Canada is a force to be reckoned with in track and field.
Finishing with 8 medals, including 2 gold medals, the 2015 World Championships in Beijing was Canada’s most successful result.
Canada won their first gold medal in 12 years, when Perdita Felicien won gold in the 100 metre hurdles. It was also the first time that Canada has won two gold medals in a single World Championships since 1995 when Donovan Bailey and the 4×100 metre relay team were atop the podium.
With less than a year to go before the Olympics in Rio, this is a great sign for Canada.
Let’s take a look at the record medal haul.
Gold – Derek Drouin – High Jump
Drouin, a bronze medalist in the 2012 London Olympics, won his first World Championship gold medal in Beijing (he won bronze at the Worlds in 2013). He was the only man to jump clear of 2.34 metres, finishing ahead of Bohdan Bondarenko (Ukraine) and Zhang Guowei (China).
Gold – Shawn Barber – Pole Vault
It’s been a great summer for 21-year-old Shawn Barber. After winning gold at home at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, he proved it was no fluke in Beijing. Barber jumped 5.90 metres, finishing ahead of 2013 champion Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany).
Silver – Damian Warner – Decathlon
A fifth place finisher in London 2012, Warner’s stock has continued to rise. The 25-year-old from London, Ontario won bronze at the Worlds in 2013 and took silver this year.
The decathlon is traditionally known as the best athlete in the world, so Canadians should be proud to have Warner in contention. Warner is the first Canadian to medal in this event at the World Championships since Mike Smith in 1995.
Silver – Melissa Bishop – 800 m
A gold medalist at the Pan Am Games in Toronto last month, Bishop carried that momentum into Canada’s first ever medal in her event. She set a new Canadian record in the semi-final before finishing second to Maryna Arzamasava of Belarus in the final.
Silver – Brianne Theisen-Eaton – Heptathlon
Brianne Theisen-Eaton won silver at the Worlds for the second time in a row. She is the only Canadian woman to win a medal at the World Championships in the multi-disciplinary event and she will look to become the first Canadian to medal in heptathlon at the Olympics next summer.
Bronze – Ben Thorne – 20 km walk
Ben Thorne’s race walking medal came as a surprise to everyone, including himself. Just one month after being left off Canada’s team at the Pan Am Games, Thorne was hoping for a top-8 finish. Thorne did better than that of course, and will bring a bronze medal home to Kitimat, BC. The bronze medal represents Canada’s first ever medal in race walking at the World Championships.
Bronze – Andre De Grasse – 100 m
Andre De Grasse has burst onto the world sprinting scene, winning a bronze medal and putting the rest of the world on notice. He’s just 20-years-old and already running under 10 seconds, so it goes without saying that his future looks bright.
Usain Bolt still looks unbeatable, so a gold medal in Rio might be ambitious thinking, but a medal of any colour in the glamour event of track and field would be a tremendous achievement.
Bronze – Canada (Andre De Grasse, Brendon Rodney, Aaron Brown, Justyn Warner) – 4×100 m relay
By now everyone knows Andre De Grasse, but fewer people know the name Aaron Brown, a tremendous sprinter in his own right. Brown finished in 17th place in the 100 m sprint and, along with DeGrasse, Brendon Rodney and Justyn Warner, helped Canada secure a bronze medal in the 4×100 metre relay.
Not only did Canada perform exceptionally well in Beijing (they finished with the 5th most medals), but they won medals in prestigious events. While it remains to be seen if the track and field team can translate this success to Rio 2016, it is certainly a good sign.