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Olympics2012Olympic Hot Sheet: Canada scores bronze hat trick

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | 05:13 PM

Categories: Olympics2012

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The bronze medal won by Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard on Tuesday. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press) The bronze medal won by Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard on Tuesday. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)

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A guide to what happened Tuesday, and what to look for Wednesday, at the Olympic Games in London, including Canada's bronze-medal hat trick and Michael Phelps' ascension to the title of most decorated Olympian ever.
A guide to what happened Tuesday, and what to look for Wednesday, at the Olympic Games in London.

Welcome to the Bronze Age

Canada scored a bronze-medal hat trick on Tuesday, with third-place finishes by weightlifter Christine Girard, judoka Antoine Valois-Fortier and synchronized divers Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion. The run of podiums, which came in a short span just before lunch time in the Eastern time zone, raised Canada's medal count to four - all bronze.

New medal king

Michael Phelps fulfilled his quest to become the most decorated Olympian of all time by reaching the podium twice - first as the silver medallist in the 200-metre butterfly, then as part of the U.S. team's dominating gold-medal victory in the 4x200 freestyle. With those performances, Phelps equalled and surpassed the previous mark of 18 medals held since 1964 by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.

Sweet moment, for sure, but it didn't come without a bitter defeat. In the 200 fly, Phelps' signature event, he was overtaken by South Africa's Chad le Clos, who denied Phelps' bid for a third straight Olympic gold in the event.

The never-ending set

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga outlasted Canadian Milos Raonic 25-23 (not a typo) in the third and deciding set of their second-round men's singles match at Wimbledon. The three-hour, 257-point frame ended when Tsonga was finally able to break Raonic's formidable serve.

It sounds all dramatic, but if you actually watched the match, you know it had the feel of one of those four-overtime playoff games from the NHL's trap era. With both guys understandably fatigued and incapable of breaking the other's serve, it wasn't exactly a showcase of shot-making. At some point, you probably decided you just wanted it to end.

It could've been worse, though. At the 2010 Wimbledon tournament, Nicolas Mahut and John Isner played a 70-68 fifth set in the first round. Isner won, but then again, no one really wins a match like that, you know? Our suggestion: it's time for the Olympics, and Wimbledon, to join everyone else and include the final-set tiebreaker.

Even with the loss, the Raonic match turned out to be the highlight of a bad day for Canadian tennis. Aleksandra Wozniak was crushed by Venus Williams in women's singles, and the doubles team of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil lost its second-round match as well.

Breakout soccer star

Christine Sinclair is the best player in the history of Canadian women's soccer, but she hasn't been the star of the London Olympics. That title goes to Melissa Tancredi, who scored two more goals on Tuesday to rally Canada from a two-goal deficit to a 2-2 draw against Sweden that sent the Canadians ahead to the knockout round.

Tancredi, a forward from Ancaster, Ont., leads all scorers in the women's tournament with four goals (Sinclair has two), and has tallied in each of Canada's three matches.

Canada finished the round-robin stage at 1-1-1, third in its group behind Sweden and Japan, but earned one of the two wild-card spots in the knockout round of eight. Next up for the Canadians is a quarter-final matchup against host Great Britain (3-0-0).

Looking ahead...

  • The Canadian men's eight crew will defend its Olympic title in Wednesday's final at 5:30 a.m. ET. The team looked sluggish in a fourth-place finish in its heat before rebounding with a second-place showing in the semis. Germany, winner of the last three world titles, is heavily favoured for gold, probably leaving Canada to battle for the remaining podium spots with the U.S. and Britain.
  • Canadian pairs rowers Scott Frandsen and Dave Calder return to action in the semifinals at 6 a.m. ET as they continue their quest for a second consecutive Olympic medal.
  • One of the most anticipated swimming events kicks off with the heats of the men's 200 IM. Phelps and fellow American Ryan Lochte are considered co-favourites.
  • We'll find out how far Canadian diving star Alex Despatie has come in his recovery from a concussion when he competes in his first event - the 3m synchro with teammate Reuben Ross.
  • Cyclists Ryder Hesjedal and Clara Hughes hit the road again for the men's and women's time trials. Hughes, who finished well back in the road race, can become Canada's all-time Olympic medal leader if she reaches the podium.

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