Islanders support Jared Connaughton after bronze blow

Islanders say P.E.I. sprinter Jared Connaughton handled yesterday's Olympic defeat with grace.
Jared Connaughton apologized for Team Canada's disqualification yesterday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Islanders say P.E.I. sprinter Jared Connaughton handled yesterday's Olympic defeat with grace.

Connaughton and his teammates in the 4x100 metre relay race were disqualified after he stepped slightly out of bounds.

Team Canada would have scored a bronze medal.

"I can live with it. I'm a man, and I can take it on the chin," he told CBC News Saturday. "But for Justyn, Seyi, Gavin, not to have a bronze medal is the most disappointing thing of it all."

His dad, Neal Connaughton, who was watching from the stands, says the officials were wrong.

But he's proud of how Jared responded.

"I'm real, real proud of the way he's handling himself. I don't think he could have represented Canada any better. Maybe he doesn't have a medal. But maybe he has a different kind of medal."

Connaughton's former coach says he's also proud of the 27-year-old sprinter.

"We were pretty elated, then when the DQ came, things got pretty quiet," Colin MacAdam, Connaughton's former running coach said. "It was tough."

MacAdam says Connaughton's ability to discuss the defeat to media soon after was admirable, and not out of the runner's character.

Connaughton apologized for the misstep.

But MacAdam says the rules are fair, even though they're much tougher than they used to be just a few years ago.

In the past a few steps across a running lane was overlooked.

Now that’s not the case, but MacAdam says the updated rules are there for a reason.

"The closer to the line you run, the shorter distance you run. They decide that this is the line, if you step on it, you're out," MacAdam said. "Kind of like in a basketball game or in a game of tennis, we're always looking at line violations, and that's the way it is now."

MacAdam says it's a good thing the team is young, because they hopefully will get another chance at a medal during the next Olympics.

Connaughton will return to P.E.I. tomorrow.