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B.C. athletes bring home the hardware

While B.C. athletes made up more than a third of the Canadian team at the Olympics in Beijing, they also accounted for a third of Canada’s 18 medals.

While B.C. athletes made up more than a third of the Canadian team at the Olympics in Beijing, they also accounted for a third of Canada’s 18 medals.

Gold medal winners included, Kevin Light, Ben Rutledge, Malcolm Howard and Kyle Hamilton, who were part of Canada’s men’s eight rowing crew, and Carol Huynh of Hazelton, who won the women’s 48-kilogram freestyle wrestling category and Canada’s first gold medal of the Games.

Silver medals went to Victoria’s Simon Whitfield in triathlon, and men’s rowing pair David Calder and Scott Frandsen.

Bronze medals went to Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane in men’s 1,500 freestyle swimming, and the Jonathan Beare, Mike Lewis and Daniel Liam Parsons of the lightweight men’s fours rowing squad.

Several athletes also finished in fourth place.

Kamloops rider Catharine Pendrel was fourth in women’s mountain biking, after sitting in third place for most of the race. She was late in shifting down for a climb near the finish line and was forced to stop for a moment, yielding third place to Russian rider Irina Kalentieva. Marie Helene-Premont, the current World Cup leader, was in second place in the second lap when she was forced to pull over due to hyperventilating and high heart rate. It’s only the second race in her career where she has been forced to pull out with health issues.

Geoff Kabush of Victoria was the top Canadian male in mountain biking, placing 20 th on a surprisingly technical course.

Track and field star Gary Reid, who specializes in the 800-metres, also finished fourth. He found himself blocked out at the back of the pack before heading into the final stretch, but manage to sprint his way to fourth place. Another five metres of track and Reid would most likely have been on the podium.

Strongman Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops fell about five centimetres short of making the podium in shot put, while setting a Canadian record in the process. There was some initial concern that the official measuring his shot made a mistake after a video was posted on YouTube, but the official Olympic video concluded that the track and field official measured the correct mark.

Blythe Hartley of North Vancouver also just missed the podium in the three-metre springboard diving competition. She was sitting third until the very end of the competition when defending Olympic champion Guo Jingjing of China placed first.

Heather Mandoli, Romina Stefancic, and Darcy Marquardt were on the women’s rowing eights team that placed fourth.

The Canadian women’s softball team also finished fourth, in what may be that sports last appearance in the Games. Baseball may also be taken off the schedule.

At the closing ceremonies, team members wrote “Softball 2012” on their arms. B.C. players include Lauren Bay Regula, Danielle Lawrie, Malenaie Matthews, Jennifer Salling, and Jennifer Yee.

Dominka Kopcik of Surrey was fourth in synchronized swimming.