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Ottawa at the Olympics Day 16: Alicia Brown & relay team run well to finish 4th

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By Kieran Heffernan, Martin Cleary, Madalyn Howitt & Dan Plouffe

Alicia Brown. File photo

After just barely making the finals of the women’s 4×400-metre relay, the Canadian team of Ottawa’s Alicia Brown, Madeline Price, Kyra Constantine and Sage Watson ultimately finished in fourth.

Their season’s best time of 3:21.84 was just fractions of a second behind the Jamaican team. Brown and Watson may have had a bit of déjà vu, as the Canadian team also finished fourth in Rio, again separated by just milliseconds from the bronze medal. Watch the end of the race here.

“This team ran with so much heart,” Brown said in a post-race interview with CBC. “I’m so proud of these girls. This opportunity meant a lot to us. I’m proud that we ran as fast as we did today. Our goal was to run a 3:21 and we did that today, just shy of a Canadian record. I think in many ways we exceeded our own expectations.”

Watson later promised Canada that they’d bring home a medal in the future.

Ottawa Lion Lauren Gale, the youngest member of the Canadian track-and-field team at age 21, didn’t get a chance to race as a team alternate, but may soon be passed the baton by 31-year-old Brown, who’d planned to make these Olympics her last.

Track cyclist Gee lapped out of madison

Derek Gee. File photo

Having focused their efforts into earning Canada’s best finish since 1932 in the team pursuit, Osgoode’s Derek Gee and partner Michael Foley didn’t finish the men’s madison track cycling event. In this endurance cycling race, the two team members take turns riding for the 50km, or 200 laps. When the riders switch, the new rider is physically pushed into motion by the other, like a hand sling shot. Every 10 laps, there are sprints where teams accumulate points.

Canada was lapped by the rest of the teams early in the race, which meant a loss of 20 points before they were able to earn any. Officials eventually pulled them out of the race.

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Maddy Schmidt, along with Andreanne Langlois, Michelle Russell and Alanna Bray-Lougheed finished 11th overall in the women’s 500m kayak four. After missing qualifying for the semifinals, they raced in the B Finals to determine the ninth to 12th place finishers.

Almost an Olympian: Tristan Woodfine’s chase for a ticket to Tokyo

Tristan Woodfine. File photo

Had things gone a little differently, Tristan Woodfine would be competing in the men’s marathon (which will be tonight in Canada). But, after a long battle, the Cobden, Ont. native remains listed as an alternate.

It all started in October 2020, where Woodfine beat his personal best and finished under the Olympic qualifying time at the London Marathon.

“I am definitely happy with the result. I feel I got the most out of myself, which is all you can do,” he told High Achievers columnist Martin Cleary after his 2:10:51 finish. He’d been cutting minutes off his times for the past two years.

“That consistency and progression shows there is more potential,” said his coach Greg Kealeye, who first started coaching Woodfine as a teenager with his Bytown Storm Triathlon Club.

As of October, only one other athlete, Trevor Hofbauer, had made the Olympic qualifying time besides Woodfine, and there were three total spots on the men’s marathon team to fill.

Somewhat unexpectedly, a few months later, two other men had made the qualifying time: Cameron Levins and Ben Preisner.

A document from Athletics Canada outlines how selections are made in these circumstances, where there are more qualified athletes than spots on the team. The athletes must be ranked according to five criteria: 1. World and domestic ranking; 2. Current form and fitness; 3. Proven ability to perform on demand; 4. Finishing position at the Olympic marathon trials in 2019; 5. Recent head-to-head record against athletes under consideration.

Woodfine wound up being the odd man out, named the non-travelling alternate.

Woodfine appealed the decision, in a document stating that Athletics Canada “didn’t present complete information on Tristan Woodfine’s history or performance progression, and they ignored and/or minimized information that was critical to Woodfine’s case.”

The appeal was denied, and the team remained unchanged.

Woodfine would have been the final local athlete to compete in Tokyo, though that distinction instead goes to Alicia Brown, who competed in the women’s 4×400 m relay this morning.

Closing Ceremonies up next

That’s a wrap on competition for our team of 17 local athletes who competed at the Tokyo Olympics, with the Closing Ceremonies set for 7 a.m. ET Sunday morning.

The Sports Pages will conclude our Ottawa at the Olympics coverage tomorrow when we’ll look back on all the exciting action, and look ahead to the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

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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