The rest of the Canadian team rowers for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were training Saturday on Quamichan Lake in North Cowichan. But they took a moment to look up results from a lake in Gavirate, Italy.
They liked what they saw as the final slots for Tokyo were being filled through the last-chance Paralympics qualifier. Victoria Nolan from the Victoria City Club and Kyle Fredrickson from the University of Victoria Vikes — with their Island-based PR3 mixed coxed four teammates Bayleigh Hooper, Andrew Todd and coxswain Laura Court — stroked to Tokyo by winning the final. Second-place Brazil also qualified.
“I still can’t believe it happened. I don’t think it has fully hit me yet,” Court said in a statement.
“It is definitely pretty emotional considering everything that’s happened over the past year. Through all of this, we’ve tried to have patience and stick to what we know how to do.”
Forty-six-year-old mother of two Nolan, who is blind, will compete in her fourth consecutive Paralympics after rowing in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
“COVID has definitely presented some barriers, but I think we’ve been able to adapt really well to all the changes and the different protocols, and I think we’ve just been able to go with the flow and keep our focus on racing,” she said.
The results weren’t as heartening for Jessye Brockway of Mill Bay, a member of the Gorge Narrows Rowing Club, and Jeremy Hall of Edmonton, who placed third in the PR2 mixed-double final and agonizingly missed out on Tokyo by one spot. Italy and Australia finished 1-2 to earn the Tokyo berths.
“It was not the outcome we hoped for, but we leave with our heads held high, and left everything we had out there,” said Hall.
The Quamichan- and Elk Lake-based Rowing Canada has qualified 11 boats for Tokyo, the most since Atlanta in 1996. They will be part of the contingent of more than 75 Island or Island-based athletes who will compete in the Tokyo Olympics from July 23 to Aug. 8 and Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
ROAD TO TOKYO: Mathea Olin and Kalum Temple, both of Tofino, continue riding the waves in the Tokyo Olympics last-chance surfing qualifier which concludes today in Surf City, El Salvador … The Victoria Track Classic on Wednesday at Centennial Stadium will provide an important opportunity for runners to reach Olympic qualifying standards for Tokyo over 400, 800 and 1,500 metres. No spectators are allowed but the meet will be live-streamed on Runnerspace.com beginning at 7 p.m.