It was a lightning Bolt Sunday for Jamaica but hardly a day of thunder for Canada, including its roster of 48 Island athletes, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
While the great Usain Bolt retained his Olympic title in the men's 100 metres, Island athletes remained at three medals and Canada at 10 on a medal-less day.
High-jumper Mike Mason of Nanoose Bay, the former world junior champion, was tied for 12th with a leap of 2.26 metres in the qualifying round Sunday at Olympic Stadium and barely scraped into Tuesday's final of top-12 and ties. But the graduate of Ballenas Secondary in Parksville has a spot in the final and is still alive for a medal, and that's all that counts. Derek Drouin of Ontario qualified, tied for sixth with a jump of 2.29 metres.
"It was a bit of a tough day technically. It took me a while to get going today and find my mark," Mason said. "Getting my third attempt at 2.26 metres secured my spot for the final. I'm relieved and looking forward to it."
Richard Clarke of Saltspring Island and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, who said he has seawater in his veins, finished 12th in his fifth Olympics with Star Class partner Tyler Bjorn of Montreal at the Games sailing venue at Weymouth. Coming along for the ride with Clarke and Bjorn were hundreds of monetary donors, whose names were written on the Clarke-Bjorn boat.
The biggest Canadian news Sunday at the Olympics revolved around two controversies, one involving an Island-based athlete.
Athletics Canada appealed Victoria Middle Distance Training Centre 1,500-metre runner Nathan Brannen's 12th-place finish in the semifinals, contending he was spiked by another runner and thus his progress in the race was impeded as he crashed to the track.
The appeal was rejected, and Brannen will not move on to the final.
"The rule allows for the possibility of an athlete seriously affected by obstructing or jostling to be placed in the next round provided they complete the event with a bona fide effort," a statement from Athletics Canada said.
"We felt this was the case, as Nate made contact with another runner and went down hard midway through the race. He got up and ran hard to place 12th in the semifinal. The jury of appeal looked at the video; it clearly showed that Nate clipped the heel of the athlete in front of him, went down, and then was stepped on while he was on the ground. That's where the damage to his leg and spike marks came from."
More bad news from the London Olympic boardrooms came when Canadian equestrian team show jumper Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, Ont., was disqualified because her horse, Victor, had an area of inflammation and sensitivity on the forelimb just above the hoof. There was no accusation of malpractice.
A Canadian appeal was denied, leaving Foster in tears.
"We are extremely disappointed with this decision, as Tiffany Foster should have been allowed to compete." Canadian chef d'equipe Terrance Millar said in a statement. "The horse has a scratch on its coronary band that occurred overnight. This is an unfortunate application of a rule in the absence of context, which has shattered a young woman's Olympic dream."
Canada, ranked No. 6 after qualifying rounds, heads into the Olympic show jumping team final without Foster.
Islanders coming up in the second week of the London Games are two-time Olympic medallist and 2012 opening ceremony flag-bearer Simon Whitfield and fellow Victorian Brent McMahon in the men's triathlon race at Hyde Park on Tuesday at 3:30 a.m. PDT, Mason in the high jump final Tuesday, the rapidly emerging Richard Weinberger of Victoria in the men's 10K open-water swim in the Serpentine at Hyde Park on Friday at 4 a.m. PDT, veteran diver Riley McCormick of Victoria leaping and gyrating off the 10-metre tower Friday at 11 a.m., and UVic mechanical-engineering grad Geoff Kabush of Courtenay and Tofino native Max Plaxton of Victoria in men's mountain biking next Sunday at 5:30 a.m. at Hadleigh Farm.
Canada has not won a medal in a team sport at the Summer Olympics since the men's basketball team including Victoria players Doug Peden and brothers Art and Chuck Chapman captured silver at Berlin in 1936. Trying to end that streak of futility is the Canadian women's soccer team. Canada, without injured defender Emily Zurrer of Crofton, meets the heavily fancied defending Beijing Olympic champion U.S. in the semifinals Monday at 11:45 a.m. PDT on the storied pitch of Old Trafford in Manchester.
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