Pendrel had her worst results in years, finishing ninth, at 3:36 minutes behind gold medalist Julie Bresset. She told the media she has never had an experience where she could not be aggressive and instead kept seeing people passing her but could not do anything about it.
“At this point in time I haven’t debriefed with Dan so I really cannot comment,” said Landry. “All I know is she gave everything. It’s racing; it’s the Olympics. I’m confident we did everything to get the results – it didn’t pan out today, but for tomorrow we have two racers contesting.”
Landry commented that Pendrel’s race was “…not really what she usually does. She’s not a fast starter off the blocks, but then she moves up. This time, this race, that didn’t happen. We’ll go back, talk to the exercise physiologists, talk to the coaches.”
But was Pendrel prepared mentally to take the pressure of being the #1 favourite going into the Olympics? “I don’t think she saw herself as a favourite. She has the world championship jersey which she has worn well. For me, I don’t think that affected her. She was off the podium [in some World Cups] because she was in training mode for her race today. She was not expected to kill the last world cups.”
Landry maintains that the Canadian MTB men’s team – Geoff Kabush and Max Plaxton – goes into Sunday’s race with top preparation. While Canada has one more race to go with Sunday’s men’s MTB race, its Olympic cycling team overall has not had the results that were hoped for. There were strong medal hopes for the women’s time trial, the men’s and women’s track Omnium, the women’s Team Pursuit on the track, and the women’s mountain biking. Only the women’s Team Pursuit landed on the podium. In 1996 at the Games in Atlanta Canada’s Olympic cycling team earned a massive five medals, followed by zero in Sydney in 2000, then two (gold and silver) in Athens in 2004, back to zero again at Beijing 2008, and now one bronze medal so far in London.
Without question the Olympics are the highest level of competition and one small mistake or mishap, made before the Games commence in training and preparation, or during the Games in terms of strategy, physical or psychological, can result in big disappointments. Batty’s unfortunate crash in training had devastating reprecussions as did Poland’s medal hope, Maja Wloszczowska, who won silver in Beijing but missed the Games completely as she injured her right foot while training in Livigno, Italy.
Overall the Canadian Olympic team has not managed to win more medals, at the time of writing, than it did in Beijing. No doubt many discussions will ensue after the Games that will analyze our medal position. The IOC’s website has Canada in 35th position, behind New Zealand, Iran, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Romania and Azerbaijan to name a few.
Because as the Games wrap up we still only have one gold medal. It came in trampoline. The CBC, meanwhile, has put more weight on total medals won overall and therefore puts Canada in 12th position, which is the rank the Canadian Olympic Committee had hoped to reach going into the Games.