The Top 10 Island Summer Olympics moments (so far)

The 2020 Olympic Games, delayed by one year, have begun in Tokyo. Here are the 10 most memorable moments provided by Island athletes in the Summer Olympic Games:

1. COMEBACK FOR THE AGES: Rower Silken Laumann of Victoria had to be helped just to get into the shell after a horrific leg injury just before the 1992 Barcelona Games left her looking down and out. Her comeback bronze medal in the single was rated among the 100 greatest moments in Olympics history. Laumann returned four years later in Atlanta to win silver.

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2. SIMON SAYS GOLD: Simon Whitfield, little known outside Victoria at the time, struck for a stunning breakthrough gold medal in the shadow of the Sydney Opera House in 2000 as triathlon made its Olympic debut. Eight years later in Beijing, Whitfield won Olympic silver in a duel to the wire.

3. EIGHT IS ENOUGH: The trio of gold medals won by the Elk Lake-based Canadian men’s rowing eight at Los Angeles 1984, Barcelona 1992 and Beijing 2008 is a rare and near peerless accomplishment.

4. RYAN’S WAY: During a dry patch, Canada won only four pool swimming medals between the 2000 Sydney and 2012 London Olympics. Ryan Cochrane of Victoria won half of them in singlehandedly keeping the Canadian program afloat. (A fifth medal came at London through Richard Weinberger of Victoria in open water).

5. HOOP DREAMS: Basketball made its Olympic debut, on a muddy outdoor court in Hitler’s Berlin in 1936, with Victoria star players Art and Chuck Chapman and Doug Peden winning silver after Canada lost to the U.S. in the final.

6. HOOP DREAMS II: University of Victoria stars Gerald Kazanowski of Nanaimo, Greg Wiltjer of Sidney and Eli Pasquale led Canada to the semifinals of the 1984 L.A. Games and a date against Michael Jordan and the U.S. followed by a narrow loss to Yugoslavia in the bronze-medal game.

That followed another fourth-place finish as the mercurial Billy Robinson of Chemainus led Canada to the semifinals against Dean Smith’s U.S. team and an eventual bronze-medal game loss to the Soviet Union.

7. HOOP DREAMS III: Steve Nash of Victoria captained Canada to a 5-2 record in the 2000 Sydney Games with a wrenching quarter-final loss to France ending the podium quest with Nash leaving the court in tears.

8. LAKES OF SILVER: An uncanny number of Island rowers have been Olympic silver medallists — David Anderson at Rome 1960, Marilyn Campbell at L.A. 1984, Laumann and Derek Porter in the respective women’s and men’s singles at Atlanta 1996, Barney Williams at Athens 2004, Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen in the pair at Beijing 2008 and Patricia Obee and Lindsay Jennerich in the lightweight double at Rio 2016.

9. VELO-CITY: Velodromes are usually the white elephants of Summer Games. But the 1994 Commonwealth Games velodrome in Colwood produced Olympic bronze-medallist Gillian Carleton of Victoria at London 2012.

10. DROPPED BATON: Bruce Humber of Victoria ran a strong second leg at Berlin 1936 and Canada looked well on its way to the silver medal in the 4x100 track relay behind Jesse Owens and the U.S. team before disaster struck on the fatal final baton exchange to deny Humber and Canada.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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