Sport Shorts: All Eyes on Copenhagen

All Eyes on Copenhagen: It is now prime time for Chicago, Tokyo, Rio and Madrid, four cities vying to host the 2016 Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is poised to select the winning bid this Friday, October 2, in Copenhagen, Denmark. With no clear front-runner, it is literally down to the last minute. One city, and country, will erupt in celebration this weekend. A slew of dignitaries, including U.S. President Barack Obama, are reported to be making travel arrangements to support their countries’ respective bids.

Included is Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty who is using the IOC Session to pitch Toronto’s strong bid for the 2015 Pan American Games. He aims to meet as many of the voters as possible as Toronto competes for the Games with Bogota, Colombia and Lima, Peru.

Verbeek Adds to Amazing Career: There is no slowing down Canadian wrestler Tonya Verbeek. On Sept. 24, the native of Beamsville, Ont. won a bronze medal at the World Wrestling Championships in Herning, Denmark. She handily defeated France’s Anna Gomis in the 55 kg division. Verbeek is a two-time Olympic medallist, winning silver in 2004 and bronze in 2008 – the only times women’s wrestling has been contested. Her teammate, Calgary’s Justine Bouchard, also captured bronze in the 63 kg division when she defeated Poland’s Monika Michalik.

Hamelin Wins 500-Metre Gold: Canadian short track speed skaters won four medals over the weekend in Seoul, the second stop on the World Cup tour. On Saturday, Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, Que.) and Kalyna Roberge (St-Étienne de Lauzon, Que.) reached the 500 metres final and did not disappoint. Hamelin captured the gold medal in his best event while Roberge followed with a bronze in her race. On Sunday, the all-Quebec relay teams won a pair of medals. The men’s team of Charles and François Hamelin (Ste-Julie), Olivier Jean (Lachenaie) and François-Louis Tremblay (Montreal) took home silver while the women’s team of Tania Vicent (Laval), Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien), Roberge and Valérie Maltais (La Baie) won the bronze medal.

The team will now focus on the Montreal (Nov. 5-8) and Marquette, Michigan (Nov. 12-15) World Cups, which will determine Olympic quotas.

Hoops Thrills: Sunday night in Cuiaba, Brazil, the Canadian national women’s basketball team won the bronze medal at the FIBA Americas Championship. The 59-49 overtime victory cemented a berth for Canada in the 2010 World Championships to be held in the Czech Republic. Cuba had sent it to overtime with a buzzer-beating three-pointer that had to be video reviewed.

4-0 in Calgary: The Canadian women’s hockey team went 4-0 in an Icebreaker Tournament against midget club teams (players aged 16 to 18) in the Calgary region. The tournament started a 31-game schedule the team will play against Alberta Midget Hockey League clubs to warm the legs and sharpen the skills before the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

First Baseball World Cup Medal: A 6-2 win over Puerto Rico gave Canada its first-ever medal at a Baseball World Cup. It was bronze, matching the best result for our national team since winning bronze at the Winnipeg 1999 Pan American Games.

Cross-Country Skiers Underway: Today the national cross-country team flies to Mammoth Lakes, Calif. to begin high-altitude training in advance of the World Cup season. What follows is one last on-snow training camp before the season gets started in Sweden. The women’s team is led by Olympic medallists Chandra Crawford and Sara Renner, both of Canmore, Alt. The men’s team is the strongest in recent memory and will vie for medals in Whistler next February. Its World Cup medallists include Ivan Babikov (Canmore, Alt.), George Grey (Rossland, B.C.), Alex Harvey (St.-Ferreol, Que.) and Devon Kershaw (Sudbury, Ont.).