Local athletes excel in Rio
There are five athletes competing in the Rio Olympics from our corner of the country, the Eastern Townships.
Julien Bahain is a rower from Sherbrooke who competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the quadruple sculls. In Rio, he and his teammates finished 5th in Repechage, just missing qualifying for the finals.
Coleen Loach is on the Canadian Equestrian Team, competing in crosscountry team eventing. In her first Olympics, Ms. Roach competed on August 7th on her horse Qorry Blue D’Argouges, the first to ride for the team. She earned a score of 56.50 penalties and finished in 51st spot individually. Unfortunately, a few seconds into her ride there was a loud noise from a microphone which startled her horse a little.
Nick Hoag, from Sherbrooke, is on the Canadian Men’s Volleyball team and is coached by his father, Glenn Hoag, a former Olympic Volleyball player. In a first appearance at the Olympics since Barcelona in 1992, Nick Hoag and the Canadian men’s team beat the American team in all three games on August 7th, surprising everyone but themselves. Nick Hoag led his team in scoring with 14 points. The Canadian Men’s Volleyball team played again Tuesday evening, too late for this newspaper to report on it.
Pascal Plamondon is a weightlifter from Ascot Corner in the 85 kg weight class. He holds the national record in the clean and jerk, lifting 189 kilograms, and brought home a bronze medal from the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He will be competing in Rio on Friday, August 12th.
Last but not least is Josée Bélanger, the soccer player from Coaticook who was making history with the rest of her teammates on Tuesday afternoon at the Rio Olympiocs as the newspaper was being finished up. Ms. Belanger didn’t play in the Canadian Women’s team’s first match against Australia on August 3rd, which finished 2 to 0 for Canada. She made her Olympic debut in the team’s second game against Zimbabwe on August 6th, wearing number nine. Playing on defense, she made a beautiful pass to Janine Beckie for the team’s third goal in the game that finished 3 to 1 and assured the team of moving on to the quarter-finals. Coach John Herdman had Ms. Bélanger playing forward for the team’s third game on Tuesday afternoon against the German team. In an exciting nail-biter, the Canadian women beat the Germans for the first time in history, with a score of 2 to 1. Josée played an impressive game, intercepting a pass in the second half which drew a penalty that led to a goal. In the last seconds of stoppage time, as Germany was fighting for its life, the Germans got a corner kick. Near the post, it was the Coaticook star who stopped the header that was on its way in to preserve her team’s lead. They must have been jumping and hollering at the Pavillon des arts et culture, in Coaticook, where family, friends and fans gather to watch Josee’s games on the big screen. Coaticook’s is making an impressive Olympic debut in Rio on the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team.