Tag Archives: ‘earn

Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier earn 1st world medal with bronze

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier had planned to skate their way to the world championship medal podium this time last year in Montreal.

Their enchanting free dance to “Both Sides Now” by iconic Canadian Joni Mitchell was carefully selected with the Montreal skating fans in mind.

  • That Figure Skating Show will be live on CBC Sports’ YouTube channel after every #stockholm2021 short program. Join hosts Dylan Moscovitch and Asher Hill, plus special guests as they react, and provide insight to all the action from worlds

But those world championships never happened, erased by COVID-19.

Gilles and Poirier finally climbed the podium Saturday, winning bronze at the world championships in their first live competition in more than a year. With the global pandemic prohibiting fans in Eriksson Globe Arena, their Canadian teammates made up their cheering section.

“It was weird. It felt just as intimate as an arena that was filled with people,” said Gilles, who could be heard choking back a sob when their scores were announced in the all-but-empty arena. “It felt like it was performing for the judges, and just ourselves, which was actually really nice. Kind of special. We weren’t trying to prove anything, we were just being who we were and enjoying the moment and skating as one.

“It’ll be a very special memory to be able to know we were able to perform without the audience and still have that same energy throughout.”

Because of social distancing, Gilles and Poirier stood alone on the podium during medal presentations, and had to present each other with their medals.

WATCH | Gilles, Poirier reach ice dance podium for 1st time at worlds:

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada captured the ice dance world championship bronze medal in Stockholm, Sweden Saturday scoring a total of 214.35 points. 8:33

Canadian men’s singles skater Keegan Messing, who finished sixth in his event earlier in the day, stood in the upper bowl of the rink waving a massive Canadian flag.

Toronto’s Gilles and Poirier, from Unionville, Ont., scored a personal-best 214.35 to earn their first medal in eight trips to the world championships.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Poirier said. “It’s been a very long time for us, we were kind of stuck between sixth and eighth [place] for a very long time, essentially since 2014, so I think just the pent-up frustration of so many years, being able to accomplish this just feels like such a nice relief.”

Health and safety protocols forced the cancellation of every major Canadian competition this season, plus limited any travel abroad to events. But the world championships are an important Olympic qualifier, and so the Canadians didn’t hesitate to travel to Stockholm to compete.

‘Thriving off uncertainty’

“I think we’re absolutely thrilled with what we did today, having a crazy season,” said Gilles. “I’m so proud that we pushed through and we didn’t let the uncertainty of everything get in the way. I think we’ve been thriving off of the uncertainty of everything because we know the ability that we have and we just love to perform and skate and I think that came out on the ice today.”

Ice dance capped the competition, but there was no celebratory team dinner. Gilles joked the Canadians had been holding “hallway gatherings” at their hotel.

“It’s just a nice be an event with all our teammates again, I think we really missed seeing them throughout the year,” Gilles said.

They were permitted just one coach in Stockholm, so Juris Razgulajevs made the trip. Following their required 14-day quarantine upon return to Canada, they hope to celebrate with coaches Carol Lane and Jon Lane, who were forced to watch from home.

Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov took the ice dance gold.

WATCH |  Sinitsina, Katsalapov of Russia capture ice dance gold:

Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia captured the gold medal Saturday in ice dance at the world championships in Stockholm, Sweden scoring 221.17. 8:39

American Nathan Chen, meanwhile, laid down a performance Saturday that lifted him into the company of history’s best worldwide.

In becoming the first American since Scott Hamilton to win a third consecutive World Figure Skating Championships men’s title, the 21-year-old Chen also outskated two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. And Chen believes he has been — and can be — even better.

“I wouldn’t say this is my best free program ever,” he said. “But it’s one I will definitely remember forever and cherish, being able to skate like that and skate this piece here at worlds.”

WATCH | Nathan Chen wins 3rd straight title:

Nathen Chen of the USA convincingly captured his third career world figure skating title with a total score of 320.88 following his free skate Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden. 7:51

Messing’s sixth-place finish guaranteed Canada will have two men’s spots in the Beijing Olympics. He hopes they go to himself and good friend Nam Nguyen, who Messing credited with helping him get through these roller-coaster last 12 months.

While he waited for his scores, Messing said to the TV camera: “I just want to say thank you Nam, you were there the whole ride through this program. We did it together. We did it. I love you buddy.”

WATCH | Messing places personal-best 6th at worlds:

Keegan Messing of Canada skated to a sixth place finish Saturday after his free program at the world figure skating championships in Stockholm, Sweden. 8:05

Chen was dynamic in easily surpassing short program winner Hanyu and stamp himself as the man to beat at next year’s Beijing Olympics. Hanyu struggled mightily Saturday and fell to third place behind 17-year-old countryman Yuma Kagiyama, who took silver in his first senior worlds.

“The fact I’m able to be here at this world championships after this unprecedented year, it’s amazing. I’m elated right now,” Chen said. “I just tried to really remind myself to enjoy being here. I don’t know how many more world championships I’ll get to be at. Doing that, I was able to be a lot more calm.”

No one has had the jumping mastery of Chen. His “Quad King” reputation is well founded, and he landed his five four-rotation jumps with what NBC analyst Johnny Weir dubbed “technical wizardry.”

Hanyu struggles mightily

Chen had to await Hanyu’s performance, which was, for the Japanese star, rather pedestrian. He opened up on two jumps, had sloppy landings on others, and seemed to know it was not nearly enough when he shook his head before taking a bow and leaving the ice.

Hanyu, whose artistry is unmatched among today’s men, might not have been at his best physically.

WATCH | That Figure Skating Show recaps the men’s free program:

That Figure Skating Show recaps the men’s free at worlds, where the American bounced back to pass Japanese rival Yuzuru Hanyu for the win. 10:28

“Coming into this competition I have been working a lot on my quad axel and so I have overworked my body,” he said. “So it is important to get my body well. I want to go back to practising it again. I want to be the very first person to land it cleanly in an official competition.”

That won’t happen for a while with the major events of a truncated season concluded. It’s possible Chen and Hanyu won’t face off again until December’s Grand Prix Final — or perhaps even until the Olympics.

Hamilton won four successive worlds from 1981-84. Since then, three others (Canada’s Kurt Browning and Patrick Chan and Russia’s Alexei Yagudin) have gotten three in a row.

Chen has not lost a competition since the 2018 Olympics, when perhaps the worst short program of his career doomed him. He rallied with a spectacular free skate to climb from 17th place to fifth.

He’s been unmatched since, winning at worlds, nationals, Skate Americas and Grand Prix Finals. And the quads keep on coming, though he chuckled when Hanyu mentioned a 4 1-2 rotation quad axel.

“I am looking forward to next season and what everyone else brings to the table,” Chen said, “and challenging myself to be as good as I can be.”

WATCH | That Figure Skating Show recaps the free dance:

That Figure Skating Show recaps the world championship free dance where, Paul Poirier and Piper Gilles took home their 1st medal in eight trips. 15:12

In dance, Sinitsina and Katsalapov glided through the free dance to win their first world title by nearly seven points over Americans Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue. The Russians were second two years ago to France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who skipped this event.

“I am so happy, really, I don’t know what I can say right now. I just want to smile and cry,” Sinitsina said.

“The one thing that’s missing is the audience,” Katsalapov added.

Hubbell and Donohue, three-time U.S. champs and owners of two previous world medals, also set personal bests in the free dance (128.66) and overall (214.71). But this was Russia’s year, except in the men’s event.

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CBC | Sports News

Kripps, Stones earn back-to-back bobsleigh bronze, leading Canadian 4-man crew

Canada’s Justin Kripps and Cam Stones picked up their second bronze medals at the World Cup stop in St. Moritz, while German sleds swept the gold medals in Sunday’s races.

Francesco Friedrich won gold in the four-man race, extending his World Cup record with a 48th career victory. He prevailed by about three-tenths of a second over the Austrian sled driven by Benjamin Meier in Switzerland.

Kripps, from Summerland, B.C., teamed with Stones of Whitby, Ont., Ryan Sommer of White Rock, B.C., and Saskatoon’s Ben Coakwell to finish about a half-second off the pace. Kripps and Stones also picked up bronze in Saturday’s two-man race.

“It was awesome for us to get a double podium here in St. Moritz,” Kripps said. “We sure missed the crowds and the champagne this year but we’re loving building this momentum together.

WATCH | Canadian men pick up 4-man bronze in St. Moritz:

Justin Kripps, Cam Stones, Ryan Sommer and Benjamin Coakwell of Canada claimed World Cup four-man Bronze on Sunday at the famed St. Moritz, Switzerland bobsleigh track crossing the line with a two-run time of 2:10.05 1:49

“Everything is crisp with the team on and off the ice, and that is a big part of our success. The devil is in the details. We’ve talked as a team about being the best in the world at each of our individual jobs, and I believe that is what is happening.”

Canada’s other sled, piloted by Calgary’s Chris Spring, finished 11th.

Codie Bascue had the top U.S. finish, placing 15th with Carlo Valdes, Blaine McConnell and Kyle Wilcox.

WATCH | Friedrich collects 48th World Cup victory:

Francesco Friedrich, Martin Grothkopp, Alexander Schueller and Thorsten Margis of Germany claimed a World Cup win at the famous St. Moritz, Switzerland bobsleigh track Sunday crossing the line with a two-run time of 2:09.56. 2:33

In the women’s race, Stephanie Schneider and Leonie Fiebig held off the U.S. sled of Elana Meyers Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman by 0.08 seconds. It was Meyers Taylor’s first World Cup medal since Feb. 23, 2019 — she missed last season for the birth of her son — and the fifth consecutive time she has medaled in St. Moritz.

Switzerland’s Melanie Hasler and Irina Strebel were third, the first top-three World Cup finish of their careers.

Christine De Bruin of Stony Plain, Alta., and Sara Villani of Norval, Ont., were eighth, and the Edmonton tandem of Alysia Rissling and Dawn Richardson Wilson were 11th.

The World Cup circuit now travels to Königssee, Germany.

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Flames ride special teams to earn win over Jets

The Calgary Flames rode superior special teams to a 4-1 win over demoralized Winnipeg Jets to start their qualifying-round series Saturday.

The Jets didn’t recover from losing centre Mark Scheifele to injury early in the first period. They were outshot 33-18 and dominated by the Flames in the second period.

Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan produced power-play goals and Tobias Rieder scored shorthanded in the second. Andrew Mangiapane added an empty-net goal.

Andrew Copp countered for the Jets in the first period.

WATCH | Scheifele leaves game with injury:

Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele needed help getting off the ice after being hit along the boards by Matthew Tkachuk. 1:44

Cam Talbot made 17 saves for the win in his first playoff start with the Flames.

Whether it was the 33-year-old or David Rittich who would get the nod for Game 1 of the best-of-five series was much-debated in Calgary, and not revealed until game time.

Talbot had less work than Vezina Trophy nominee and Jets counterpart Connor Hellebuyck, although the Flames goaltender weathered three straight Jets power-play chances in the third.

Hellebuyck stopped 29 shots in the loss.

The potential loss of season scoring co-leader Scheifele would be devastating for Winnipeg’s Stanley Cup prospects.

The Flames (36-27-7) ranked eighth in the conference and the Jets (37-28-6) ninth when the NHL suspended the season March 12.

The only all-Canadian matchup in the NHL’s qualifying round had little history from the 2019-20 season.

WATCH | Reider scores short-handed goal:

Tobias Reider’s shorthanded goal in the 2nd period would hold up as the game winner in Calgary’s 4-1 win against Winnipeg. 1:03

Their lone meeting was the Oct. 26 outdoor Heritage Classic in Regina, which Winnipeg won 2-1 in overtime.

But animosity brewed in the first period when Scheifele went awkwardly into the boards at 5:41.

He appeared to jam his left leg under him as Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk applied his arm to Scheifele’s back.

Scheifele injury leads to fight

As Scheifele writhed in pain, Winnipeg’s bench directed a stream of expletives at Calgary’s.

Tkachuk’s skate appeared to make contact with Scheifele’s. No penalty was called on the play.

Jets captain Blake Wheeler summoned Tkachuk for retributive justice on the Flames forward’s next shift. Tkachuk obliged and the two traded punches.

Just 31 seconds after that scrap, Adam Lowry dished a backhand from behind the net out front to Copp to whip over Talbot’s glove.

But Winnipeg otherwise mustered little offence with a power play held scoreless on seven chances.

WATCH | Jets vs. Flames series preview:

In part 5 of 10, Rob Pizzo breaks down the only all-Canadian matchup in the qualification round.  1:11

Jets winger Patrik Laine headed to the dressing room early in the third after a collision with Flames captain Mark Giordano.

Calgary went 2 for 4 with a man advantage.

Backlund buried a high shot on Hellebuyck’s blocker side at 18:14. Calgary’s Rieder shelved a backhand on a short-handed breakaway at 12:51.

The puck bobbling on a pass from Sean Monahan, Gaudreau deftly corralled it to get a sharp-angled shot away and by Hellebuyck’s glove at 7:06 to pull Calgary even.

The Jets and Flames got their first taste of playoff hockey without fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cold, cavernous interior of Edmonton’s Rogers Place was tarted up with multiple large light screens throwing colour onto screens covering empty seats.

The clack of the puck on sticks and exhortations from the players’ benches were often the only sounds heard after faceoffs.

Calgary was the home team Saturday and will be again for Game 2 on Monday. Winnipeg is the home club in Tuesday’s Game 3.

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Spirit tie it late to earn draw against Thorns FC

Sam Staab’s header in the 77th minute pulled the Washington Spirit into a 1-1 draw with the Portland Thorns on Sunday night in the National Women’s Soccer League’s Challenge Cup tournament.

Lindsey Horan’s diving header off a free kick from Meghan Klingenberg put the Thorns up 1-0 in the 69th minute. Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe got a hand on the ball but it bounced into the goal off the crossbar.

Staab scored for the Spirit on a back-heel volley from teammate Ashley Sanchez to tie the game up.

Horan nearly gave the Thorns the win in the 88th minute but Bledsoe dove to deflect the shot. Portland is still looking for its first Challenge Cup victory.

WATCH | Thorns FC and Spirit play to a draw:

A perfect setup from Ashley Sanchez led to an equalizing goal for the Washington Spirit in a 1-1 draw against the Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League’s Challenge Cup. 1:12

The Thorns were without defender Becky Sauerbrunn because of a left hip injury that will keep her out of the rest of the tournament.

Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle and forward Ashley Hatch were on the bench to start the game but both came in for the second half. Hatch got a shot off in the 61st minute but Thorns goalkeeper Bella Bixby leapt to push it away with one hand.

The Spirit started rookie forward Averie Collins while the Thorns started rookie forward Morgan Weaver. Both were on the Washington State team that went to the College Cup semifinals last season.

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CBC | Soccer News

Eugenie Bouchard downs No. 8 Garcia to earn another win at Auckland Open

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard cruised into the quarter-finals at the Auckland Open on Tuesday in New Zealand.

The Westmount, Que., native dispatched France’s eighth-seeded Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-4 to move on at the tournament in which fellow Canadian Bianca Andreescu reached the final last year.

While Andreescu’s surprising run was a sign of things to come, Bouchard’s emergence could signal a revival. The 25-year-old has experienced a big drop in the rankings to 262nd since reaching No. 5 in 2014.

Bouchard’s opening round win over Belgium’s Kristen Flipkens was her first above a 125K event (the lowest level on the WTA Tour) since last February in Dubai. Now, she’s put together two straight.

Against Garcia, Bouchard fired home two aces while double-faulting just once. Crucially, the Canadian produced 11 break points and converted on three of them, compared to just one break in five opportunities for Garcia. 

Bouchard’s next opponent will be the winner of a match between American No. 3 Amanda Anisimova and unseeded Russian Daria Kasatkina.

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Canadian adults earn failing grade on physical activity report card

It’s not just kids who get too much screen time and too little physical activity — adults are falling short, too.

That’s according to the first-ever report card for adults from Participaction, a non-profit group that promotes healthy living and typically ranks children’s fitness levels.

The new report gives Canadians over the age of 18 a D for overall physical activity, finding most spend far too much time sitting and not enough time getting heart-pumping exercise.

Adults get an F when it comes to moderate-to-vigorous activity, with the report finding just 16 per cent of adults get the recommended 150 minutes each week.

Participaction scientist Leigh Vanderloo acknowledges many Canadians are busy with work and family obligations, but she urges people to find pockets of time throughout the week.

She says that could include standing more at the office or parking the car further from your destination and walking the rest of the way. The key is to make physical activity a key part of everyday routines.

“Physical activity has really been socially engineered out of our day-to-day lives, from even as simple as the majority of the work we do no longer requires physical labour,” says Vanderloo.

“Can you do two 10- or 15-minute brisk walks? If you do, make sure that you have deodorant or face wipes or dry shampoo at your desk at all times so that that doesn’t become a barrier.”

Adults who put in more than 7,500 steps per day likely meet the guidelines, but only 52 per cent of adults do this, says the report, released Tuesday. About 29 per cent get between 5,000 and 7,499 steps per day.

Those with fewer steps are considered sedentary, and represent about 18 per cent of adults.

Vanderloo says Canadians generally spend too much time in a seated or reclined position. The study cites Statistics Canada data that found about 86 per cent of adults are sedentary for more than eight hours per day, excluding sleep time.

‘We’re more sedentary than before’

On an average day, adults say they spend 3.6 hours in a seated or reclined position in front of a screen.

“We’re more sedentary than before. Getting people to move more is always a focus but now we need to also reduce sedentary and sitting behaviour which is also detrimental,” says Vanderloo, suggesting office workers take more frequent “standing breaks” or “walking meetings.”

Physical inactivity can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases, cognitive decline, falls and social isolation among older adults.

Those aged 18 to 64 should also incorporate weight and bone strengthening activities at least twice a week, while older adults should work on improving balance to prevent slips and falls, says the report.

Vanderloo says activity levels generally decrease with age. Last year’s report card for kids found 62 per cent of three- to four-year-olds meet physical activity guidelines while only 35 per cent of five-to-17-year-olds did the same.

Staying active can be even more difficult as an adult because there are fewer organized sports activities and increased fear of injuries, says Vanderloo.

The report gave government a B- for promoting physical activity, but calls on all levels of government to ensure facilities and programs cater to adults as well as kids.

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CBC | Health News

Female surgeons in Ontario earn 24% less per hour than male peers, study finds

A new study shows female surgeons in Ontario earn less per hour than their male peers, despite the province’s clearly defined fee-for-service system.

The study, published today in the medical journal JAMA Surgery, analyzed data from more than 1.5 million surgical procedures claimed by 3,275 Ontario surgeons from the start of 2014 through 2016.

It found that overall, women make 24 per cent less per hour while operating, a gap linked to the types of surgeries they typically perform.

The research found women perform far fewer of the highest-paid primary procedures, and are often driven towards less lucrative specializations.

Two of the study’s authors, both surgeons at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, say it dispels the idea that a fee-for-service system such as the Ontario Health Insurance Program eliminates gender disparities in pay.

Dr. Fahima Dossa and Dr. Nancy Baxter say it also debunks the hypothesis that female surgeons may be earning less because they work shorter hours or less efficiently.

“Everyone’s always trying to explain gender differences by pathologizing women … ‘There’s something wrong with women, there’s something about the way women work or the way they negotiate or the way they behave in their space,’ instead of saying that the system’s kind of rigged against them,” Baxter said in an interview this week.

“What we were trying to do is deconstruct many of the arguments and say, ‘No, women are operating as quickly as men are, yet … they end up making less per hour.”‘

The pay gap persisted even after the researchers adjusted for specialty: the largest mean differences were in cardiothoracic surgery, where there was a discrepancy of $ 79.23 (US$ 59.64) per hour, and orthopedic surgery, where the gap was $ 73.66 (US$ 55.45).

Dearth of female neurosurgeons

Male surgeons also earned more hourly than female surgeons in gynecology, even though there are more women in that field, the study found. The mean difference there amounted to $ 22.90 (US$ 17.24) per hour.

When the 200 most common procedures were analyzed based on earnings per hour, the researchers found female surgeons performed more than a quarter of the least lucrative ones but less than six per cent of the highest-paid ones.

The proportion of women performing an operation dropped as the pay per hour for that procedure increased, the study shows.

The doctors say the dearth of women in certain surgical specialties limited some aspects of the research.

“We couldn’t even include neurosurgery in some of our analyses because there are under five women in the specialty,” Baxter said.

“In some cases, we didn’t find statistical or mathematical differences between males and females, and that’s because there were so few women in the specialty that our techniques for detecting the differences weren’t sensitive — there were too few women to be able to make those assessments,” Dossa added.

The study also doesn’t go into why women don’t have the opportunity to perform higher-paying surgeries, and Baxter and Dossa say that’s something they would like to examine in the future.

Biases in the fee-setting and referral processes likely play a role, Baxter said.

“When you look at who sets the fee codes for various procedures, in general, there aren’t a lot of women at those tables. So you have men that are setting the fee codes that affect everybody,” she said.

“I think that there’s substantial bias in that, and then there’s the gamesmanship in terms of what referrals are accepted.”

It can be difficult to find surgeons willing to accept referrals for procedures that don’t pay well for the time required, which means women — who typically get fewer referrals to begin with — often end up taking them on, she said.

“They’ll have to take the cases that other people turn down,” she said.

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CBC | Health News

Andre De Grasse runs season-best 200m to earn 3rd at Diamond League finals

Andre De Grasse ended his Diamond League season on a fast note.

De Grasse, 24, ran a season-best time of 19.87 seconds to earn third place in the men’s 200 metres at the league finals on Friday in Brussels.

Fellow Canadian Aaron Brown, who upended De Grasse in the Canadian championships 100 final, placed fourth at 20 seconds even.

As rain began to fall in Belgium, American Noah Lyles continued making his case as the Tokyo Olympics gold medal favourite in the event with a victory at 19.74 seconds. Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev snagged second just one hundredth of a second ahead of De Grasse.

WATCH | Lyles snags Diamond League double ahead of De Grasse, Brown:

Noah Lyles added to his 100 metres win, with a victory in the men’s 200 metres Diamond League final in Brussels, while Andre De Grasse finished third with a season best time of 19.74 seconds. 5:27

De Grasse’s time is just six hundredths off of his personal best set at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Brown, meanwhile, was just 0.05 behind his personal best set earlier this season in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Both men will now turn their attention to the world track and field championships which run from Sept. 27 through Oct. 6 in Doha, Qatar. CBC Sports is the exclusive home of all live coverage from the event.

WATCH | De Grasse feeling healthy as track and field world championships approach:

Andre De Grasse spoke after his 3rd place finish in the men’s 200m race at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, Belgium. 1:27

DeBues-Stafford adds another national record

Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford keeps making history.

After shattering her own 1,500 national mark last week by breaking the four-minute barrier, the 23-year-old lowered her 5,000 number by more than seven seconds to 14 minutes, 44.12 seconds.

WATCH | Hassan takes 5,000 ahead of DeBues-Stafford’s national record:

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won the Diamond League final women’s 5,000 metres race, while Toronto’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford finished seventh with a Canadian record time of 14:44.12. 18:44

DeBues-Stafford placed seventh as Dutch runner Sifan Hassan raced to victory in 14:26.26. Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey and Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen were second and third, respectively.

WATCH | DeBues-Stafford still aiming higher after latest Canadian record:

Toronto’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford finished seventh in the women’s 5,000-metres Diamond League final race in Brussels, setting a new Canadian record with a time of 14:44.12. 2:04

DeBues-Stafford was one of two Canadians to run in both halves of the Diamond League finals. She’s now achieved a Canadian record in each one.

Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel also competed in both meets, but placed seventh in the women’s 100 at 11.38 seconds on Friday, well off both her personal and season bests. Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith won the race with a season-best 10.88.

WATCH | Asher-Smith bolts to 100 win:

Dina Asher-Smith runs to a season’s best 10.88 while Toronto’s Crystal Emmanuel finished 7th with a time of 11.38 at the Diamond League final in Brussels. 3:55

Pole vaulter Alysha Newman, another national record holder, sewed up third place in the event on Friday but failed to clear 4.83 metres, which would have broken the mark of 4.82 metres she set earlier this season.

WATCH | Alysha Newman vaults to third place:

The London, Ontario native clears 4.77m to hang on to the third spot in the women’s pole vault Diamond League final. 0:45

Canada’s lone winner on the day was Sage Watson, who took first place in women’s 400 hurdles at 55.58 seconds. While that wasn’t a Diamond League event, it bodes well for Watson that she was able to fend off several high-end competitors.

WATCH | Medicine Hat’s Sage Watson wins women’s Diamond League 400m hurdles:

Sage Watson convincingly takes the women’s 400m hurdles with a time of 55.58 in Brussels. The Alberta native beat her nearest competitor by more than a second. 4:58

Watson should be considered a podium contender at worlds after this result.

Watch a replay of the Diamond League Finals on CBC’s weekly Road to the Olympic Games show on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.

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‘Is this real life?’ Bianca Andreescu’s dream season continues, battles to earn berth in U.S. Open semifinals

When the heat was on, Bianca Andreescu found a way to raise her tennis game at the U.S. Open on a sweltering Wednesday night in New York City.

It was a hot and humid — stifling really — evening inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Andreescu couldn’t stop sweating. She wiped her face. She wiped down her arms and legs. She tried to stay focused.

But the early going of her quarter-final match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens was proving to be nearly impossible for Andreescu to make a shot.

Down one set and frustrated throughout much of the night, the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., seeded 15th, was nonetheless able to compose herself under the bright lights, battling back against the No. 25 seed Mertens to win a gruelling three-set match, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. The match lasted two hours and one minute.

Andreescu is now the second Canadian to ever advance to the U.S. Open semifinals — after Carling Bassett in 1984 — and the fourth woman in history to reach the semifinals in her Open debut. Andreescu will play the No. 13-ranked Swiss tennis player Belinda Bencic in Thursday night’s semifinal.

Andreescu has won 12 consecutive three-set matches and is 17-3 this year when the matches go the distance.

“This is honestly so crazy. A year ago I was in the qualifying round suffering from a back injury. I’m speechless,” she said in her post-match on-court interview.

“I need someone to pinch me right now. Is this real life? Is this real life?”

Andreescu celebrates a point during her quarter-final victory over Mertens. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Needed to refocus

The New York crowd roared as Andreescu stood at centre court after her victory, amazed by what she had accomplished. It wasn’t easy though.

Andreescu was feeling the pressure early in the match. Mertens was taking the game to the young Canadian, painting the lines with perfect form and forcing Andreescu into difficult situations on the court.

Andreescu had 14 unforced errors in the first set as Mertens cruised to an easy 6-2 win. Mertens had dropped just 16 games coming into the match, the fewest among the remaining players at the U.S. Open.

The game start had been delayed by 20 minutes due to the men’s quarter-final. That meant the crowd had to exit the stadium and re-enter before the Andreescu-Mertens match. They took their time.

The fans also seemed disinterested at first, talking loudly and creating a distracting murmur. The players pushed on as people continued to talk loudly in the stands.

Andreescu needed to refocus for the second set if she wanted to stay alive at the U.S. Open.

Asked what she was thinking after dropping the first set, Andreescu didn’t mince her words in the post-match interview.

“Get your [expletive] together,” Andreescu said frankly. Cue the comeback.

Merten digs to return a shot to Andreescu. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Power and prowess

The turning point came in the second set at 2-2. Andreescu found herself down 0-30 in her service game and needed a spark. That’s when she lunged at a brilliant cross-court shot by Mertens and played a perfect volley.

That point changed the game. From there, Andreescu won the next 12 of 13 points.

From that point, she showed the power and prowess many had been accustomed to seeing from the young tennis phenom.

Re-energized, Andreescu started ripping forehand winners, bouncing around the court and pumping her fist after winners.

“Come on!” she yelled. “Let’s go.”

Andreescu forced a third and deciding set with a decisive 6-2 second-set win.

Andreescu serves to Mertens during their quarter-final match. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The two would trade games early in the third before Andreescu broke Mertens at 4-4. Andreescu served out the match in front of a capacity Arthur Ashe crowd.

“I’ve been working a lot on my fitness and mental strength,” Andreescu said. “It’s all the hard work I’ve put in.”

Andreescu finished last season ranked 178th in the world. But with a record of 43-4 and two WTA wins already this year, she’ll be in the top 10 rankings as the last major of the year comes to a close.

Prior to Wednesday night’s match, Andreescu said it was a “dream come true” to be walking onto the Arthur Ashe Stadium court in prime time to be playing a quarter-final match-up.

But it’s clear the teenage tennis star isn’t content with a semifinal appearance. She wants this dream-like season to include two more wins at the U.S. Open. 

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