An emotional day for Canadians: Mo Ahmed, Gord Downie and Melissa Bishop, all class

August 21, 2016 0

© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated

Today was an emotional day for Canadians.


Athletics Illustrated file photo.

Toronto’s Mohammed Ahmed, the national record holder in the 5,000-metre event made the Olympic final. Today he raced and acquitted himself well. He was in contention for a medal with less than 100-metres to go; however, he was jostled by an Ethiopian runner and seemed to lose his rhythm. He finished fifth.

The Ethiopian was disqualified, but that doesn’t change Ahmed’s disappointment. He told CBC after the race, “I put everything into this….and… I am very disappointed.” He is credited with fourth and the time of 13:05.94. His national record is 13:01.74.

The race was won by Great Britain’s Mo Farah, who is the double 5,000/10,000metre champion in both the London Olympics and Rio, making him a double-double champion, like Usain Bolt’s triple-triple*.

Farah also won the double gold in the 2013 and 2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships that took place in Moscow and Beijing respectively.

*Jamaica’s Nesta Carter tested positive for a banned performance enhancing drug. The Jamaican team was stripped of their gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The Tragically Hip

The CBC Olympic coverage was interrupted by the live broadcast of the final Tragically Hip concert from their hometown of Kingston, Ontario, where they played to a packed Rogers K-Rock House arena and into three ovations, which they had never done before. There was approximately 20,000 more people outside viewing the concert on a big screen. There where outdoor viewing parties across the country.

Lead singer and lyricist Gord Downie is suffering from inoperable terminal brain cancer. The Kingston concert was the final concert of their cross-Canada tour that started in Victoria, BC.

It was an emotional farewell concert. Many people, men and women, could be seen in tears throughout.

Women’s 800-metre finalBishop_FlashVictoria2015

Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ontario is the national record holder in the 800-metre distance. She won a silver medal at the 2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships that took place in Beijing. She was poised to medal and had a real chance at gold at the Rio Olympics until the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overruled the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – the world governing body of the sport – on their decision to control testosterone levels in women who have a condition called hyperandrogenism, where they produce excessive volumes of testosterone –  a proven performance enhancer; they are neither classically male or classically female.

During the race, Bishop smashed her own national record by nearly half a second finishing in 1:57.02. Her previous record set in Edmonton this year was 1:57.43. She is the first Canadian to run under 1:58 and was just the third Canadian all-time to run under 2:00 after Diane Cummins and Charmaine Crooks.

The top three finishers were Caster Semenya of South Africa, who finished in 1:55.28, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi with the time of 1:56.49 and bronze went to Margaret Wambui of Kenya. All three appear masculine; they are heavily muscled and flat-chested.

In theory, Bishop may have been the first place finisher who is classically female.

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