New Brunswick

Harvey Station 'amazingly proud' of Catharine Pendrel

Catharine Pendrel rallied from an early crash to win the bronze medal in women’s cross-country mountain biking at the Rio Olympics.

New Brunswicker wins Olympic bronze in women's cross-country mountain biking

Supporters of Olympic mountain biker Catharine Pendrel cheer her on from the Harvey Station Community Centre on Saturday. (Kashmala Fida.CBC)

More than 30 people were on the edge of their seats at a community centre in Harvey Station, N.B., on Saturday as hometown hero Catharine Pendrel rallied from an early crash to win the bronze medal in women's cross-country mountain biking at the Rio Olympics.

Pendrel, who now resides in Kamloops, B.C., fell back to 15th early in the race before coming on strong to finish third.

"She did a tremendous representation of showing what perseverance can be ... so great job on her," said Dan Fletcher, a family friend who organized the event at the community centre.

"We are amazingly proud of her."

Catharine Pendrel rallied from an early crash to win the bronze medal in women's cross-country mountain biking at the Rio Olympics. (Getty Images)

In an interview with CBC after the race, Pendrel said she was unsure how she would finish.

"There's so many moments in the race where I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out but it did.  So I'm excited I'm going to celebrate," she said.

'Giving it all I had'

She said she didn't see it as redemption for the London Olympics four years ago when she took the lead early, but finished ninth.

"It was just, I wanted to have a good race. Every race I go into I just want to have a good one," she said.

"I knew that's the attitude that usually gives me good results. So I just try to focus on just treating it like it's any other race, and just giving it all I had."

Pendrel's supporters at the Harvey Station Community Centre were proudly waving the Canadian flag and signs that said "Go Catharine Go" and "No. 1 Kika," which was Pendrel's nickname growing up.

"One word, 'amazing,' said Mary Scott at the community centre after the race. "She is such an amazing athlete and amazing person."

Fletcher couldn't contain his excitement.

"I can't even speak right now we're so excited here in Harvey," he said. "And I'm sure across the community right now everyone is cheering for her with so much pride."

'Turned out great'

Pendrel finished 1:26 behind Jenny Rissveds of Sweden, who won the gold in a time of one hour, 30 minutes and 15 seconds. Canadian Emily Batty finished just two seconds behind Pendrel in fourth.

Pendrel, the reigning world champion, said she is typically not a fast starter, and was able to stay focused.

"I just like changed my mind to, 'OK this is a good thing, you're used to coming from the back and just do what you do,'" she said. "You know, maybe the other girls started too hard and you'll just catch up.  It was a, kind of, thinking to myself 'Oh my goodness this is all worst case scenario'  but then it turned out great."

With files from Kashmala Fida