September 21, 2004
Canadian gold rush
Petitclerc wins again
ATHENS (CP) - Wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc set another world
record at the Paralympic Games on Tuesday.
Petitclerc broke her own world record en route to a gold medal
in the women's 100-metre wheelchair race.
Anne Polinario of Toronto also captured a gold medal in the women's
100-metre freestyle event for physically disabled swimmers.
Canada finished the day ninth in the medal standings with 12 medals
overall (seven gold, three silver and two bronze). China was first
with 50 medals (21-18-11), Germany second at 36 (9-10-17) and Britain
third at 30 (14-7-9)
Canadian swimmers have won 11 medals (six gold, three silver and
On the track, Petitclerc, a native of Montreal, finished in 16.33
seconds. She defeated Tatyana McFadden of the U.S., who won the
silver in 16.69. Manuela Schaer of Switzerland was third in 16.93.
Petitclerc broke the world record she set during Monday's heats
when she finished in 16.45 seconds. The previous mark of 16.59 was
set by American Cheri Becerra in October 2000.
"All day I was visualizing and focusing on what I had to do
to gain those little 10ths of a second," said Petitclerc.
Elsewhere, Canada hammered the Netherlands 9-0 in women's goalball.
In equestrian, Judi Island of Cheltenham, Ont., finished 11th.
Her routine was delayed for more than an hour after a horse suffered
a heart attack and died on the course. Island and her horse Whirlwind
had just finished their warm-up when the incident occurred.
"Because of the delay, Whirlwind thought we were done,"
said Island. "Our warm-ups leading up to the competition had
Petitclerc will race it the 800 final on Wednesday after winning
her semifinal heat earlier Tuesday. Diane Roy of Hatley, Que., and
Jessica Matassa of Oldcastle, Ont., also qualified.
While the sprints are her best events, the 34-year-old Petitclerc
won the 800 metres last month at the Olympic Games, where the event
was a demonstration sport, in an Olympic-record time of 1:53.66.
"In the 800, I did really well at the Olympics and I did really
well this morning as well," she said. "I have a pretty
good chance for a medal there as well but we'll see tomorrow."
Petitclerc is just getting started at the Games. In addition to
the 800 final, she still has to race in the 200, 400 and 1,500.
Tuesday's gold was Petitclerc's 12th at her fourth Paralympics.
But she says winning them hasn't become routine.
"I wake up in the morning and I have the same little butterflies,"
she said. "I get on the startline and I'm just excited to be
there. I think what's changed is that I don't put pressure on myself
anymore. I'm just here to give my best and have a good time on the
Polinario finished in 1:03.65 to capture the gold in the pool.
Katarzyna Pawlik of Poland was second in 1:04.46 while Sarah Bailey
of Great Britain took the bronze in 1:05.14.
"It's my first gold medal in any Paralympic Games," said
Polinario, who took a couple years off after the Sydney Paralympics.
"I was pretty happy. I had a bit of tears in my eyes. It was
pretty emotional for sure."
Polinario is a native of Cuba whose father was on that country's
national swim team while her mother was on the Cuban synchronized
Reprinted with permission