© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated
Today, Athletics Canada named the 65 athletes that will represent the nation in the sport of track and field and road running and race-walking events during the 2016 Rio Olympics Games. This is likely the most competitive athletics team fielded by Canada at any global championships, even though there are several top quality athletes that did not make the team.
There were some surprises; however, most of the athletes that were selected were expected to be named. The complete list is below.
After much concern for Lanni Marchant’s inclusion in the marathon event, A.C. named her to compete in both the 10,000-metres and the marathon. The concern that A.C. apparently had, leading up to the selection day was that the marathon takes place just 46 hours after the 10,000-metres. The obvious worry is whether she would be able to race her best in the marathon. Athletics Canada cannot be blamed for this.
She did make an effort to demonstrate competitive readiness 46 hours after winning the national 10K championships in May in Ottawa, by running a 30K time trial at marathon pace in very warm temperatures. She did an excellent job of proving fitness.
She is the national record holder and owns the two fastest times, all-time: 2:28.00 and 2:28.09.
There was some public debate as to whether the national Head Coach Peter Eriksson, had told her over the phone to expect a “no” in regards to being selected to run the marathon.
Marchant will be accompanied by teammate Natasha Wodak in the 10,000m. Wodak is the national record holder in the 10K with her 31:41.59. There were initial concerns that Wodak may not make the team due to her experiencing some injury in early 2016. She too has demonstrated competitive readiness and is fit and ready for Rio.
One surprise name not on the list is Black Creek’s Cameron Levins. Levins is a 2012 London Olympian in both the 10,000 and 5,000-metre events and holds the national record in the 10,000m at 27:07.51. He is also a bronze medallist from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Apparently, he did not demonstrate competitive readiness leading up to the national championships and therefore was not selected.
During the Rio Olympic Trials, there was no 10,000-metre race. There was however, the 5,000-metre event and he failed to run well, finishing in seventh place in the time of 14:16.02.
Vancouver’s Rachel Cliff was on the proverbial bubble. Leading up to the trials, she was getting close to running under the standard in the 10,000-metres and 5,000-metres, but was not surpassing the standards. She did eventually run a local meet in Vancouver, pipping the 5,000m benchmark by finishing in 15:23.94 – the standard is 15:24.00. There was hope. But during the trials, she would need to finish first or second. She finished fourth in 16:10.98.
The women’s 800-metre event was looking very deep over the past few years, led by Eganville’s Melissa Bishop who owns the national record at 1:57.52. She is named to the team, however, 2012 London Olympian and 2015 World Championships competitors Jessica Smith of North Vancouver and Fiona Benson of Langley did not make the cut.
Toronto’s Gabriela Stafford must be over the moon. She was a late qualifier with her 4:06.53 performance on June 12 in the Portland Twilight meet, just barely taking the 4:07.00 standard, and then she demonstrated competitive readiness during the trials finishing first by defeating Canadian veterans in Nicole Sifuentes and Hilary Stellingwerff in a tactical race that required a sprint to win. A.C. named all three to the team.
Two Vancouver athletes of note to make the team are Luc Bruchet in the 5,000-metre event and Maria Bernard in the 3,000-metre Steeplechase. Like Stafford, Bruchet and Bernard qualified late during the Portland Twilight meet on June 12th this year. Bruchet with his 13:24.10 and Bernard, just bettering the standard of 9:45.00 with her 9:44.81, both new personal bests.
During the trials Bruchet demonstrated that he is ready to compete finishing second to national record holder Mo Ahmed by less than two seconds. They finished in 14:00.93 and 14:02.37, respectively.
Canada has several opportunities to medal at the Rio Olympic Games. The favourites – although anything can and usually does happen at a global championships are mentioned below. The names below are just a few examples and are a matter of opinion:
Brianne Theisen-Eaton in the heptathlon, she is a three-time silver medallist in the IAAF World Track and Field Championships (once indoors, twice outdoors) and finally won gold during the 2015 Beijing world champs.
Melissa Bishop earned a silver medal at the 2015 Beijing worlds and set the national 800-metre record in the process. She is firing on all cylinders at this time.
Andre De Grasse in the sprints will likely medal in both the 100-metre, 200-metre and potentially the 4 x 100-metre relay.
In race-walking Canada is fielding a very strong team with the likes of Benjamin Thorne, Evan Dunfee, Mathieu Bilodeau, and Inaki Gomez. On any given day, any of these athletes can earn an international medal. The rise of Canadian race-walking that is taking place at the confluence of eliminating doping, especially in this event, will provide Canada with an opportunity for multiple medals. Something that has not happened before in this event.
|Kelsie||Ahbe||Toronto, ON||Pole Vault|
|Mohammed||Ahmed||St. Catharines, ON||5000m, 10,000m|
|Mobolade||Ajomale||Richmond Hill, ON||4x100m Relay|
|Shawn||Barber||Toronto, ON||Pole Vault|
|Maria||Bernard||Calgary, AB||3000m Steeplechase|
|Mathieu||Bilodeau||Calgary, AB||50km Race Walk|
|Khamica||Bingham||Brampton, ON||4x100m Relay|
|Aaron||Brown||Toronto, ON||100m, 200m, 4x100m Relay|
|Alicia||Brown||Ottawa, ON||400m, 4x400m Relay|
|Johnathan||Cabral||Péribonka, QC||110m Hurdles|
|Chanice||Chase||Toronto, ON||400m Hurdles, 4x400m Relay|
|Kendra||Clarke||Edmonton, AB||400m, 4x400m Relay|
|Brittany||Crew||East York, ON||Shot Put|
|Andre||De Grasse||Markham, ON||100m, 200m, 4x100m Relay|
|Derek||Drouin||Corunna, ON||High Jump|
|Evan||Dunfee||Richmond, BC||20km & 50km Race Walk|
|Crystal||Emmanuel||East York, ON||100m, 200m, 4x100m Relay|
|Phylicia||George||Markham, ON||100m Hurdles, 4x100m Relay|
|Inaki||Gomez||Vancouver, BC||20km Racewalk|
|Akeem||Haynes||Calgary, AB||100m, 4x100m Relay|
|Nikkita||Holder||Pickering, ON||100m Hurdles|
|Matthew||Hughes||Oshawa, ON||3000m Steeplechase|
|Kimberly||Hyacinthe||Terrebonne, QC||200m, 4x100m Relay|
|Farah||Jacques||Gatineau, QC||4x100m Relay|
|Sekou||Kaba||Ottawa, ON||110m Hurdles|
|Marissa||Kurtimah||Guelph, ON||4x100m Relay|
|Genevieve||Lalonde||Moncton, NB||3000m Steeplechase|
|Oluwasegun||Makinde||Ottawa, ON||4x100m Relay|
|Lanni||Marchant||London, ON||10,000m, Marathon|
|Mike||Mason||Nanoose Bay, BC||High Jump|
|Taylor||Milne||Callander, ON||3000m Steeplechase|
|Noelle||Montcalm||Belle River, ON||400m Hurdles|
|Carline||Muir||Edmonton, AB||400m, 4x400m Relay|
|Tim||Nedow||Brockville, ON||Shot Put|
|Christabel||Nettey||Surrey, BC||Long Jump|
|Annika||Newell||Scarborough, ON||Pole Vault|
|Alysha||Newman||London, ON||Pole Vault|
|Charles||Philibert-Thiboutot||Quebec City, QC||1500m|
|Brendon||Rodney||Brampton, ON||200m, 4x100m Relay|
|Heather||Steacy||Lethbridge, AB||Hammer Throw|
|Taryn||Suttie||Hanley, SK||Shot Put|
|Erin||Teschuk||Winnipeg, MB||3000m Steeplechase|
|Benjamin||Thorne||Kitimat, BC||20km Race Walk|
|Alyxandria||Treasure||Prince George, BC||High Jump|
|Sage||Watson||Medicine Hat, AB||400m Hurdles, 4x400m Relay|
|Angela||Whyte||Edmonton, AB||100m Hurdles|
|Chris||Winter||North Vancouver, BC||3000m Steeplechase|
|Coaches and Support Team|
|Team Leader||Peter||Eriksson||Ottawa, ON|
|Throws Coordinator||Jeff||Huntoon||Toronto, ON|
|Team Manager||Jared||MacLeod||Winnipeg, MB|
|Technical Manager||Ingrid||Ruys||Victoria, BC|
|Assistant Manager||Jessica||Scarlato||Richmond Hill, ON|