Canada put on a good show at this year’s Commonwealth Games, held in New Delhi, India. After 11 days of events, Canada won 75 medals, and finished fourth in standings behind a dominant Australia, India, and England (in that order).
Canada earned 26 gold medals this year in New Delhi, predominantly in the areas of athletics, swimming, and wrestling.
Alexandre Despatie put up an excellent performance this year, finishing first in 1m springboard, 3m springboard, and 3m springboard synchronized. Despatie is now one of the top 10 most decorated Canadian athletes, having secured his 11th medal (nine gold and two bronze). He has also won the most gold medals ever for a Canadian; and for most medals won in the Commonwealth Games, he’s only one behind Australian swimmers Ian Thorpe, Susie O’Neill, and Leisel Jones. The only thing left on his to-do list is to win gold at the 2012 Olympic Games. At the past two Olympics he has won silver.
Another athlete who excelled in New Delhi was swimmer Brent Hayden from Mission, British Columbia. He took gold in both the 100m freestyle and the 50m freestyle, shattering both Commonwealth record times in the process.
Canada won four gold medals in wrestling thanks to Arjan Bhullar, Justine Bouchard, Ohenewa Akuffo, and Olympic champion Carol Huynh. Arjan Bhullar was a favourite coming into the games, having finished ninth at last year’s world championships. Carol Huynh defeated Nirmila Devi of India 7 to 3 for the gold in the 48kg class, while Ohenewa Akuffo took the 72kg gold with her victory over Annabelle-Laure Ali of Camaroon. Justine Bouchard won gold in the 63kg category after winning against Blessing Orududu of Nigeria.
The most decorated Canadian athlete at these games was cyclist Tara Whitten, who captured gold in the road time trial and bronze in the 25km points race, the team sprints, and the 3,000m individual pursuit.
Whitten was chosen as the Canadian flagbearer for the closing ceremonies.
The Canadian athletics team’s result was 13 medals. They captured gold in women’s hammer throw, men’s shotput and shotput para-sport, women’s 15,00m para-sport T54, men’s decathlon, and women’s high jump and long jump. They also secured silver in the women’s heptathlon, and women’s 100m hurdles. Finally, they received bronze in women’s triple jump, men’s 1,500m para-sport T54, women’s long jump, women’s pole vault, and women’s 200m and 800m sprints.
The Canadian teams did about as well as expected in gymnastics. They finished with a silver medal in women’s rhythmic team and had two bronze medals in the men’s and the women’s team finals. They also came away with individual medals in men’s horizontal bar, women’s uneven bars, women’s vault, and women’s
Despite all the medals Canadians have earned at these games, this is the first time in 48 years that Canada has not cracked the top three in overall medals. At the last Games they secured third place with a total of 87 medals. What Canada didn’t anticipate this year was that India would more than double their medal count at Melbourne in 2006. No doubt this was due to the “home advantage”, which Canadians know a lot about—just look at the 2010 Olympics.