|Wednesday, September 27, 2000
By DAVE FULLER -- Toronto
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
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.
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
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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