From Hartland trails to Tokyo, Pendrel bows out of Olympic career with head held high

What began with a halting decision to switch from the University of Victoria Triathlon Club, to a beginner mountain biker on the Hartland trails, concluded with an 18th place finish for Catharine Pendrel in her fourth and final Olympic Games on Tuesday in Tokyo.

“I hoped for finding a little extra magic today,” said Pendrel.

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“I rode where I am [in terms of form on the World Cup season]. So I have to be proud with that.”

Having two world championships, Pan Am and Commonwealth Games gold medals and Olympic bronze from Rio 2016, Pendrel will leave Tokyo with few regrets. A resume like hers gives one that luxury.

“I certainly had a lot less pressure on me that some of the other girls,” acknowledged the 40-year-old Pendrel, who gave birth to a daughter, Dara, on Jan. 26.

“It was really special. I have a lot of really good memories with the women here. It was really nice to race them one more time.”

Bear Mountain-based Haley Smith placed 29th.

“This will be a stepping stone for Haley to Paris 2024,” said Pendrel.

Jolanda Neff led a Swiss sweep of the medals.

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