Canada's Sergerie kicks to taekwondo silver
Quebec athlete is edged out by South Korean world champ in 67-kg class
Karine Sergerie fought her way to Canada's best-ever finish in taekwondo at the Olympic Games, winning silver in the 67-kilogram event on Day 14 of competition in Beijing.
The 23-year-old from Ste-Catherine, Que., lost a close gold-medal bout to the defending and reigning world champion, South Korea's Kyungseon Hwang.
The bronze medallist at the 2004 Olympic Games, the South Korean beat Sergerie 2-1, scoring her final point in the last 30 seconds.
"The gold medal was the dream for me. I'm happy that I have the silver and I hope my country is proud of me, but this silver just pushes me even harder to come back and win that gold medal," Sergerie told CBC.
Sergerie scored the first point of the match on a defensive kick with less than 30 seconds to go in the first round. Her opponent equalized things in the second, scoring a point near the end of the round on an offensive kick.
In the third and final period, it looked as though the match might end in a tie and go to the judge's decision, but South Korea's competitor landed a defensive kick in the final seconds of the round. Sergerie was unable to score another point.
"I knew right after the fight … that I made a mistake [of not making the most of her opportunities] and that I could have scored a few points that would have made the fight a little less tight," said Sergerie, who revealed she felt tired in the final moments of the bout.
"My body couldn't give me anything else," Sergerie admitted.
Her father Rejean, who doubles as her coach, wasn't able to make the trip to Beijing, but watched the match on TV in their hometown in Quebec. He embraced Sergerie's sister, who was in tears following the gold-medal bout.
Sergerie showed little emotion at the end of the match, and throughout the Olympic tournament.
"I felt bad because there are athletes who won silver medals and they are very happy. It's not that it's not an accomplishment, it's a wonderful thing, but it's just my heart was so set on that gold medal," Sergerie explained.
"To lose it by such a small difference, just one point, it hurts. It's hard to accept."
Breezes into final
En route to the final, Sergerie didn't give up a point in her semifinal match, defeating Puerto Rico's Asuncion Ocasio Rodriguez 2-0.
The Canadian scored an offensive and defensive kick in the first round, good for two points, and then didn't look back.
Sergerie also cruised through her quarter-final match earlier in the day, beating Vanina Paola Sanchez Beron of Argentina 3-0.
She scored offensive kicks in Rounds 1 and 2, and two defensive kicks in Round 3. One point was revoked because she received a deduction.
Sergerie's most difficult match before the final was her first of the day against Australia's Tina Morgan.
Sergerie scored one point in the first round, but suffered a deduction penalty in the third. The match was scoreless at the end of the fourth round, but judges declared the Canadian the winner by superiority.
Sergerie won the 2007 world championships in the 63-kg weight class. In 2003, she took silver in the same event, and in 2005 she placed third in the 59-kg class.
Sergerie's medal is the second in taekwondo for Canada in Olympic history.
At the 2000 Sydney Games, where taekwondo was first introduced at the Olympic level, Canada's Dominique Bossart won bronze.