As one year ends, another begins, full of amazing and unparalleled potential for Canadian sport. But let’s leave the 2010 Olympic build-up alone for a moment and look back at 2009. It was a year filled with distinct highlights for Canada’s high performance athletes. Here are those that rose to the top.
John Kucera became 2009 world champion in downhill in Val d’Isere, France. Michael Janyk captured bronze in slalom.
Priscilla Lopes-Schliep won silver in 100-metre hurdles at the World Championships in Berlin.
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia hosted the 2009 World Championships, where Canadians captured three bronze medals. But the real story was in exhibition events, where Canadian women won all four canoe races. Should these gain Olympic status, look out for these names in the future: Nicole Haywood, Jenna Marks and Maria Halavrezos.
Canada’s men’s team, with skip Kevin Martin, won the silver medal at the World Championships in Moncton, N.B. They narrowly lost to Scotland 7-6 in front of the home crowd.
Emilie Heymans showed no rust in winning silver in the 3-metre springboard event at the World Aquatic Championships in Rome. She hadn’t had any major competitions since winning silver at the 2008 Olympic Games. Meanwhile, teammate Alexandre Despatie won two bronze medals in 3 metres and 3-metre synchro (with Reuben Ross).
Sherraine Schalm became Canada’s first women’s fencer to win silver at the World Championships. The three-time Olympian was tantalizingly close to gold, pushing Russian Lubov Shutova into extra time in the Épée final in Antalya, Turkey.
Canada’s top singles skaters, Patrick Chan and Joannie Rochette, both won silver medals at the World Championships in Los Angeles. Ice dance duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took bronze.
Ashleigh McIvor and Alexandre Bilodeau both become world champions in ski cross and dual moguls, respectively. Silver medals at the World Championships were won by Steve Omischl (aerials) and Jenn Heil (moguls).
The men’s national hockey team captured silver at the World Championships, losing a tight gold medal contest to Russia 2-1. The women’s team matched that result with a silver medal, with their main rival Team USA winning gold.
Alex Gough finished 4th at World Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. It is Canada’s best-ever result.
After winning Olympic gold in 2008, a completely revamped men’s eight boat continues in fine form by winning silver in Poznań, Poland.
SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING
Charles Hamelin proved he is a dominant force by becoming 2009 world champion in the 500 metres. He added a bounty of medals on the World Cup circuit. He also set a new world record in 1,000 metres in Montreal.
Long-time veteran Jasey-Jay Anderson was crowned world champion in parallel giant slalom in Gangwon, South Korea. Teammate Matthew Morison won bronze in the same event. Over in halfpipe, Jeff Batchelor had a huge result with a silver medal.
Canadian highlights are vast in this sport, but in 2009 one name truly blossomed. Christine Nesbitt finished the 2008-09 season ranked No. 1 in 1,000 metres and won gold in that distance at the World Single Distance Championships. In this 2009-10 season, Nesbitt continues to dominate, winning every 1,000-metre World Cup race she has entered.
Annamay Pierse broke three world records in the 200-metre breaststroke in 2009 and won silver in the event at the World Aquatics Championships in Rome.
Aleksandra Wozniak rose to No. 21 in the world, beat French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, defeated three other top-15 players and reached the French Open 4th round – the first Canadian there in 17 years. Daniel Nestor won Wimbledon for the second straight year in men’s doubles with partner Nenad Zimonjić.
The women’s team won silver at the World Aquatic Championships in Rome while the men’s team breaks into the top-8 for the first time ever.
The Canadian team won the overall team gold at the World Championships in Calgary – the first time since 1993. Whitney McClintock made the biggest splash by winning the overall world title.
PAN AM GAMES
An exceptionally strong bid by Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe wins the right to host the 2015 Pan American Games. The Games will drive a strong summer sport infrastructure in southern Ontario, Canada’s most populous region.