Canada's Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard captures Olympic bronze in judo
Marks 2nd judo medal for Canadian women at Tokyo 2020
Canada's Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard delivered a historic performance Tuesday inside Tokyo's Budokan arena, the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts.
Beauchemin-Pinard, a Montreal native, defeated Venezuela's Anriquelis Barrios to capture a bronze medal in the women's -under-63 kg judo category.
The 27-year old burst into tears moments after she realized she'd won.
She will have to celebrate in a hurry as she heads back home to Canada tomorrow.
"I think it's going to be a crazy night," she said with a smile.
WATCH | Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard claims judo bronze at Tokyo 2020:
"I don't think I will realize it until I get home tomorrow. It's crazy that I won a medal here and tomorrow I will be home. Wow."
There's one person in particular she can't wait to see when she gets back home to Montreal: her dad, who suffered a stroke two years ago.
"I am so happy to be able to come home with a medal and show him that I did it," said Beauchemin-Pinard, who says her father is her biggest fan.
"He was sad that he couldn't come and I wanted him to be here. I can't wait to see him and give him a big hug."
On the mat, the Montreal native has accomplished a lot since a ninth-place finish in Rio. She moved up a weight class (from under-57 kg to under-63 kg) and has been successful on the international circuit in recent years.
Here in Tokyo, she cruised through her early matches before losing a heartbreaking fight in the semifinals against France's Clarisse Agbegnenou, the eventual gold medallist and top ranked player in the world.
She had to rally quickly as her bronze medal match took place about 45 minutes later.
WATCH | Beauchemin-Pinard reflects on her bronze-medal performance:
In that match, neither Beauchemin-Pinard or her opponent were able register any successful scoring manoeuvres during the four minutes of regulation, pushing the match into the "golden score" stage, the judo equivalent of sudden-death overtime.
There, Beauchemin-Pinard successfully countered the Venezualan player's attack, ending the fight.
"I remember going to Rio in 2016 and leaving so disappointed with my performance," a beaming Beauchemin-Pinard said moments after her win. "I said to myself, I want to go to Tokyo, win a medal and perform there. And I did it."
Before these Tokyo Olympics, a Canadian woman had never won a medal in judo. Now they have been on the podium on consecutive days.
On Monday, Jessica Klimkait of Whitby, Ont., became the first Canadian woman to ever win a judo medal, winning bronze in the under-57 kg category.
WATCH | Jessica Klimkait makes Canadian judo history:
"When you are part of a team and you see somebody else win a medal, it motivates you to perform as well," said Beauchemin-Pinard.
Her coach, Sasha Mehmedovic, says the Canadian women's judo program has come a long way.
"We believe in this team. We knew in the last five years, we have had a lot of good international performances," he said. "It showed the last few days that, as a federation, we are one of the best."
This judo tournament in Tokyo is taking place at the Nippon Budokan, site of many historic sporting and cultural events. It has been home to thousands of concerts, including live albums by artists such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.
But the building, which was built to host judo at the 1964 Olympics, has its primary purpose as a home to Japanese martial arts, including national championships of various disciplines such as karate and judo.
"Winning a bronze medal in Nippon Budokan," said Mehmedovic. "What else can you ask for?"
Beauchemin-Pinard can tell her dad all about it when she gets home.