Day 14 Recap: De Grasse sprint double & basketball breakthrough
Andre De Grasse completed the sprint double on Day 14 at Toronto 2015, taking top spot in the men’s 200m to go along with his 100m gold from Thursday.
In total, the athletics team won five more medals on Friday. The other sports making their way onto the podium on Day 14 were boxing, field hockey and karate. The men’s basketball team also pulled off a massive upset of the USA to advance to the gold medal match.
Team Canada added a total of 8 more medals on Friday (3 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze). At the end of the day, Canada still sits second overall with a total of 195 medals: 72 gold, 63 silver and 60 bronze.
Team Canada had to wait until almost 6pm on Friday to win its first medal of Day 14, but when it came, it was one for the record books.
Andre De Grasse won gold in the men’s 200m, breaking his own Canadian record in the process. De Grasse came from behind in lane eight to win in 19.88 seconds, smashing the national mark of 20.03 he achieved in May. The time was particularly impressive as it was his sixth run of the Games after a long NCAA season and winning gold in the 100m on Wednesday. De Grasse is the first man since 1991 and the first Canadian ever to win double gold in the 100m and 200m at the Pan Am Games. In a photo finish, he defeated Jamaica’s Richard Dwyer, who had set the Pan Am record at 19.80 seconds in Thursday’s semifinal, and Panama’s Alonso Edward by just two-one hundredths (0.02) of a second.
“It’s amazing,” said Canada’s newest sprinting star. “It feels so unreal right now. I can’t believe I did it. Somehow I just managed to pull it off. I’m really happy about this.”
That excitement was immediately followed by Nathan Brannen and Charles Philibert-Thiboutot winning silver and bronze in the men’s 1500m. Two-time Olympian Brannen finished in 3:41.66, just a quarter of a second behind American Andrew Wheating, while Philibert-Thiboutot was another 0.13 back.
“I knew I was in a good spot sitting behind Andrew (Wheating),” said Brannen. “With 100 metres to go, I knew I needed to unleash everything I had.”
Next came Geneviève Lalonde with a bronze medal in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. She finished in 9:53.03, placing behind Americans Ashley Higginson (9:48.12) and Shalaya Kipp (9:49.96), both of whom beat the previous Pan Am record of 9:51.13.
Christabel Nettey capped the night at the Pan Am Athletics Stadium with a gold medal in the long jump. Nettey was the class of the field with her winning jump of 6.90 metres, easily defeating Bianca Stuart (6.69m) of the Bahamas and American Sha’Keela Saunders (6.66m). Another Canadian, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who regularly competes in the heptathlon but opted for just one individual event at Toronto 2015, finished just two centimetres off the podium. Nettey, who is tied for the second-longest mark in the world this season with her Canadian record leap of 6.99m in May, had four jumps of at least 6.80m.
“I’m a little surprised with what happened this past year,” said Nettey. “I’m just really embracing it and moving through the rest of the year and hoping to improve.”
Arthur Biyarslanov became the first Canadian boxer of Toronto 2015 to win a gold medal bout, getting the win in the light welterweight (64kg) division over Cuba’s Yasnier Toledo in a 2-1 decision. The “Chechen Wolf” is also the first Canadian to win Pan Am gold in men’s boxing since 1975. He is just the fourth Canadian boxer, and first since 2010, to defeat a Cuban opponent.
“I definitely won in the first and third rounds,” said Biyarslanov, originally from the Chechen region of Russia who moved to Canada in 2005. “The second round I knew I lost. That’s why I picked it up on the third round. I gave it all I could. I was really tired, but I kept pushing myself. I fought dirty and he didn’t like that. I just kept going and won.”
The Canadian women won bronze with their 1-0 defeat of Chile. The lone goal came from Brienne Stairs in the 51st minute. It was her first goal of the tournament. This is just the fifth women’s field hockey medal for Canada in Pan Am Games history and the first since a bronze at Winnipeg 1999. Canada found itself in the bronze medal match after a 3-0 loss to the United States in Wednesday’s semifinal. Canada’s leading scorer in the tournament was Karli Johansen with four goals, while goalkeeper Kaitlyn Williams allowed just nine to be scored against her in six games.
“It’s the first time that this program has won a medal in 16 years at a Pan Am Games, let alone a Pan Am Games at home,” said coach Ian Rutledge. “This will be a life-time memory for this group of athletes. They will probably never play another Games at home for a long time. And to win a medal in front of a home crowd – I am sure that will be seeped in their memories for a long time.”
“It feels great,” said captain Kate Gillis. “Not the colour we wanted but definitely a colour. We are very excited to finish this tournament off with a win and get some hardware.”
Patrice Boily-Martineau won a bronze medal in the men’s -75kg division after his 5-0 semifinal loss to American Thomas Scott. Boily-Martineau was a late addition to the Pan Am team, with his participation only confirmed on Sunday. He had finished the round robin portion of the competition in second place in his pool with one win, one loss and one tie before going on to earn Canada’s third karate medal of the Games.
“I am a defensive competitor in general,” said Boily-Martineau of his semifinal match. “We had a good match, I made one little mistake which cost me the match. But I’m still happy with my good combat. There wasn’t much missing from my performance.”
Canada defeated the USA 111-108 in overtime to book a spot in Saturday’s men’s basketball final. Canada’s big boys came to play on Day 14. Andrew Nicholson dropped 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the charge. 18-year-old Jamal Murray was amazing late to seal the victory, scoring the game-winning three pointer late in overtime to complete the upset. Murray finished with 22 points and 6 assists. Anthony Bennett also had a huge game, adding 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Canadians will face Brazil in the final on Day 15. They will be hoping to follow after the women’s team, who won TO2015 gold earlier in the Games.
After finishing second with a 4-1 record in the round robin portion of the competition, Canada played the top-ranked United States in the semifinal, from which the winner would advance directly to the gold medal game on Sunday. Canada’s only loss in the round robin had been 7-0 to the USA. The Americans struck early in the semi, putting up three runs in the bottom of the first inning. That was the difference as Canada could only put one on the board in each of the second and fifth innings to lose 5-2. That places Canada into Saturday’s game against Puerto Rico from which the winner will play the USA for gold while the loser will take home bronze.
“We are right where we need to be,” said coach Mark Smith. “This was a really good test for us tonight. We knew it would be tough and it was. The girls are building and confidence is right where it needs to be. We need to take care of business (Saturday) night but I am excited about Sunday.”
Canada lost their semifinal matchup 3-1 to Argentina on Day 14 and will play in the bronze medal match on Sunday. Canada kept it close in every set, but was unable to score the clutch points that were needed against a strong Argentinian squad. Gavin Schmitt did his best to lead the Canadian men to the gold medal final, but the effort fell just short.
The women’s baseball team was defeated 3-1 in their final preliminary round game against the USA on Friday. Starting pitcher Jessica Bérubé pitched 5.1 innings, giving up only 2 earned runs while striking out 7. Second baseman Nicole Luchanski went 2-for-4 and had the lone Canadian RBI. By virtue of their second place finish in the round robin, they will take on Venezuela in the bronze medal match on Saturday with the winner advancing to face the United States for gold on Sunday.
For full Team Canada results from Day 14, click here.