(This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.)
By Dan Plouffe, Charlie Pinkerton, Mark Colley & Adamo Marinelli
In the brutal afternoon sun on Saturday, beside a looping road course on the Brock University campus, Ottawa’s Lucy Hempstead cheered on her teammates in the criterium.
It was a race she was supposed to compete in, but on Friday, Hempstead crashed in a pre-ride of the course. She got “really bad” road rash, as well as whiplash, she said. When the clinic re-evaluated her this morning, she didn’t clear concussion testing. Instead of competing in her final event of the Canada Summer Games, she was cheering from the sidelines.
But Hempstead said she still accomplished what she wanted at the Games. She won gold in the individual time trial on Tuesday, proving what she is capable of after a disappointing finish off the podium at U23 nationals. She also finished sixth in the road race on Thursday.
“I really wanted to come here and … make the podium,” Hempstead said. “I really thought that winning it would be a good way to show everybody that I’m good at this and this is what I love to do.”
As an added bonus, the win came on her mom’s birthday.
Hempstead competed in track and field for most of her life, but when she developed an eating disorder because of the sport and suffered other health issues, she took a break.
“I started to have osteoporosis and my stress fractures were getting really bad,” Hempstead said. “I really still loved sport, so my mom signed me up for RBC [Training Ground] and then they selected me for cycling.”
She jumped head first into the sport. She got a job at The Cyclery on Bank and Sunnyside. She won the RBC Training Ground final and received three years of funding for a coach and training.
“The community back home in Ottawa and Gatineau has just been so amazing and welcoming and they make it so easy to go train in the loop in Gatineau,” Hempstead said. “[The loop is] such a beautiful way to see Ottawa and Gatineau … It’s super easy to just spiral out of control in terms of wanting to do it all the time.”
Right now, Hempstead might be best known for her Guinness World Record of the most distance traveled on a stationary bike by a woman in 24 hours. But she’s working to be known for more, having trained in Verona, Italy from January to April of this year and competed in races in France.
She said her end goal is to represent Canada as much as possible and eventually get into the World Tour.
“If I can just keep doing something to do with sport for the rest of my life, I’ll be happy,” Hempstead said.
Ontario women’s soccer gears up for gold medal match
No women’s soccer team has dominated at the Games quite like Ontario. After winning the first match 18-0 against the Yukon Territories, Ontario went on to blank PEI 3-0.
Now, with a 4-0 win over Nova Scotia in the semifinals yesterday, Ontario will play for gold against Quebec today at 2:30 p.m. at Youngs Sportsplex in Welland, Ont.
The success of the team is partly thanks to Ottawa goalkeeper Sofia Cortes-Browne, who has split the duties in net with Faith Fenwick of Markham, Ont. So far at the Games, the pair has combined to blank opponents across 240 minutes and counting.
For Cortes-Browne, who started playing at Ottawa South United before moving to the National Development Centre in Toronto a little more than a year ago, it’s not just about blocking shots.
“We’ve been pretty dominant in our games, so … for my role as a goalkeeper, it’s kind of more to support the team,” Cortes-Browne said. “The communication is also a very big part of the game, so just being able to tell my teammates what’s happening at what time and what they need help with … All these little details, they all add up together and everything just works out.”
Cortes-Browne is one of four Ottawa players on Team Ontario, alongside Rosa Maalouf, Maya Galko and Teegan Melenhorst. Cortes-Browne lives with Maalouf at the National Development Centre and said the two are “kind of like sisters now.”
“We know each other so well — all of our little inside jokes and our connections, relations on the field,” Cortes-Browne said. “Tiny little things from like, ‘Hey, you forgot your socks at home, do you want me to bring them to you?’ Little things, their habits that you know — it pays off, because I know her so well that on the soccer field I can just relate.”
So far, it’s been working for both of them. In addition to the three clean sheets Cortes-Browne has contributed to, Maalouf has scored two goals at the tournament. This follows her impressive 12-goal performance at the CONCACAF U17 championship in April and May.
Galko also scored a goal in yesterday’s win, after which the team celebrated with a photo on the field.
“FINALS!” the team cheered after being prompted by a photographer.
It will be a tough matchup for Ontario, but Cortes-Browne’s hopes are up.
“Hopefully [it’s] another shutout for both me and Faith,” she said.
Friends Nicoletti and Moulongou win bronze in 4×400-metre relay
Winning bronze at the Canada Summer Games is pretty sweet. Winning bronze with a close friend is even better.
That’s what Ottawa Lions athletes Luca Nicoletti and David Moulongou did on Saturday, when they teamed up to finish third in the 4×400-metre men’s relay at the Canada Games Park. It was Nicoletti’s first medal of the Games and Moulongou’s second after he won silver in the 400-metre hurdles on Friday.
“David is more than just a track friend … We’re buddies,” 18-year-old Nicoletti said. “I find it sick. I hope David says the same.”
“We’re friends off the track,” he said. “It’s such a sport where you have to be committed almost 24 hours because of the recovery … To be able to rely on each other and support each other outside of track is amazing.”
The bronze — on a time of 3:11.90, just 0.11 seconds off second-place Alberta — follows a host of medals for Ottawa athletes in track and field. Madison McLean and Eliezer Adjibi won gold in javelin and the 100-metre dash, respectively, while Adjibi and David Adeleye also won gold in the 4×100-metre relay. Also medaling was Thomas Becker with silver in high jump.
“The Games have been pretty amazing. It’s not like any other track meet,” Nicoletti said. “The entire experience, from what I’ve heard, resembles the Olympics.”
Moulongou said the feeling of competing for an entire province — and having an entire province cheer you on — is “really cool” compared to competing for just one club.
Up next for Nicoletti is his first year of university at McGill, where he’s studying material engineering. Moulongou is entering his second year at the University of Ottawa.
But before that?
“Definitely a break,” Nicoletti said.
Hembruff wins gold in rowing
Ottawa rower Aidan Hembruff helped Ontario to a gold medal in the eight with coxswain event, while Aethan Cubitt overcame an early sixth-place finish to win bronze in the sailing single-handed laser event.
Elsewhere in athletics, Ottawa Lions athlete Doyin Ogunremi ran anchor and helped Ontario to a fourth-place finish in the women’s 4×400-metre relay. David Adeleye won silver in the men’s 110-metre hurdles.
In box lacrosse, Ontario remained undefeated and beat Alberta 8-4 in the semifinals. Gloucester Griffins product Julien Belair scored a goal in the win, which sends the team to the gold medal game against British Columbia today at 3 p.m.
Ontario has already beat B.C. 8-3 in pool play, which gives them a ton of momentum heading into the gold medal game. However, they don’t want to be too confident before the game, according to Belair.
In women’s volleyball, Ontario bounced back from a narrow quarterfinal loss with a 3-0 win over New Brunswick. The team will play for fifth place today at 12:30 p.m.
Diver Audrée Howes won’t be competing for a medal in the women’s one-metre springboard after finishing 18th in the preliminary round yesterday.
The last day is upon us
After winning gold yesterday, Hembruff will look to follow it up with another medal in the rowing men’s four at 10:25 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course in St. Catherines.
You can also catch action in box lacrosse, when the men go for gold, and women’s volleyball, which is aiming for a fifth-place finish.
Lastly, the Games will officially end with the closing ceremony at Niagara Falls at 8 p.m. The event will feature an athletes’ parade, musical performances — including an appearance by The Tragically Hip guitarist Paul Langlois — and the passing of the torch to the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games.
You can follow all the action today via live stream at niagara2022games.ca/watch.
(This article was first sent to subscribers of the free Ottawa at the Canada Summer Games Daily Newsletter. Sign us to receive it below!)
By clicking on the submit button, you consent to receive the above newsletter from the Ottawa Sports Pages. You may unsubscribe by clicking on the link at the bottom of our emails. Ottawa Sports Pages | 345 Meadowbreeze Dr., Kanata, Ont., K2M 0K3 | 613-261-5838
HELP SHINE A LIGHT ON LOCAL SPORT! The Ottawa Sports Pages has proudly provided a voice for local sport for over 10 years, but we need your help to continue another 10 and beyond. Please donate to the Ottawa Sports Pages Fund today.