August 13, 2016 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – Canada finished eighth in the Women’s Team Sprint on the second day of track competition at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday. The Canadian duo of Kate O’Brien and Monique Sullivan (both of Calgary), qualified seventh with a time of 33.735 seconds, to advance to the next round of competition. China won the gold medal in a world record time.
They were matched with Russia, the eventual silver medalists in the next round and, although they knocked 0.051 seconds off their previous time, did not advance to the medal rounds.
“We wanted a faster ride for our second run, and we got it,” said O’Brien. “But we were hoping for a bit faster. We’re both overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time, to be here. It’s amazing to be at the Olympic Games, but it’s also just another bike race; we see all the same people and do the same races. So we’ve been trying to keep the Olympic part in the back of our minds and focus on the racing. The nerves showed up a bit today, but not so much that I was obsessing.”
“I think we were both really hoping for more,” admitted Sullivan, “and I’m not exactly sure why the time wasn’t there. We’ve been showing really good form in training, and tried a bigger gear in the second ride, but I didn’t get on [Kate’s wheel], so I’m pretty bummed about that. I think Kate really did a good job today. I’m really excited for the Keirin tomorrow; it’s a completely different race and a different day, so I’m going to go out there fighting and hopefully it works out.”
National Sprint coach Erin Hartwell said, “I think it’s important to get that first race of the Games out of the way, and get those Olympic jitters behind us. Realistically, I was targeting sixth place as possible, maybe even fifth, but I also knew it was going to be a dogfight for those last few spots. We qualified well – ahead of Spain, a team we haven’t beaten before – and just behind France.
“Both girls were firing well, but sometimes a technical issue amplifies, and there was just too big of a gap with a lap to go, and we were just over a tenth [of a second] off that sixth place. So I’m pretty confident going forward to the Keirin, and we are looking forward to being competitive in the next couple of days.”