Sports

Red, white and golden Games

A roller hockey drug scandal mars Canada’s winning week

August 9 1999
Sports

Red, white and golden Games

A roller hockey drug scandal mars Canada’s winning week

August 9 1999

Red, white and golden Games

Sports

They’re getting plenty of practice singing O Canada in Winnipeg. The host team was a lofty second in the medal standings at the end of the first week of the Pan-American Games, typically behind the United States but surprisingly in front of traditional powerhouse Cuba. That had Fidel Castro smoking: the Cuban dictator, angered by defections from his team, accused organizers of “trickery” in an effort “to displace Cuba from the second position in order to benefit the host country.”

Canadian spirits sagged when Games officials stripped the roller hockey team of its gold medal because goaltender Steve Vezina had taken three banned substances, including an anabolic steroid. But overall, last weeks

standing was due to many great performances by the home team. Canadians who were expected to win usually did—including rowers and badminton players. And in upsets, Canada won in team gymnastics and baseball—a stunner against the United States, and an 8-1 rout of Cuba.

Among local heroes was rower Emma Robinson who, only four months after surgery to remove a malignant tumour from her thyroid, won the women’s coxless pairs gold with Theresa Luke of Forest Grove, B.C. But the best news for home-country fans was that, a year away from the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Canadian athletes appear to be rounding into form.

Tanya Dubnicoff delighted her home-town fans by winning the 500-m time trial; rowers Luke (above left) and Robinson triumphed on Lake Minnedosa; and Sharon Donnelly (below) of Orleans, Ont., conquered the gruelling triathlon

A roller hockey drug scandal mars Canada’s winning week

The baseball team posted remarkable victories (top); Guivi Sissaouri of Montreal won gold in 58-kg freestyle wrestling (above); Yvonne Tousek of Cambridge, Ont. (left), won the womens uneven bars and floor exercise and led Canada to the overall team championship