London Olympics.

McMahon needed to beat Joao Pererira of Portugal to lock up the third spot for Canada. Pereira finished 28th.

"At the end of the day, I needed to be one spot ahead of him -- that was the mathematics," McMahon said. "The plan was to do what I do and run well off a hard bike. I didn't run as fast as I wanted to, but I ran well enough and got the job done to secure the third spot for Canada."

Two-time Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield of Victoria and Kyle Jones of Oakville, Ont., earned Canada's first two spots earlier this month.

Jonathan Brownlee of Britain won the men's race with a time of 1:51:49 while Russia's Alexander Bryukhankov took the silver medal in 1:52:28. Dmitry Polyanskiy, also of Russia, rounded out the podium after clocking a time of 1:52:54.

Nicola Spirig of Switzerland won the women's race while two Canadians, Chantell Widney of Edmonton and Sarah-Anne Brault of Winnipeg finished 41st and 43rd, respectively. Lauren Campbell of Vancouver did not finish.

ROWERS ON TARGET

Canadian rowers won three medals at the World Cup rowing event Sunday in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The Canadian women's eight and men's pair rowed to silver medals while the men's eight got bronze. A fourth Canadian boat, the lightweight men's double, finished one spot off the podium.

"We are on track of reaching our medal potential goal," Rowing Canada high performance director Peter Cookson said. "We've seen improvement in some of the boats, and with the weeks of solid training coming up, leading up to London, we will be in shape for the Games."

The U.S. edged out the Canadian women's eight in a photo finish, winning by three-hundredths of a second, while the Canadian men's pair of Scott Frandsen and David Calder were overtaken by favoured New Zealand in the second half of the race. The men's eight finished behind Germany and Great Britain.

LUCKY 13TH FOR COCKBURN

Three-time Olympian Karen Cockburn of Toronto tuned up for her fourth appearance in the Games by winning the 13th Canadian trampoline title of her career.

Cockburn, who has won three Olympic medals, finished well ahead of runner-up Samantha Smith of Vancouver with a personal-best score during the Canadian gymnastics championships in Regina.

"This was definitely a step towards London," Cockburn said. "I feel like I'm right on track and I'm not getting too stressed out with the Games getting closer. I feel like I'm in a really great place right now. My routines are set and now I'm fine tuning trying to get more execution points and more flight time points."

In men's trampoline, Toronto's Jason Burnett delivered a clean routine to win his seventh Canadian title. He'll be chasing his second Olympic medal at the London Games.

MCCOOMBS BOOKS TICKET

Jason McCoombs of Dartmouth, N.S., edged out Aaron Rublee of Kamloops, B.C., to paddle his way onto the Canadian Olympic team.

McCoombs finished sixth in the C-1 200-metre race at the World Cup event in Duisberg, Germany, Sunday while Rublee was ninth. He finished ahead of Rublee in two of the last three races to punch his ticket to London.

"It feels pretty surreal right now," 19-year-old McCoombs said. "My focus in the race was to have a great start and stay as close to the front in the first 100. The aspect I've improved the most this year is my last half and I think that's what showed today."

In the K-2 200, Hughes Fournel of Dorval, Que., and Ryan Cochrane of Windsor, N.S., took another step towards making the Olympic team by finishing fifth.

THREE DIVERS QUALIFY

A trio of Quebec-based divers will find out Monday if their performances at the Olympic diving trials Sunday in Montreal will be enough to get them to the Games.

Roseline Filion of Laval, Que., and Meaghan Benfeito of Montreal grabbed the two nominations in the women's 10-metre tower and Francois Imbeau-Dulac of St-Lazare, Que., took a spot in the men's three-metre as the Olympic trials wrapped up.

Filion won the 10-metre tower event with 724.85 points while Benfeito, ranked fourth in the world, was third with 708.70 points. Second-place finisher Carol-Ann Ware of Otterburn Park, Que., didn't have enough international points to bump Filion.

"There's probably not a competition that's more stressful than the Olympic trials," Filion said. "The margin of error is very small and that's why I'm so happy with my performance. I was consistent but consistent at a higher level with stronger scores."

Imbeau-Dulac was first in the men's three-metre with 922.95 points, beating out 2008 Olympian Reuben Ross of Regina. Ross has already qualified in the three-metre synchro with Alexandre Despatie of Laval.