Regina's Miranda Biletski in hunt for bronze in wheelchair rugby
Canada's gold medal hopes dashed in playoffs
Canada's wheelchair rugby team had its heart set on gold after a silver-medal performance four years ago in London.
Instead, the Canadians will play for bronze at the Rio Paralympics after a 60-55 loss to their arch-rival Americans.
It's a huge rivalry.- Miranda Biletski
"It stings," said co-captain Trevor Hirschfield. "The last four years you're building forward towards Rio in hopes of securing that gold medal, and now that that's not a possibility, it hurts a bit, but tournament's not over. The sting will come after the tournament's over."
Zak Madell of Okotoks, Alta., scored 31 points in the loss, while Cody Caldwell of Peterborough, Ont., added seven.
Canada's rivalry with the Americans was chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary Murderball, and little has changed.
Canada edged the Americans to win gold at last summer's Parapan Am Games in Toronto, and on Saturday, the teams matched each other virtually point for point before the U.S. broke open a six-point lead late in the game. Canada couldn't recover.
"We always have great games with them, it's a huge rivalry," said Miranda Biletski, a tear rolling down one cheek. "We knocked them out in 2014 worlds and (2012) Paralympics, so I'm sure they had this marked on the calendars and they were hungry. They didn't want a three-peat of us knocking them out in the semis."
Biletski, from Regina, is the lone female on Canada's team, but said "the guys are great, I inherited 11 brothers, we're a giant family and I love 'em to death."