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Olympics2012Olympic Hot Sheet: Canada's last chance for gold?

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 | 04:27 PM

Categories: Olympics2012

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Canada's Catharine Pendrel is the favourite to win gold in the women's mountain bike event. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) Canada's Catharine Pendrel is the favourite to win gold in the women's mountain bike event. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

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A guide to what happened Friday, and what to look for Saturday, at the Olympics in London, including mountain bike favourite Catharine Pendrel's bid to win Canada's second (and probably last) gold of the Games.
A guide to what happened Friday, and what to look for Saturday, at the Olympics in London, including mountain bike favourite Catharine Pendrel's bid to win Canada's second (and probably last) gold of the Games.

Three's company

Another day, another third-place finish for Canada, this time with marathon swimmer Richard Weinberger picking up the bronze in the men's 10-kilometre open-water event on Day 14.

With two days left, 11 of Canada's 17 medals are bronze. Th country's 11:1 ratio of bronze to gold is easily the highest of any nation with at least one gold. The closest are Colombia (4:1), Brazil (7:2) and Japan (16:5).

Wrestler Matt Gentry almost made it 12:1, but he lost his bronze match, keeping Canada without a men's wrestling medal since Daniel Igali captured gold in 2000. Canadian women have won five wrestling medals over the last three Olympics - three by Tonya Verbeek, who won silver on Thursday, and two by Carol Huynh, who got a bronze Wednesday to add to her '08 gold.

More medal chances for Canada

Canada's last best chance to add another gold medal comes Saturday when Catharine Pendrel competes in the women's mountain bike event at 7:30 a.m. ET. Pendrel is the reigning world champion and she won the test event in London last year, so she's the favourite to win Olympic gold.

Before the Olympics, Pendrel was the surprise winner of a contest we devised to find out who the public wanted to be Canada's flag bearer for the opening ceremony. Simon Whitfield ended up getting the honour, but Pendrel can put herself in contention for the job at the closing ceremony with a victory on Saturday. Right now, soccer star Christine Sinclair is the front-runner, at least according to your votes.

Kayaker Mark de Jonge didn't have Pendrel's level of status coming into the Olympics, but he posted the fastest overall time in the semifinals of the men's 200m singles event, which is making its Olympic debut. The final goes at 4:30 a.m. ET.

Canada also has a boat in the kayak 200m doubles final. Ryan Cochrane (not the swimmer) and Hugues Fournel race at 5:41 a.m. ET.

Really good relays

The U.S. women's 4x100m relay team won gold for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Games, and they did so in a world-record time of 40.82 seconds, smashing the previous mark of 41.37 seconds set by East Germany [/raises eyebrows] in 1985.

The Canadian men's 4x100 team raised eyebrows too by running the third-best overall time in the heats, behind the U.S. and favourite Jamaica (Great Britain ran a faster time than Canada but was disqualified for an illegal exchange). The final goes Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

Looking ahead...

Other interesting events on Saturday:

  • Rising Canadian 5,000-metre runner Cam Levins races in the men's final at 2:30 p.m. ET. The crowd favourite is Great Britain's Mo Farah, who's the reigning world champ and last week won the 10,000m gold.
  • Brazil and Mexico play for men's soccer gold at 10 a.m. ET. Brazil's 20-year-old forward Neymar has a chance to burnish his status as the Next Big Thing in the sport.

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