It worked for curling in 1998 and it’ll likely do the same for women’s canoeing.
Adding a sport to the Olympics almost always has repercussions down to the grassroots level.
You could almost make out those Olympic ripples on the waters of the Red River off Churchill Drive, Thursday, where the lure of the women joining the 2020 Tokyo Games wasn’t far from the minds of competitors in the Canada Games.
“It’s definitely raised the bar for canoeing in Canada,” Maddy Mitchell said after reeling in her third medal of the Games, a photo-finish bronze in the C-2 (two-person) 200 metres. “A lot of people didn’t put women into the sport before, because it wasn’t in the Olympics and there was no point in developing it. So the sport has definitely grown in the past two years.
“But it’s definitely more difficult now to make the national team, especially in Canada. Because we have some of the best in the world. So there’s hope, but it’ll be unbelievably difficult to make the Olympic team some day.”
Winnipeg’s Nadya Crossman-Serb is already on the national team, with Mitchell and C-2 partner Nicole Boyle chasing the dream.
Mitchell, 19, has fished three medals out of the Red in six events, so far, but the ones that got away are on her mind, too.
“The other three are all fourth-place finishes, which sucks,” she said. “Lots of them were very close, less than a second. Every day I’ve been happy about a medal, but then I get a fourth-place that day as well. So it’s a little bit of disappointment.”
Thursday’s surprise bronze in the 200 metres was offset by a fourth in the C-2 500, also with Boyle next to her.
“Nicole and I never thought we would have medalled in the 200-metres,” Mitchell said….