TOKYO: Rowing bronze and other Canadian university takeaways from Day 6

TORONTO, CANADA – Marnie McBean’s drum could be heard across the world. Canada’s chef de mission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, is attending as many Team Canada events as she can. On Day 6, she made her presence known at the Saitama Super Arena. 

With MacBean’s drum and voice beamed over the pacific and into Canada, those at home looked through their screens as Canada’s women’s basketball team won their first game of the Olympics. 

“It might look lonely – but I’m sitting with 37 million others,” she said on social media about a photo of her sitting alone, drum in hand. If fans and visitors were allowed at the Tokyo 2020 Games, McBean would be surrounded by many a fellow Canadian. 

Alas, she sits alone, shouting and banging her drum, as Canadians look on through pixels from thousands of kilometres away. 

The basketball game was not the first time that McBean has been spotted with her drum. She was in Fukushima when Canada opened the Olympics in women’s softball, and she trecked to Kashima for Canada’s women’s soccer match against Great Britain. Canada’s chef de mission knows she is the only fan, and she is supporting every Canadian athlete. 

Of those Canadian athletes, nearly a third of them directly connect to U SPORTS and Canadian university athletics. Even some of the medallists on Day 6. 

UBC’s Hillary Janssens and partner Caleigh Filmer win rowing bronze

Caleigh Filmer calls it “going internal.”

“It means I wasn’t going to look out, and I didn’t care what other crews were doing,” she told media after winning the bronze medal in the women’s pairs. The pair of Filmer and Janssens did just that as they rowed their way to Olympic bronze. 

The British Columbia-based pair began the race fast, crossing the first 500m intervals in the gold medal position. After that, however, they slipped in the latter portions of the race and narrowly put themselves on the podium. 

While New Zealand and the Russian Olympic Committee’s boats rowed past, the Canadian pair kept their eyes and mind on the task at hand and pushed themselves towards the bronze medal. 

“ “I was just listening to Caileigh; she was calling the perfect race,” Janssens told the CBC’s Marivel Taruc on the broadcast. “It’s been a long extra year, and we’re just really happy we got here, and we were able to come away with it.”

Their podium finished marked Canada’s tenth of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 10th by Canadian women. 

The bronze medal in an early pairs race is a welcome sign for Canadian rowing, which only grabbed one silver medal five years ago at Rio 2016. There are 10 Canadian boats at the 2020 Olympic Regata; the most Canada has sent since Atlanta 1996. 

Men’s rowing pair falls short

While Janssens and Filmer grabbed a bronze medal, the same can’t be said for University of Victoria alumnus Kai Langerfelt and his partner Conlin McCabe. North Vancouver’s Langerfelt and Brockville’s McCabe were in third after the first 500m, but slipped into fourth and couldn’t quite make it into third in time. 

If the race were another 100m long, maybe the Canadian pair is on the podium. Langerfelt and McCabe finished with a time of 6:20.43, just over half a second behind the Danish boat that won bronze in 6:19.88.

Fourth place at the Olympic Games isn’t bad, however, 

Shady El Nahas loses bronze in judo

Canadian judo has been incredibly successful in Tokyo. A week ago, no Canadian woman had ever won an Olympic judo medal; now, Jessica Klimkait and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard have one to their name. 

Canada's Shady Elnahas
(Team Canada)

The men, however, have not been so lucky to end up on the podium. Former York University wrestler Shady El Nahas came within a point of a bronze medal in the men’s 100kg event on Day 6. After losing in the quarter-finals, Toronto’s El Nahas fought his way into a bronze medal bout through the repechage.

He came close to a win but eventually fell to Portugal’s Jorge Fonseca, who earned his nation’s first medal in Tokyo. 

Women’s basketball wins against South Korea

With Marnie McBean and her drum in the crowd, the Canadian women’s basketball team won their first game of the Olympic tournament, defeating South Korea 72-53. The team is led by University of Saskatchewan Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis, while X Rams Head Coach is an assistant. 

Canada’s next game is against Spain on July 31.

Beach Volleyball positive and negative

A POSITIVE: York Lions alumna Melissa Humana-Pardes and Sarah Pavan won their group and are onto the knockout stages of the women’s volleyball tournament. They’re World Rank #1 and are gold medal favourites. 

A NEGATIVE: The OUA graduate duo of Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson dropped their final match of Olympic group play against Brazil on Day 6, putting them in third place at the end of the group stage. 

With their preliminary finish, they will have to win the Lucky Loser round for a place in the round of 16. 

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