AT 6-FOOT-6 and with size 17 feet, Ian Thorpe would stand out anywhere. Add to that formidable physique great natural talent and a penchant for hard work, and it’s no surprise the Australian swimmer has emerged as the undisputed star of the XVII Commonwealth Games. The 19year-old Aussie—who has won 11 world or Olympic titles, setting 17 world records in the process—continued his winning ways in Manchester, garnering four gold medals by week’s end. The British tabs reported The Thorpedo’s every move.
Still, some of the 281 Canadians among the 5,000 athletes from 72 countries of the former British Empire performed their own star turns. Montreal’s Chantal Petitclerc won the 800-m wheelchair race —and made history as the first disabled athlete to grab a recognized gold medal at a multi-sport games. Canada also had its share of two-gold winners, including Montreal diver Alex Despatie, gymnasts Kate Richardson of Coquitlam, B.C., and Kyle Shewfelt of Calgary, and weightlifter Maryse Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que.
Meanwhile, Toronto’s Jonathon Power, the bad boy of the squash world, beat his long-time nemesis, Peter Nicol of England, for gold. In all, Canada had 90 medals by week’s end, including 22 gold, 32 silver and 36 bronze, with four boxers still to fight gold-medal bouts. The country seemed destined for third place in the standings, behind Australia and England.
Then there’s Liz Warden’s contribution. The Toronto swimmer lost her bronze medal in the 200-m individual medley after the silver medallist, temporarily disqualified, was reinstated in second place. Officials gave Warden a special award for outstanding sportsmanship. That makes her a winner in many Canadians’ books. Hfl
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