AP Photo/David J. Phillip - Rowing Canada Aviron - COC/Thomas Skrlj
AP Photo/David J. Phillip - Rowing Canada Aviron - COC/Thomas Skrlj

Weekend Roundup: Women’s eight rows to gold, Diamond League record for Rogers

Team Canada’s women’s eight was in fine form at the World Rowing Cup II in Switzerland as they set their sights on defending Olympic gold this summer.

In Oregon, world champion hammer thrower Camryn Rogers put her name on another record. Meanwhile over in Europe, triathlete Charles Paquet and mountain biker Gunnar Holmgren achieved career highlights in the last races before the Olympic qualification window closed in their sports.

Here’s a quick look back at the excitement you may have missed:

Rowing: Women’s eight wins World Cup gold

Team Canada’s women’s eight got the good times rolling in the leadup to Paris 2024. They won gold at the World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday, despite a last minute crew change.

READ: Canada reaches podium pinnacle at Lucerne Regatta

The crew of Abby Dent, Kristina Walker, Sydney Payne, Kristen Siermachesky, Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, Maya Meschkuleit, Caileigh Filmer, Jessica Sevick and coxswain Kristen Kit completed the 2000-metre course on the Rotsee in 6:04.47 to finish more than a second ahead of the runners-up from Great Britain (6:05.57) and the bronze medallists from the United States (6:08.77). Siermachesky was a late substitute for Avalon Wasteneys, who was unavailable because of illness, which also meant that Dent had to move up to the stroke seat.

Wasteneys, along with Gruchalla-Wesierski, Payne, and Kit, were in the Canadian crew that captured Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020.

The only other Canadian crew in Lucerne was the women’s lightweight double sculls tandem of Jill Moffatt and Jenny Casson. They finished fourth in 7:03.43, just two seconds back of the bronze medallists from the United States. Great Britain and New Zealand finished first and second, respectively. Moffatt and Casson have been working on some new race tactics, which they will continue to refine in the hopes of reaching the Olympic podium in Paris.

Athletics: Diamond League record for Camryn Rogers

Camryn Rogers captured the gold medal in the women’s hammer throw at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, setting a meet and Diamond League record in the process.

Rogers’ throw of 77.76 metres was her best of the season as she defeated American DeAnna Price (76.74m) by more than a metre. Another American, Brooke Andersen (76.34m), took the bronze.

READ: Camryn Rogers sets Diamond League record at Prefontaine Classic

The hammer throw, which is not usually part of the Diamond League circuit, was presented as a promotional event at the meet in Eugene, Oregon.

Canada’s other world champion hammer thrower, Ethan Katzberg, won four competitions around Europe in five days, starting last Wednesday. He threw further than 80 metres in three of those victories.

Also at the Prefontaine Classic, Aaron Brown finished sixth in the men’s 200m in 20.47 seconds.

Triathlon: Seventh heaven for Charles Paquet in Cagliari

In the last race to count towards Olympic qualification, Charles Paquet created another career highlight for himself. He finished seventh at the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) event in Cagliari, Italy, just two weeks after his career-best fifth-place finish on the WTCS two weeks ago in Yokohama, Japan.

Paquet concluded the Olympic distance race in 1:40:43, putting him 16 seconds out of a podium position. He had kept pace with the top contenders throughout all three legs of the race. With the result, Paquet has jumped ahead of Tyler Mislawchuk to be Canada’s top-ranked triathlete, moving up four spots to number 19 in the World Triathlon Rankings. Mislawchuk withdrew from the race following the swimming leg.

With the close of the Olympic Qualification Rankings, Canada is set to have two men and one woman on the start lines at Paris 2024.

Mountain Bike: Top eight for Gunnar Holmgren

It was also the end of the Olympic qualification window for mountain bike, so no better time for Gunnar Holmgren to earn a career-best result on the UCI World Cup circuit. Holmgren finished eighth in the men’s elite cross-country race in Nové Mesto na Morave, Czechia on Sunday, following his 15th place finish in the short track event the day before.

Holmgren was the gold medallist at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games. He finished Sunday’s race in 1:22:54, leaving him 29 seconds back of the podium. Jenn Jackson was the top Canadian in the women’s elite cross-country race, finishing 29th.

Quota spots for Paris 2024 will be allocated based on the UCI Mountain Bike OIympic Qualification Ranking. For each gender, the top eight countries get two spots, while nations ranked nine to 19 get one spot.

Volleyball: Canadian men stay even through first week of Volleyball Nations League

In their tune-up for Paris 2024, the Canadian men are 2-2 after the first week of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in Antalya, Türkiye.

Ranked 12th in the world, Team Canada opened their play in Pool 1 with a 3-1 win over the host team from Türkiye on Tuesday, but then fell 3-1 to world number one Poland on Thursday. They bounced back to solidly defeat Bulgaria 3-0 on Friday, before ending up on the wrong side of a five-set showdown with seventh-ranked Slovenia.

The second week of VNL action will bring the team home to Canada. They’ll play Cuba, Argentina, the United States, and Serbia in Ottawa from June 4 to 9.

Hockey: Canada falls to Sweden in battle world championship bronze

Team Canada kept pace with Sweden for much of the bronze medal game at the IIHF World Championship but fell 4-2 in the end. Canada misses the tournament’s podium for the first time since a similar fourth-place finish in 2018.

Dylan Cozens and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored in the bronze medal game, with Dubois’ goal putting Canada up 2-1 midway through the second period before Carl Grundstrom scored his second of the game for Sweden, pushing them to their eventual victory.

Canada's goalkeeper Jordan Binnington makes a save in front of Sweden's Victor Hedman during the bronze medal match between Sweden and Canada at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, May 26, 2024.
Canada’s goalkeeper Jordan Binnington, center, makes a save in front of Sweden’s Victor Hedman, left, during the bronze medal match between Sweden and Canada at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, May 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Cozens led all players with nine goals in the tournament, helping keep Canada in contention despite some difficult games.

Canada had missed out on playing in a fifth straight gold medal game when they lost to Switzerland in a shootout in the semifinals, after having gone undefeated in the preliminary round and quarterfinals.

READ: Canada falls to Switzerland in IIHF World Championship semifinal

This ends the winter sport season. The next big international event for men’s hockey is the NHL 4 Nations Face-Off featuring Canada, the United States, Finland, and Sweden in February 2025. That will be a precursor to the Milano Cortina 2026 Olympic Winter Games, which are set to welcome back NHL players to the men’s hockey tournament for the first time since Sochi 2014.