Sport Shorts: A Mixed Pot of High Performance News

Biking in Quebec: It was no surprise that Catharine Pendrel and Marie-Hélène Prémont would finish at the top. It was just a matter of the order. In the cross-country event at the Canadian mountain bike championships on Saturday, Pendrel took gold and Prémont silver. Pendrel (Kamloops, B.C.) finished fourth at the 2008 Olympic Games and is currently ranked No. 1 in the world. She held off a strong finish by Prémont (Chateau-Richer, Que.) to take the national title in St-Felicien, Que. On the men’s side, Geoff Kabush (Victoria) won the title, just as he did last year. Kabush is ranked No. 6 in the world.

Training in Whistler: In Whistler this week are 11 members of the ladies alpine ski team, hopeful of a slot on the 2010 Olympic team. There they are engaged in intensive dryland training, which will include outdoor activities amid the amazing natural elements of Whistler. It is somewhat quieter now than it will be in seven months.

Collecting Medals in Serbia: At the Summer Universiade in Belgrade, several 2008 Canadian Olympians were among those who took home some hardware. Jim Steacy (Lethbridge, Alta.) got things going with a silver medal in hammer throw. Long jumper Ruky Abdulai (Coquitlam, B.C.) won a bronze medal. High jumper Michael Mason (Nanoose Bay, B.C.) won silver. In the 400 metres, Esther Akinsulie and Carline Muir finished two-three, winning silver and bronze medals. As well, Daniel Harper (Brampton, Ont.) took bronze in the 400 metres and Rebecca Johnstone (Bowen Island, B.C.) won bronze in the 800 metres. Canadians took two medals in the pool – Kevyn Peterson (Salmon Arm, B.C.) won silver in the 200-metre freestyle and a bronze went to the men’s 4×200-metre freestyle relay team.

Awarding Order of Canada: Ian Bruce, two-time Canadian Olympic sailor and boat designer, was named an Officer of the Order of Canada on July 1. Bruce was co-creator of the Laser dinghy, now an Olympic discipline, and sailed by thousands of people across the world. Bruce’s 40-year career in high performance boat design saw him help develop a dozen classes of boat. The Byte, which he personally designed, will be featured at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Bruce competed in Finn and Star at the 1960 and 1972 Olympic Games, respectively.

Battling in Brazil: Canadian judokas captured seven medals at a World Cup event in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on July 12. Amy Cotton (Judique, N.S.) won the sole silver while bronze medals were earned by Catherine Roberge (Beauport, Que.), Kelita Zupancic (Whitby, Ont.), Michal Popiel (Montreal), Nicholas Tritton (Perth, Ont.), Alexandre Émond (Varennes, Que.) and Scott Edward (Calgary).

Rowing in Lucerne: At a World Cup in this Swiss city, Canadians earned three spots in the finals and won a medal in each race. The men’s eight, featuring many different faces than the Olympic gold crew of 2008, won silver. Bronze medals went to the lightweight women’s double (Lindsay Jennerich of Victoria, and Sheryl Preston of North Delta, B.C.) and the lightweight men’s double (Doug Vandor of Dewittville, Que., Cam Sylvester of Caledon, Ont.).

Paddling in Rio: Canadians proved their paddling prowess at the recent Pan American canoe/kayak championships in Rio de Janeiro. Many of the nation’s 2012 Olympic hopefuls won 23 medals over three days, totalling 11 gold, 10 silver and two bronze.

Inviting the Best: The 2009 Rogers Cup tennis tournament will feature each of the top-25 women’s players in the world, making for fierce competition in Toronto Aug. 15 to 23. Meanwhile, the Rogers Cup men’s tournament in Montreal will feature some of the biggest names in tennis. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Gaël Monfils and others will serve for the title from Aug. 8 to 16.