Top 2014: Olympians grab Glasgow glory


This month will be revisiting the top Canadian sports moments of 2014.

The Commonwealth Games took place in Glasgow this year and several Olympians and hopefuls made a big burst for Canada in Scotland./p>

Perhaps the biggest splash that may translate to the pools of Rio 2016 came in diving at Edinburgh, where Canadian women won a medal in every event, with Meaghan Benfeito taking a pair of gold.

The waters were also kind to some of Canada’s swimmers, most notably Ryan Cochrane, who broke his own national 400m freestyle record while capturing the gold medal at a time of 3:43.46, the third fastest time of 2014 at year’s end.

Meaghan Benfeito & Roseline Filion dive their way to 10m synchro gold.
Ryan Cochrane following 400m freestyle victory & national record.
Erica Wiebe celebrates her wrestling gold medal.

For the water-land hybrid types, the comeback of triathlon star Kirsten Sweetland continued as she secured Commonwealth silver days after a World Triathlon Series bronze. Although not an Olympian, Sweetland’s fitness could play into the medal table at Rio 2016.

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Staying on dry land, a few Rio 2016 medal hopefuls in athletics made their mark in Glasgow against Commonwealth competition.

Hammer thrower Sultana Frizell toyed with the competition, breaking the Commonwealth record three times en route to winning gold in the women’s event.

Sultana Frizell with one of her record setting throws.
Derek Drouin took the high jump title with relative ease.
Jim Steacy joined Sultana Frizell in making it a men’s & women’s hammer throw double gold for Canada in Glasgow.
Gold medallist Damian Warner takes flight during the long jump of the decathlon.
Brianne Theisen-Eaton in the javelin throw of the heptathlon before winning gold.

It had been a wonderful year for Derek Drouin, he became the first Canadian high jumper to hit the elusive 2.40m mark. The London 2012 bronze medallist won the high jump in Glasgow with relative ease.

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Decathlete Damian Warner put himself in a conversation about British Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson by breaking the 1980s athletics legend’s 100m Commonwealth record in the 10-event competition on his way to an impressive gold medal.

In the heptathlon, Brianne Theisen-Eaton did the damage for Canada, breaking the 200m Commonwealth record before winning the gold medal, while silver went to her teammate Jessica Zelinka in a 1-2 Team Canada finish.

It was a 1-2 finish for mountain bikers Catharine Pendrel and Emily Batty at Glasgow.
Elsabeth “Ellie” Black is emerging as an elite gymnast, she won three medals at Glasgow, one of each colour.
London 2012 Olympian Michelle Li bagged a badminton gold in Glasgow.
Samir El Mais won boxing gold and firmly set his sights on Rio 2016.

Away from the athletics den, another notable 1-2 came from the mountain bike path where Catharine Pendrel and Emily Batty grabbed gold and silver in the cross country race.

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These were just some of the highlights from a Canadian team that delivered 82 medals. In a year where the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games took centre stage, Canada’s top summer athletes also enjoyed plenty of success.

Scott Harrigan
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