Wipeout won’t keep Simon down; Olympic wrap

Simon Whitfield crashes but Kyle Jones and Brent McMahon 25th and 27th in Olympic men's triathlon

Cycling Canada Tara Whitten of Edmonton

Locals win some and lose some at the Olympic Games

Simon Whitfield’s early morning wipeout on Tuesday should go down as a minor blip in his glorious triathlon career.

But for now, it’s drawing a lot of national attention. Perhaps too much.

The 37-year-old Victoria resident, who already has a gold and silver from the 2000 and 2008 Games, crashed his bike immediately out of the first transition of the London 2012 men’s triathlon. The resulting injuries forced him to withdraw from the event.

“Not how I envisioned this chapter ending,” Whitfield said through Triathlon Canada.

“It’s been a remarkable Olympic journey, more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve had two incredible Olympics, one not really good (Athens 2004) and then this.”

Fellow Victoria-based triathletes Kyle Jones (1:49:58) and Brent McMahon (1:50:03) finished 25th and 27th, while Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee, who was the favourite, won gold in a time of one hour, 46 minutes and 25 seconds.

Even with the crushing blow of dropping out, Whitfield’s outlook never strayed from a month ago, when he said medal or no medal, he’d be playing in a London park with his kids on Wednesday.

“I’ve got some stitches, my knees are sore, my collar bone hurts, but all in all I’ll be out in the park.”

Respect for rowers

All hail the men’s heavyweight eight, which won silver and lived up to all the hype as a one of Canada’s most powerful crews of all time.

The crew was led by captain and Victoria native Malcolm Howard, as well as 2008 returnees coxswain Brian Price and Andrew Byrnes.

It was a sweet win for the crew that could no doubt be just as formidable on a rugby pitch.

Just as great, for those who missed it, are spare rower Kevin Light’s photos taken during his time with the team’s pre-Olympic camp in Italy. The former Olympic gold medallist’s behind-the-scenes shots are well worth checking out on his Flickr site.

One of Canada’s most outspoken athletes at the London Olympics comes from right here in Saanich.

Lindsay Jennerich partnered with fellow Saanichite Patricia Obee in the lightweight women’s double. They missed out on qualifying their boat for the A final, but regrouped to win the B final and finish seventh overall.

Prior to departing, Jennerich blogged a fiery statement, one which largely went unnoticed. “I feel that so many believe we are just some second choice (team) … Well frankly, I’m sick of it and I’m done listening to those opinions.”

Jennerich, 29, continued by standing up for Obee, 20, who she felt was deserving of greater respect going into the Games.

The rowing season is far from over. Next up for Rowing Canada is the 2012 World Rowing Championships, Aug. 15 to 19 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Former UVic Vikes Darcy Marquardt and Rachelle Viinberg (nee de Jong) won silver in the women’s lightweight eight. Gabe Bergen and Doug Csima of the silver medal men’s eight are also UVic alumni.

Carleton sprints to bronze

Cyclist Gillian Carleton came out of the slipstream of anonymity to win bronze for Canada in the track cycling team pursuit.

Victoria’s Carleton, along with Tara Whitten (Edmonton) and Jasmin Glaesser (Coquitlam) took turns going as hard as they could for 12 laps of the 250m velodrome track. The trio averaged 54.52 kilometres per hour, completing the race in three minutes, 17.915 seconds, just a shade ahead of Australia.

Cochrane a step closer

Saanich swimmer Ryan Cochrane is now a two-time Olympic medallist, winning a silver medal in the 1,500m freestyle on Aug. 4.

Cochrane beat his bronze medal time from Beijing 2008, finishing 8.5 seconds behind gold medal winner Yang Sun of China, who won with a time of 14 minutes, 31.02 seconds.

“I showed I’m still progressing,” Cochrane said. “To be faster than four years ago is fantastic.”





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