RIO DE JANEIRO – Catharine Pendrel hardly looked like a medal contender early in the women’s mountain bike event at the Rio Olympics. Few cyclists would after suffering through a crash and dealing with a bike that wasn’t co-operating.
The veteran didn’t count herself out, overcoming the pitfalls to win a bronze medal on a day where Canada’s other contenders came up short of the podium.
Pendrel’s medal brings the country’s tally to 22 medals (four gold, three silver, 15 bronze), good for 10th in the overall standings. The goal heading into Rio was 19 medals and a top-12 finish.
Pendrel, a 35-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., dealt with a crash on the first turn and a mechanical issue that forced her to do half a lap of the 4.85-kilometre course with just one gear, en route to her third-place finish.
“It was just like: ‘Everything is going wrong,”‘ said Pendrel. “I’m used to having bad starts, luckily, and I know I can work through a field. We had prepared for every scenario.
“I knew that I could close a gap.”
Pendrel won the bronze in a time of one hour 31 minutes 41 seconds, just ahead of teammate Emily Batty of Brooklin, Ont., in fourth.
Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds won the gold in 1:30:15, while Maja Wloszczowska of Poland took silver in 1:30:52.
Pendrel won gold at the 2014 world championships after topping Batty at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and took silver behind her teammate at last summer’s Pan Ams.
Meanwhile on the track, Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ont., set a Canadian record in the women’s 800 metres with a time of 57.02 seconds, but it wasn’t enough to get on the podium.
Bishop came into the final stretch in a medal position but was passed just before the finish line by Kenya’s Margaret Wambui, and Canada was denied its seventh athletics medal of these Games.
Caster Semenya of South Africa won gold in 1:55.28, followed by Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi in 1:56.49 and Wambui in 1:56.89.
Earlier, Nathan Brannen of Cambridge, Ont., finished 10th in the men’s 1,500 final.
Golfer Brooke Henderson and canoeist Mark de Jonge, both medal hopefuls heading into Rio, also came up short.
Thought to be medal contenders heading into the Games, neither Henderson nor de Jonge could land a spot on their respective podiums.
Henderson, an 18-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a 67 in the final round for a respectable 8-under-par 276 and an eventual tie for seventh place in the first ever Olympic women’s golf tournament.
Henderson saved pars on the 11th and 12th holes before taking a bogey on No. 13 after missing a nine-foot putt. That forced her to really go for it down the stretch.
“Unfortunately I just missed out but that (bogey) gave me momentum to get my rear in gear and I made birdie on 14 right after,” she said. “After that I was trying to make birdies, I was trying to make an eagle out there on the last (hole) to move my name up a little bit more.
“But at the end of the day I tried my best.”
Halifax’s de Jonge, a two-time world champion and a bronze medallist at the London Games four years ago, placed seventh in the 200-metre men’s singles event.
A civil engineer by trade, de Jonge suggested that he had done too much thinking and not enough paddling in Rio.
“Maybe overanalyzing and really breaking things down stroke by stroke and I think that when you do you take away some of the emotion of just going out and crushing it,” said de Jonge. “That’s what I wanted to do today, I just got to the line saying ‘You’re just going to floor it the whole way, stop thinking, your body knows what to do.’ I did that and I’m actually pretty happy with my performance today.
“The result? Seventh place is not good for me so I’m going to have to come to terms with that over the next few days but I’m pretty happy with what I did on the water, at least.”
The Canadian women’s kayak four 500 metres placed eighth in their final.
In the women’s triathlon, Amelie Kretz (2:02:48) of Blainville, Que., finished 34th, Victoria’s Kirsten Sweetland (2:04:16) was 41st and Quebec City’s Sarah-Anne Brault (2:04:28) was right behind her in 42nd.
Diver Vincent Riendeau finished 14th in his 10-metre platform semifinal and did not advance to the medal round.
Wrestler Korey Jarvis lost 9-2 to Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili in his second-round repechage match at the 125-kilogram weight class.