Nova Scotia

Pan Am wins by Nova Scotia athletes inspire future generations

Nova Scotia athletes have continued their hot streak at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, adding five new medal wins on Tuesday.

4 gold, 5 silver, 2 bronze for Nova Scotia athletes since games began in Toronto

A group of young gymnasts say they're excited to train at the same gym as Ellie Black, the 19-year-old who won Canada's first gymnastics gold at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. (CBC)

Nova Scotia athletes have continued their hot streak at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, adding five new medal wins on Tuesday.

The athletes, who are from all over the province, have won a total of 11 individual medals — four gold, five silver and two bronze — since the games started on July 10.

As of Tuesday evening, Canada was the medal table leader with 53 pieces of hardware — 22 gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze. The United States is second with 47 medals, and Cuba third with 35.

"It's a pretty big deal," said Halifax-based canoeist Nicole Jessop, whose brother Andrew finished fifth in the final of the men's K2 1000-metre race on Monday.

Jessop trains at Maskwa Aquatic Club on Kearney Lake — the same lake where her brother and champion kayaker Mark de Jonge train. 

Leah (left) and Nicole Jessop have been supporting both their brother Andrew and Mark de Jonge. They all train at the Maskwa Aquatic Club on Kearney Lake. (CBC)

"This is a pretty small club. I mean, when Mark started paddling here there couldn't have been more than 20 high-performance paddlers," said Jessop.

"For him to make it to the Pan Am Games and the Olympics, it's a pretty big deal."

De Jonge won gold in the K1 200-metre race on Tuesday morning, and went on to win bronze in the K2 200-metre sprint in the afternoon. 

Shortly after de Jonge's first win, Dartmouth paddler Jason McCoombs took silver in the 200-metre canoe event.

"It's a lot of dedication," says Leah Jessop. She is Nicole and Andrew's sister, and also a kayaker. 

"You get up early in the morning, you know when it's cold and it takes every little bit of strength to pull yourself out of bed and get on the water," she said. "But it's worth it when something like that happens."

Among the canoe-kayakers from Dartmouth, Ben Russell won gold in Monday's C2 1000-metre race.

Michelle Russell helped her team win gold in the four-person 500-metre kayak event Saturday morning. Michelle also won silver in both the K1 500-metre race on Monday, and the K1 200-metre race on Tuesday. 

Slew of medals

On Sunday, Brittany Fraser from New Glasgow won silver as part of Canada's equestrian dressage team, after clearing a personal best by three per cent. She also won silver in the individual dressage with a score of 76.105.

Halifax gymnast Ellie Black, 19, placed sixth at the artistic women's final on Sunday, but helped the Canadian team take home silver. The next day, Black won Canada's first gymnastics gold at these Pan Am Games after finishing first in the all-around artistic event. 

On Tuesday, Black won the bronze in the artistic women's vault competition. 

Jenn Erjavec, who trains at the same gym as Black, says she works hard and deserves her wins.

"I think it's such a big deal just because she's coming from such a small province and city and she can make such a big impact on everywhere one around here," Erjavec says.

"She inspires all the kids and stuff that it is possible to conquer that dream."

The remainder of Nova Scotia athletes — including Nkem Ezurike, Erin Rafuse, Danielle Boyd, and Jason Sanford — are still qualifying in their respective sports of soccer, sailing and softball.

The Pan Am Games will wrap up on July 26, and CBC will be keeping up with continued events and athlete rankings