The Ottawa Citizen
February 25, 2010
Canadian women lead
It was vintage Clara Hughes on Wednesday, as the
37-year-old speedskater said goodbye to the Games with a bronze
in the 5,000 metres. It was her sixth career Olympic medal, tying
her with Cindy Klassen as the most decorated Canadian ever at
the Olympic Games.
Here comes the medal avalanche.
In less than four hours on Wednesday, Day 13 of
the 2010 Winter Games, Canadian athletes celebrated their first
multi-medal day in Vancouver as female athletes used their long
blades on two separate speedskating ovals and an icy serpentine
bobsled track to secure one gold, two silver and one bronze.
The women's bobsled program had a milestone night
at the Whistler Sliding Centre, winning gold and silver medals
for the first two medals in its Olympic history.
Kaillie Humphries of Calgary and Heather Moyse of
Summerside, P.E.I., broke the track record three times en route
to the gold in a four-run time of three minutes, 32.28 seconds.
Helen Upperton of Calgary and Shelley-Ann Brown
of Pickering, Ont., moved up two positions in their final two
runs to capture the silver medal in 3:33.13.
The bobsled victory gives Canada seven gold medals,
tied for first place with seven along with the United States and
It was the 10th time in Olympic history Canada has
had two entries on the same medal podium, but the first in the
2010 Games. It was the fifth time for a gold-silver finish. It
happened three times in Turin in2006.
Long-track speedskating legend Clara Hughes of Glen
Sutton, Que., finished her illustrious Summer and Winter Olympic
career by winning the bronze medal in the women's 5,000 metres,
joining teammate Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg as Canada's most decorated
Olympian with six career medals.
The women's short-track speedskating team of Jessica
Gregg of Edmonton, Kalyna Roberge of St. Etienne de Lauzon, Que.,
Marianne St. Gelais of St. Felicien, Que., and Tania Vicent of
Laval finished third in the race, but was awarded the silver medal
when four-time defending champion South Korea was disqualified
for an illegal pass in the women's 3,000-metre relay. It was a
second silver for St. Gelais, who won in the 500 metres last week.
After plodding along winning an average of almost
one medal a day in the first 12 days of competition, the speedskaters
and bobsledders pushed the Canadian medal total to 15 from 11
and put some substance behind the Sunday assessment by Canadian
Olympic Committee official Caroline Assalian that "there
are great, great things to come" in the final days of the
The quadruple-medal performance was one of the most
notable days in Canadian Winter Olympic history. Day 13 of the
Winter Games traditionally has been one of medal madness as Canadian
athletes had won a total of 13 at five Games before Wednesday's
competition. Day 8 previously had been the best day for Canadians
with 15 medals.
In the past, Canada has had one five-medal day at
the 2002 Salt Lake City Games on Day 16. The other three four-medal
days were recorded at the 2006 Torino Olympics.
Canada is fourth in the medal standings with one
final to come Wednesday night, having earned seven gold, six silver
and two bronze for 15 medals. Canada, the United States and Germany
are ranked No. 1 in gold medals at seven.
Canadian women have won 11 medals, while the men
only have three. The other medal was shared by the ice dance team
of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Canada could continue to zoom up the medal table
today with another multi-medal day.
The Canadian women's hockey team will either defend
its gold or accept silver, after playing the United States in
the women's hockey final. Joannie Rochette of Montreal tries to
become the first woman since Elizabeth Manley's silver in 1988
to win a figure skating medal in women's singles. Steve Omischl
of North Bay, Kyle Nissen of Calgary and Warren Shouldice of Calgary
will reach high for the medals in freestyle men's aerials.
Humphries and Moyse, who raced as Upperton's brakeperson
and was fourth in 2006, won all four heats and set three track
They won the third run and improved their lead to
0.57 seconds from 0.13 over Erin Pac and Elana Meyers, the No.
2 United States sled.
Upperton and Brown were third in the third run and
eased up one position to third with a 0.02 advantage over Germany
No. 2 Cathleen Martini and Romy Logsch.
Five-time Olympian Clara Hughes of Glen Sutton,
Que., signed off on her distinguished Games career at age 37 by
seeing her technically perfect technique and rhythm carry her
to her fastest time ever and the bronze medal in the women's 5,000
By winning her sixth all-time medal, Hughes matches
Klassen's half dozen medals and can be considered Canada's greatest
Olympian, whether Winter or Summer.
Hughes has won one gold, one silver and two bronze
medals in three Winter Olympics, and took two cycling bronze medals
at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Klassen has collected one gold, two
silver and three bronze in speed skating.
Hughes held the lead until the final two of eight
pairings with a time of six minutes, 55.73 seconds, which was
only the third time she had eclipsed seven minutes in 18 races
over 5,000 metres.
"It's such an amazing feeling," said Hughes,
who won Olympic gold in 2006 and bronze in 2002. "I came
in to skate two of my best races.
"I don't think about medals or Own the Podium.
I don't think in terms of medals, but rather excellence. That's
what I wanted and I did it in my last race."