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SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING

August 24, 2008
CBC Sports

Canada's synchronized swimmers make a splash

Oh, so close.

That's the only way to describe the performances of Canada's synchronized swimmers at the Beijing Games.

Russia swept synchronized swimming gold medals in Beijing, winning the team event on Saturday, three days after taking gold in the duets.

The five-time and defending world championship team has dominated synchro at the last three Olympic Games, winning gold in both the team and duet events since 1996.

Silver in the team event went to Spain, while China picked up the bronze medal. Canada was tied with the United States in fifth place heading into the final free event, but the Canadians had a strong free performance and managed to distance themselves from the Americans to finish fourth overall, just missing the medal podium.

It's the first time since 2001 that Canada has beaten the U.S. in the team event.

The routine, called "Chinese Astrology," earned the Canadians a score of 48.084. Judges gave the performance the fourth best mark of the free routines.

The Canadians — Marie-Pier Boudreau Gagnon, Jessika Dubuc, Marie-Pierre Gagne, Dominika Kopcik, Eve Lamoureux, Tracy Little, Elise Marcotte and Jennifer Song — gathered on the deck after their routine and celebrated after hearing their score from the judges. The final score for the Canadians was 95.668.

In duet synchro event, Canada's Boudreau Gagnon and Isabelle Rampling placed 6th. The Canucks were ranked No. 6 throughout the competition, after the technical routine and the first free routine.

Rampling, 23, of Burlington, Ont., and Boudreau Gagnon, 24, of Riviere du Loup, Que., won silver at the 2007 Pan American Games and gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

They also finished sixth at the 2007 world championships.


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