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Ottawa at the Olympics Day 14: Alicia Brown & Canada sneak into 4×400 final

By Madalyn Howitt, Kieran Heffernan, Dan Plouffe & Charlie Pinkerton

Alicia Brown. File photo

The Canadian women’s 4x400m relay team will compete in their event’s finals, after qualifying with a final time of 3:24:05.

The middle-distance sprinters kicked off the competition early this morning with Ottawa Lions alumna Alicia Brown leading off the relay. The team’s lineup for its first race also included Sage Watson, Madeline Price and Kyra Constantine, who’s been a standout in the track and field events for Canada. Brown’s Lions co-member Lauren Gale, the youngest member of Canada’s track-and-field team, sat out the heat.

The Canadian team finished 5th in their heat. Constantine, however, was part of a photo finish for 3rd place, losing out to the 4th place Dutch team by 0.04 seconds, and the 3rd place British team by 0.06 seconds.

Here, from CBC, is video of the final leg of the race.

Each heat’s top 3 teams automatically qualified for the final, including the next two fastest teams overall — which included Canada. The Canadians finished about a half second faster than the Ukrainian team, who were next fastest.

Courtesy of CBC, again, here’s the video of the women’s team realizing they qualified for the final.

It is not yet clear which athletes will run for Canada in the final, but Ottawa watchers can be assured that one of at least Brown or Gale should be competing.

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You can watch the 4x400m relay final at the very reasonable hour of 8:30 a.m. eastern time on Saturday, August 7.

To read more about Canada’s women’s 4x400m team, check out this piece by the National Post.

Day 15 Preview: Schmidt preps for heats

Maddy Schmidt. File photo

Ottawa has had some great representation on the water at these Games, and Maddy Schmidt is getting ready to join in on the fun.

The canoe-kayak sprinter will compete in the women’s K-4 500m event at her first Olympic Games, with her heat set for 9:15 p.m. eastern time, on Thursday.

The unrelenting heat in Tokyo has been a struggle for some athletes, and several events have been rescheduled to help them avoid the hottest parts of the days.

Schmidt, however, has experience paddling in extremely cold temperatures, and may be able to use that grit to help ease her through the tough weather of Tokyo.

The Sports Pages‘ Dan Plouffe spoke with the 25-year-old Schmidt ahead of the Games and learned that the young athlete loves the challenge of competing in imperfect weather.

Usually Canada’s preseason team selections take place in the southern U.S. for canoeing and kayaking, but with COVID border closures/quarantine requirements this year, the races had to be held on Canadian water during the winter.

Paddling in the freezing cold all winter in Canada? Just a great way to harden her resolve, said Schmidt.

“It was such an adventure, honestly. We’ve paddled through everything,” she said.

“I definitely have a weird love for adverse conditions,” she added, referring to her time with the Ottawa River Canoe Club. “The Ottawa River – that body of water can get so bumpy, so when it gets bumpy on any lake, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, this is home.’”

“I’m somebody that just loves to train,” underlined the Dartmouth, N.S.-based athlete. “Maybe it’s a little bit of masochistic tendencies. But I love to push myself and I love to work hard. And I think I just love the daily routine of getting up and and working out and getting stronger. And seeing the incremental progression day after day, and working really hard for something and getting that tunnel vision and the attention to detail in training.”

Fans hope that dedication to training in the strangest of conditions will help propel Schmidt towards the podium.

Gilles and women’s team’s game gets new start time

Vanessa Gilles celebrates Canada’s quarter-final victory over Brazil. Photo: Daniela Porcelli / Canada Soccer

Fans will have to wait just a little bit longer to watch Vanessa Gilles and the women’s soccer team’s historic gold-medal game against Sweden.

The match was scheduled to air at 10 p.m. eastern time on Thursday (11 a.m. Friday in Tokyo), but concerns about the rising heat and humidity in Tokyo — expected to reach as high as 35 degrees Celsius with 75 per cent humidity on Friday — prompted both Canada’s and Sweden’s teams to request that the start time of the game be moved.

You can now watch the match at 8 a.m. eastern time on Friday morning, which will be 9 p.m. in Tokyo. Hopefully cooler evening temperatures will bring some respite for the players (and help Canada bring home the gold!).

You can read more about the decision to delay the game here from CBC Sports.

All Ottawa Olympians’ schedules can be found here.

This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Olympics Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.

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