Pool and Track Producing Canada's Paralympic Medals in London

By Spencer, Donna | The Canadian Press, September 2, 2012 | Go to article overview

Pool and Track Producing Canada's Paralympic Medals in London


Spencer, Donna, The Canadian Press


Swimmers, sprinters collect Paralympic silver

--

LONDON - Swimmers and track athletes keep adding to Canada's medal haul at the Paralympic Games.

Valerie Grand'Maison of Fleurimont, Que., and Calgary's Brianna Nelson each won their second silver medals of the Games at the pool, while wheelchair sprinter Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., also won silver in the 400 metres Sunday.

Eight of Canada's first 11 medals have come from swimmers and the remaining three from track and field.

Grand'Maison was an arm swing away from gold in her signature event, the 100-metre freestyle.

For the second time in as many days, she was narrowly beaten for the top step on the podium by Kelley Becherer of the U.S.

Grand'Maison had finished second to the American in the 50-freestyle the previous day.

"I'm going to be emotional for the next few hours," Grand'Maison said. "It was a close one. I race Kelly, the American, all the time. It's always a close finish. It's always be a few tenths or a few hundredths. She's a way better sprinter than I am, so her first half is really strong compared to mine.

"Tonight, I tried to stay with her because I wanted it so bad. I tried my best and I was with her at the 50. I knew it my time to shine. I just didn't have it in me."

Canada's objective in London is a top-eight finish in gold medals won. Canada had three gold after five days, tied for 13th with Iran and South Korea.

Grand'Maison, who is visually impaired, was Canada's most successful swimmer at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing with three gold medals and a bronze. She set a world record in the 100 freestyle there, but a shoulder injury in 2011 almost ended her career.

"A year ago I would never thought I would have been to that level of fitness right now," the 23-year-old said. "The way we turned the program around. My strength and conditioning program, working with a sports psychologist, physio, I did everything I had to do and I have no pain right now. I love racing again."

Nelson, who has cerebral palsy, was second to Jaqueline Freney of Australia the women's 200 individual medley, two days after taking silver behind the Aussie in the 50-metre butterfly.

"This is my second Games. I wanted to be somebody here," said Nelson, 20. "In Beijing, I was there to have fun. I wanted to be ferocious this time. I'm feeling ferocious."

Grand'Maison races the 200 I.M. and 100-metre breaststroke later this week.

"It's not over," she declared. "I'm going to fight harder. In the last four years, I've gone through a lot of challenges and right now, it's just one more challenge that I have to overcome and it will make me stronger in four days when I race again, when I show up on that pool deck again, fierce, mean and ready to show what I've got, finally."

Lakatos wheeled to silver in the men's T54, or paraplegic, classification. The 32-year-old's time of 50. …

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