It’s been a big 18 hours at the Olympic Stadium for Athletics Canada—and it could be a portent of even bigger things to come.
Canadian athletes got off to a good start on Wednesday morning, with Damian Warner coming out strong in the first few events of the men’s decathlon. Warner, who holds the world record in the decathlon 100m (10.15), set a new Olympic record (10.30) to lead in points after one event.
He then finished second in long jump and struggled in shot put, but still sits second in the standings through three of 10 events. He’ll continue chasing the points leader, Ashton Eaton of the USA, who edged Warner for decathlon gold at last year’s IAAF World Championships.
In the women’s 800m heats, Melissa Bishop finished with the best overall time (1:58.38) to qualify for Thursday’s semi-final. The 28-year-old—who broke her own Canadian record with a time of 1:57.43 earlier this year—is the world silver medallist and long way from her 30th-place finish at London 2012.
Mohammed Ahmed, who competed in the men’s 10,000m final earlier in Rio, finished with the sixth-best overall time in the 5,000m heats (13:21.00), to qualify for Saturday’s final. Ahmed, 25, recorded his personal best (and a new Canadian record) in the event earlier this year, with a time of 13:01.74.
That strong start on Wednesday came after a grandstand finish on Tuesday night in Canadian athletics.
High jumper Derek Drouin won Canada’s third gold medal of the Games on Tuesday night, becoming just the sixth athlete in Olympic history to win high jump gold without a miss. It was also Canada’s first gold medal in a field event since Duncan McNaughton won gold in high jump at Los Angeles 1932.
Johnathan Cabral also put in an impressive performance in his first Olympic Games. The 23-year-old reached Tuesday night’s final in the men’s 110m hurdles and finished sixth with a time of 13.40, tying Charles Allen at Athens 2004 for the best showing by a Canadian since Mark McKoy won gold in this event at Barcelona 1992.
There’s plenty more to look forward to on Wednesday, as Warner competes in two more decathlon events (high jump and 400m), while Phylicia George and Nikkita Holder take part in the women’s 100m hurdles semifinals, looking for a place in Wednesday night’s final.
De Grasse posted the fastest time in the 200m heats on Tuesday.