Canada’s Best Raise the Bar in 2012December 22, 2012
This past year is packed with pride for the Canadian Olympic Team – and it should be.
The nation can proudly look back at the year that created some iconic memories that have given shape to an incredible future for sport in this country. During this time, as 2013 approaches, it’s important though we pause and remember the success our nation’s best athletes displayed on an international stage.
The year proved to be a big one for Canada with the Olympic Summer Games in London taking centre stage. Eighteen medals were awarded to members of the Canadian Olympic Team who gave their everything for their country, their sport and themselves. Our athletes had the nation on the edge of its seat as Canadians stood by our athletes for every victory and defeat, every goal and point awarded, and for every success and disappointment.
“Canadians are now talking louder, prouder and more often about our athletes with a deeper, more meaningful pride,” said Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut. “Their performances on the field of play at the London Games and across the international circuit during the year continue to inspire even more incredible things to come for sport in this country. As a nation, we should be proud of what we accomplished. But we should also be extremely excited about what we are about to accomplish in the very near future. During this past year, our athletes proved what is possible.”
Canada’s Olympic team was proudly led into the Games by four-time Olympic and double medallist Simon Whitfield and 277 athletes demanded the nation’s attention from Day 1. The medal haul was highlighted by relentless athletes like Rosie MacLennan who had the routine of her life to receive the highest score of her career in Trampoline and walk away with a gold medal. Who could forget the shocked look on Mark Oldershaw’s face after he captured the first Canoe-Kayak Olympic medal for an Oldershaw family that had sent four generations before him to an Olympic Games? The women’s soccer team riveted Canadians with its run to the semifinal and a controversial yet heartbreaking defeat. Canadians from coast to coast rejoiced as the team battled back and won bronze in a highly contested game against the French for that final spot on the podium. Appropriately, captain and global superstar Christine Sinclair was later given the honour to be the nation’s Closing Ceremony flag bearer.
On the World Championship stage, Canada was highlighted by the likes of 2010 Olympic gold medallist and reigning world champion Kaillie Humphries and brakeman Jennifer Ciochetti who slid their way to becoming the first Canadian women’s duo to win gold in Bobsleigh. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, fresh off of an Olympic gold, captured the second world championship title of their career in ice dancing. Not to be outdone, Olympian Patrick Chan stood at the top of the podium for the second consecutive year as the top male figure skater.
“As the 2014 Sochi Winter Games approach, and the final season before Olympic fever catches again, it’s athletes like this that continue to give Canada reason and commitment to a future filled with excellence,” said Aubut. “What we saw in 2012 is just the beginning.”
Enjoy this chronological timeline of some incredible moments from 2012:
The first big medal of the year came when history was made on Feb. 12 at the World Luge Championships in Altenberg, Germany after the team of Alex Gough, Sam Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith captured bronze in the relay competition and claimed their first-ever medal in the event at a World Championships. Look out for this brand new and exciting event in Sochi!
On Feb.18 Olympic gold medallist Kaillie Humphries and brakeman Jennifer Ciochetti became the first female Canadian duo to win the two-man Bobsleigh World Championship event after crossing the line in a combined time of 3:48.57. Wow what accomplishment on the way to creating history!
2010 Olympic bronze medallist Lyndon Rush and Olympic brakeman Jesse Lumsden captured Canada’s first two-man Bobsleigh World Championship medal since 2005, a silver, after they crossed the finish line in a combined time of 3:43.34 in Lake Placid, New York. Make sure you follow this duo this season as they continue to step up on the World Cup podium!
2006 Olympic bronze medallist Mellisa Hollingsworth matched her career-best performance at the Skeleton World Championships after winning silver while clocking a four-run time of 3:42.50 for her third World Championships medal.
2002 Olympic bronze medallist Marie-Ève Drolet skated to a time of two minutes, 23.474 seconds in the eight-woman final at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Shanghai, China to claim bronze.
Men’s 500m – Gold – 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – Shanghai, China – Olivier Jean
Men’s 500m – Silver – 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – Shanghai, China – Charles Hamelin
What an event this was! 2010 Olympic relay gold medallist Olivier Jean struck gold at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in the 500m event in Shanghai, China after posting a time of 41.077 seconds. Teammate and two-time Olympic gold medallist Charles Hamelin grabbed silver in a time of 41.186. Is there any doubt that Canada has some of the fastest skaters in the world?
Women’s 3000m – Bronze – 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – Shanghai, China – Marie-Ève Drolet
Just two days after winning a bronze medal in the 1500m race, Marie-Eve Drolet was back at it again to claim bronze in the 3000m in a time of 5:03.387 to capture her fifth career World Championship podium finish.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Charles Hamelin captured his second individual medal at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Shanghai, China after finishing third in the men’s 100m with a time of 1:55.181. The impressive French Canadian has been tearing up the field early in the 2012-13 season.
Women’s 1000m – Bronze – 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – Shanghai, China – Valérie Maltais
Women’s 3000m – Gold – 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – Shanghai, China – Valérie Maltais
Women’s Overall – Gold – 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – Shanghai, China – Valérie Maltais
In one day, Valérie Maltais won bronze in the 1000m, gold in the 3000m and was crowned the overall gold medallist at the 2012 the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Shanghai, China. It was an incredible breakthrough performance by a competitor who will be aiming high come Sochi 2014.
After winning gold in the 500m and finishing just off the podium in the 3000m and 1500m finishing fourth and fifth respectively, Olivier Jean was awarded the 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships men’s overall bronze medal to cap an impressive year.
Men’s 5000m Relay – Gold – 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships – Shanghai, China – Guillaume Bastille, François-Louis Tremblay, Liam McFarlane, Charles Hamelin
Guillaume Bastille, François-Louis Tremblay, Liam McFarlane and Charles Hamelin blasted through the rest of competition to lay claim to the title of fastest relay team in the world with their gold medal performance at the 2012 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Shanghai, China on March 11. There go our boys showing the world how fast they are!
2010 Olympic gold medallist Christine Nesbitt was marching toward making history at the World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships. She started off the championships by winning the 1500m event in a time of 1:56.07 to capture first place. She would have more in store for the world later on in the week.
A 2010 Olympic gold medallist in the team pursuit, Denny Morrison was looking to etch his name on the winner’s board in an individual event at the World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands. He did just that after winning the 1500m event in a time of 1:46:44 to prove how big of a threat he is to international competition.
This gave us flashback memories! Christine Nesbitt captured gold in the 1000m event just like she did at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Nesbitt capped a two gold-medal performance at the worlds by finishing in first place with a time of 1:15:16. Nesbitt proved on to the world on this day that she’s still the one to beat!
Team pursuit – Silver -World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships – Heerenveen, Netherlands – Christine Nesbitt, Brittany Schussler, Cindy Klassen
Cindy Klassen, Christine Nesbitt and Brittany Schussler combined in the women’s team pursuit for a silver medal with a time of 3:51.00 at the World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
Skip Heather Nedohin and her team of Beth Iskiw, Jessica Mair, Laine Peters and Amy Nixon beat South Korea 9-6 to captured bronze at the World Women’s Curling Championship held at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge, AB. Canada’s curlers are always important to watch on the world stage!
The 2010 Olympic championship duo of Tess Virtue and Scott Moir won the worlds hearts with their emotional and beautiful performance in Vancouver. They were attempting to get to the top of the world again in 2012 at the World Championships in France after finishing second in 2011. The incredible ice dancing pair did it once more on March 29th and won their second World Championship in three years.
Perfection isn’t easy to accomplish, but that’s what Patrick Chan did on March 31st when he finished an undefeated 2011-12 figure skating season by capturing his second consecutive World Championship title in Nice, France. Keep an eye out for Chan in 2013 as he tries to make it three in a row as the World Championships make their way to London, ON in March.
Was this a sign of things to come later in the year? The speedy cycling trio of Tara Whitten, Jasmin Glaesser, Gillian Carleton sprinted to a time of 3:19.529 at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne, Australia to prove to the world that they would be a team to watch at London 2012.
A few hours after helping her team win bronze in the team pursuit, Jasmin Glaesser captured silver for Canada in the points race at the World Championships. What a great moment for the young rider who had received her citizenship just a few months before the competition. Isn’t this the definition of living the Canadian dream?
Men’s Omnium – Silver – 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships – Melbourne, Australia – Zach Bell
Zach Bell told the world he was ready for London at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships when he left Melbourne, Australia with a silver medal in the men’s omnium event to capture the second world championship medal of his career.
There’s no denying that Canada is a breeding ground for some of the best curlers in the world and on April 8th Glenn Howard, Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing and Craig Savill proved it by defeating Scotland 8-7 at the 2012 World Men’s Curling Championship in Basel, Switzerland. This marked an amazing fourth world championship for Glenn Howard, dating back to 1987. Wow!
What a rivalry! Canada and the United States have a long and rich history in hockey. On April 14th, the two faced off once more in Burlington, Vermont to crown a world champion in a game that was tied at four goals apiece heading into overtime. Caroline Oullette scored less than two minutes into overtime to give Canada a 5-4 victory and end a five year gold medal drought and to bring a nation to its feet.
Three-time Olympian and holder of Olympic gold and silver medals Simon Whitfield is selected as Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer on July 12 in the nation’s captial. The selection is announced by COC President Marcel Aubut, as well as Chef de Mission Mark Tewksbury and Assistant Chef de Mission Sylvie Bernier.
Led by flag bearer and Olympic champion Simon Whitfield, the Canadian Olympic Team marched proudly into Olympic Stadium to announce to the world that they were ready to compete with the best. What an incredible feeling of inspiration spreads across the nation.
Just two days after the Opening Ceremonies in London, the duo of Jennifer Abel and Émilie Heymans got Canada on the board with a bronze medal performance in the 3m synchro event. It was Abel’s first Olympic medal and for Heymans it marked a record fourth-straight medal at an Olympic Games. The performance would spring board the Canadian Olympic Team into a five day stretch with nine medals won.
Inspired by the bronze medal performance of their teammates Jennifer Abel and Roseline Filion, best friends and the 10m synchro diving duo of Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion placed third in London to grab their first-ever Olympic medals. Success came early for Canada in diving and kicked things off right!
Christine Girard was devastated in 2008 after she placed fourth in Weightlifting in Beijing and missed the podium by 3kg. She would not be denied of an Olympic medal this time around and lifted an impressive 133kg competing in the 63kg field to claim bronze. In the process Girard made history and the first Canadian woman to win a medal in her sport and the first medallist in nearly three decades. What an incredible role model!
Men’s 8 Rowing – Silver – London Olympic Games – London, U.K. – Gabriel Bergen, Doug Csima, Rob Gibson, Conlin McCabe, Malcolm Howard, Andrew Byrnes, Jeremiah Brown, Will Crothers, Brian Price
Members of the men’s eight rowing team knew they were in a hole after finishing dead last in their opening heat at Eton Dorney, the site of canoe sprint and Rowing events at London 2012. The team dug deep and regrouped around the veteran leadership of 2008 gold medallist and coxswain Brian Price to qualify for the final through repachage and ultimately win a silver medal on August 1st. What an awesome story of perseverance and determination!
On Aug.1st, Brent Hayden set a goal to make up for what he deemed a disappointing Beijing Games where he failed to make the final of the 100m freestyle. Not only did Hayden qualify in London, but he also made history by winning Canada’s first-ever medal in the event, a bronze. The race would prove to be his last individual swim, as the 2007 world champion would announce his retirement a few days after the race.
Women’s 8 Rowing – Silver – London Olympic Games – London, U.K. – Janine Hanson, Rachelle Viinberg, Krista Guloien, Lauren Wilkinson, Natalie Mastracci, Ashley Brzozowicz, Darcy Marquardt, Andréanne Morin, Lesley Thompson-Willie
Members of the women’s eight rowing team prepared themselves at Eton Dorney just one day after their male counterparts rowed to silver. Looking for some hardware of their own, the impressive Canadians claimed silver medal. With that Canada became the only country to medal in both rowing eight events in London.
Antoine Valois-Fortier may not have been a household name when the London Olympic Games started. The Quebec native wasn’t ranked in the top-20 and was not expected to be a threat. Valois-Fortier would prove everyone wrong on Aug 3rd. Along the way, he defeated an Olympic champion, a world champion and an Olympic medallist to eventually capture bronze and the first medal for Canada in Judo since 2000. And who was the last medallist? None other than Nicolas Gill who happens to be Valois-Fortier’s coach. What a great chapter in the story of the Canadian Olympic Family.
Rosie MacLennan stepped on the trampoline on Aug. 4 not knowing she was about to make history as Canada’s first and only gold medallist in London. MacLennan had watched teammate Karen Cockburn captured medals at three-straight Olympic Games and on this day MacLennan would capture Canada’s first gold in the history of the event. The GTA-based gymnast recorded the highest scoring mark of her career at the most opportune time and a country would rejoice.
Ryan Cochrane was not satisfied with his bronze medal performance in the 1,500m freestyle event four years earlier in Beijing. Determined in London, Cochrane raced to a silver medal this time around to cement himself as one of the top long distance swimmers in the world. A fantastic example of how unwavering hard work can pay off.
Members of the track cycling team of Tara Whitten, Jasmin Glaesser and Gillian Carleton knew they had a shot of doing something special in London after capturing bronze at the World Championships earlier this year. The trio would match its finish and ride to a bronze medal in the team pursuit, marking the first Canadian podium in the history of the event and the first cycling medal since Olympic legend Clara Hughes went double bronze in 1996.
Thirty six years had passed since Greg Joy electrified Montreal Olympic Stadium for a silver medal in the high jump event. On August 7th, Derek Drouin, at the ripe age of 22, broke the drought on his way to a bronze medal performance. A first-time Olympian, Drouin cleared 2.29 metres to stand on the podium.
Adam van Koeverden entered London with an already storied Olympic career that included a medal of each colour in Kayaking and having been an Opening and Closing Ceremony flag bearer. In London on August 8th, van Koeverden won a silver medal to lay claim as the most decorated canoe-kayaker in Canadian history and cement one of the greatest Olympic careers on the water.
The Oldershaw family is synonymous with canoeing in Canada having sent a total of five different male athletes to Olympic Games. However, the one thing that alluded the family was an Olympic medal. That would all change on August 8th as Mark Oldershaw took to the waters to compete in the 1,000m canoe sprint with his Olympian father and coach Scott Oldershaw watching on. Oldershaw pulled of an emotional third-place finish to finally win a medal for the Oldershaw family. How impressive is that family tree?
A 2008 gold medallist in the 48kg freestyle division, wrestler Carol Huynh came into London looking to reach the podium once again. The ultra-talented B.C. native powered her way through to a bronze medal and had a memorable celebration that mirrored her gold medal performance four years earlier.
An veteran of three Olympic Games, Tonya Verbeek made history on August 9th in London when she captured her third-consecutive medal and became the most decorated Canadian wrestler in the history of the Olympic Games. Verbeek captured silver to match her career best finish from 2004 in the 55kg freestyle division. How inspiring was it to see such a leader on the mats in London?
Women’s Soccer – Bronze – London Olympic Games – London, U.K. – Women’s Soccer Team
Coming off of a heartbreaking and controversial semifinal loss to the U.S., the Canadian soccer squad entered the bronze medal game against a tough France team in London. With the country firmly behind them, an exhausted group of women held a 0-0 draw into extra time as the French continued to press. With a mere few seconds left before overtime, Diana Matheson slid a shot past a diving French goalkeeper to send the country into a frenzy and award Canada its first Olympic team medal in 76 years.
Only 22 years old on the day of competition for the men’s 10km marathon, swimmer Richard Weinberger came to London hoping for a learning experience for Rio 2016. It turned out to be so much more. In a sport where athletes peak in their later 20s, Weinberger proved he is a force to be reckoned with by swimming to a bronze place finish to become the first Canadian to medal in the event.
Competing in his first Olympic Games in the inaugural 200m kayak event, Mark de Jonge sprinted his way to Canada’s 18th and final medal by placing third in the competition. The medal came on the second last day of competition and just 24 hours before the Closing Ceremony.
Soccer star and Olympic bronze medallist Christine Sinclair was selected as Canada’s Closing Ceremony flag bearer on August 12th. The selection was announced by COC President Marcel Aubut, as well as Chef de Mission Mark Tewksbury and Assistant Chef de Mission Sylvie Bernier.
After an incredible 19 days of competition, the London 2012 Olympic Games came to a close as athletes and the world were treated to a fantastic concert with some of the most iconic British musician of all time. Our Canadian Olympic Team stood proudly with 18 medallists and hundreds of memories created.
Women’s 51kg Division – Gold – FILA Senior Women’s World Wrestling Championships – Sherwood Park, Alberta – Jessica MacDonald
Jessica MacDonald shocked the world on September 27th when she won the 51kg world championship in Sherwood Park, Alberta. This was MacDonald’s second world medal as she captured bronze in Istanbul in 2011.
Women’s 67kg Division –Silver – FILA Senior Women World Wrestling Championships – Sherwood Park, Alberta – Dorothy Yeats
Competing at her very first World Championship, Dorothy Yeats surprised the world by advancing all the way to the finals and eventually capturing a silver medal for the reigning World Junior and Olympic Games Champion. Could we have a future star on our hands here Canada?
Women’s 63kg Division – Bronze – FILA Senior Women World Wrestling Championships – Sherwood Park, Alberta – Justine Bouchard
Wrestling in her home province of Alberta, Justine Bouchard made her presence felt on the world stage by winning bronze in the women’s 68kg division at the Senior Women World Wrestling Championships to cap a three medal performance for Canada at the worlds this year.