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Wednesday, September 27, 2000

 

Montgomery calls it off

 

By DAVE FULLER -- Toronto Sun
  SYDNEY -- Vancouver's Carol Montgomery will leave the Olympics without a medal but her courageous story will remain one of the most memorable moments for Canadians.

 Montgomery, her back still stiff from a horrific crash 11 days ago during the women's triathlon, pulled out of last night's women's 10,000-metre heats shortly before her start time.

 Montgomery, 34, had hoped to become the first Canadian female athlete to compete in two different sports at the same Summer Olympic -- a surreal achievement for someone who nine months ago was told she might lose her left leg.

 "I never thought of going to Sydney," Montgomery said. "I was ready to retire, ready to give up."

 Amputation was avoided when doctors successfully grafted a 15-centimetre section of vein -- correcting a critical circulatory bypass problem.

 MIRACULOUS RECOVERY

 She then made a miraculous recovery, qualifying for the women's triathlon with a World Cup win in Rio de Janiero last March. A month later, Montgomery qualified for the 10,000 metres, finishing second at the Mount San Antonio College relays in California under the Olympic qualifying time.


 But her luck would run out when three cyclists participating in the Olympic triathlon crashed in front of her -- pulling her down with them.

 Montgomery suffered a broken wrist and severe lacerations during the accident. Her helmet shattered as her head bounced off the pavement. Though not concussed, she suffered a deep flesh wound to her hip, a body-length scrape and whiplash.

 New Westminster, B.C., native Tina Connelly finished 19th out of 20 in 34:46.04 seconds.

 Connelly had run a 33:06 early this year to qualify for the Games.

 

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