© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated
Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton went into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with the goal of winning the gold medal in the heptathlon. She was ranked world number one and is the IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships gold medallist from 2015.
Theisen-Eaton is also a three-time silver medallist from the worlds, two outdoors and one indoors.
She finished third for bronze in Rio.
Coming from behind during day two of the heptathlon, Theisen-Eaton finished fifth in the final event, the 800-metre run, which is likely her best event.
Theisen-Eaton had a rough start to the heptathlon and finished day one in sixth place.
Where she faultered the most was in the shot put, going just 13.45-metres, where 21-year-old Nafissatou Thiam, the eventual gold medallist, who hails from Belgium led the way with a 14.91m put. Sixteen athletes threw farther than Theisen-Eaton.
Where she came back was in the long jump going 6.48m, for fourth, but then faltered a little once again with the second-to-last event the javelin, throwing 47.36m for 11th best in the discipline. It was the 800m and long jump that allowed her to medal.
She told CBC, “I came here for gold, but I am happy.”
Windor’s Brandon McBride unfortunately did not move on in the 800-metres as he was eliminated during the semi-finals. He ran in the second heat of three in the time of 1:45.41 for sixth place.
Just two from his heat moved on to the final, which will happen Monday. Alfred Kipketer of Kenya won in a controlled effort in the time of 1:44.38, while the second place finisher Boris Berian, the former McDonald’s employee who was saved by American middle-distance runner Brenda Martinez finished in 1:44.56. Martinez is competing in Rio in the 1500m event.
The fastest of the three heats in the semis was Frenchman Pierre-Ambrose Bosse, who won heat one in the time of 1:43.85. The race required a photo-finish review to find out who won between Bosse and Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria who were credited with the same time.
The favourite, David Rudisha of Kenya won the third heat in, for him, he finished in a leisurely time of 1:43.88. Rudisha is the world record holder with his best of 1:40.91. He is also the reigning Olympic and World Champion.
McBride ran the 14th fastest time of the semi-final out of 24 remaining athletes. There will be eight athletes in the final and the favourite continues to be Rudisha.
In the men’s 10,000-metre race, Toronto’s Mohammed Ahmed finished well back in the field. Ahmed owns the national record in the 5,000m, which he is competing in during the Rio Olympics and is the second fastest active Canadian in the 10,000-metres. Cam Levins who competed in the 2012 London Olympics was not running at his usual level leading up to the national championships and was not selected to run for team Canada, he is the national record holder.
The race was won by Great Britain’s Mo Farah, who had been tripped by training partner Galen Rupp, the defending Olympic silver medallist, who did not medal today.
Farah got up and turned on the jets to win the race, becoming a back-to-back Olympic gold medallist in the event. He is also the back-to-back gold medallist from IAAF World Track and Field Championships, which he has also done in the 5,000-metre event. He finished today’s race in the time of 27:05.17.
Paul Tanui of Kenya finished second in the time of 27:05.64, while Ethiopian Tamirat Tola earned the bronze medal 27:06.26. Ahmed finished in 29:32.84, which would have put him in third place in the women’s race.
Women’s 3,000m steeplechase
Monday morning will see Montreal’s Genevieve Lalonde run for a medal in the 3,000m steeplechase, as she had the race of her life in the semi-final race finishing in the time of 9:30.24 for 14th position, to be the second-to-last athlete to qualify.
Bahrainian Ruth Jebet was the quickest qualifier with the time of 9:12.62.
Andre De Grasse of Toronto is the only Canadian to move on in the 100-metre sprints, making it through the first two rounds. He ran as fast as 10.01. Sunday, he will race twice in his attempt to medal. He owns a personal best of 9.92.
Carline Muir of Toronto ran in the eighth and final heat in the 400m sprint, finishing second in the time of 51.57 to finish as the 16th fastest out of 24 semi-final qualifiers and 57 total athletes. She will compete in the semi-finals on Sunday afternoon, where there will be three heats to determine who will make the final and an opportunity for a medal.
During the women’s 10,000m event on Friday, Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak and London’s Lanni Marchant competed, however, they did not medal as they found themselves in the fastest 10,000m race in history.
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana won in the time of 29:17.45, taking nearly 14 seconds off of the 23-year-old record set by Chinese runner Wang Junxia, who held the record since 1993, her record stood until Friday at 29:31.78.
Junxia’s record was set when she was running under the direction of Ma Junren, who was later disciplined for having his athletes test positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Wodak finished in 22nd position, while Marchant finished in 25th. They ran well, finishing in 31:53.14 and 32:04.21. Wodak is the national record holder for 10,000m with her 31:41.59 performance from May of last year, while Marchant owns the third fastest Canadian time.
Marchant will be racing in the marathon Sunday. She owns the national record in that distance at 2:28:00. Brantford’s Krista DuChene will also compete in the event very early Sunday morning.
Men’s Racewalk – 20-kilometres
Canada had three athletes competing in the 20-kilometre race walk. Vancouver’s Evan Dunfee finished in 10th position. He was expected to medal, however, did not have the day he was hoping for, finishing in the time of 1:20:49. China’s Wang Zhen won the race in 1:19.14; second place went to Cai Zelin of China 12 seconds back and third to Dane Bird-Smith of Australia.
The two other Canadians in the race were Inaki Gomez and Benjamin Thorne who finished in 12th and 27th respectively.
Nicole Sifuentes remains the only Canadian in the women’s 1500-metres. She is a world indoors bronze medallist and was the fastest Canadian leading up to Rio, once Sheila Reid of Toronto was out due to injury.
Nicole Sifuentes of Winnipeg will move onto the semi-finals. Canada had three athletes compete in the first round in Victoria’s Hilary Sifuentes and Toronto’s Gabriela Stafford. The two are at opposite ends of the career pendulum with Stellingwerff at 35 closer to retirement, while Stafford burst onto the scene this year.
Stellingwerff was disappointed. Four years ago, she was robbed at an opportunity to race in the finals of the 2012 London Olympics because of Russian and Turkish athletes that beat her went on to test positive for performance enhancing drugs. In fact, to date, exactly half of the finishers in the final race have been since banned.
Sifuentes finished in the time of 4:07.43, which is the 12th fastest time out of the three heats. She owns a personal best of 4:03.97 from June of this year.
See the Rio athletics schedule, here>>