Canada's Catharine Pendrel wins bronze in mountain biking

Aug 20 2016, 4:51 pm

Kamloops, BC’s Catharine Pendrel has won the bronze medal in women’s mountain biking.

Jenny Rissveds (Sweden) won gold with a time of 1:30:15, Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) was 37 seconds behind to win silver, and Pendrel was 1:26 back for bronze. Canadian Emily Batty finished just two seconds behind Pendrel in fourth place.

The 35-year-old Pendrel is competing in her third Olympics. She had two gut-wrenching finishes in her first two Games. She placed fourth, just out of a medal position in 2008. She was the defending world champion and gold medal favourite heading into London 2012, but finished a disappointing ninth place.

It looked like history would repeat itself early in this one when Pendrel was in 15th-place after the first lap. She had a crash on the start loop, then had a mechanical issue.

“Typically I’m not a good starter, so I’m kind of used to coming through,” an excited Pendrel told CBC. “I was kind of thinking to myself ‘oh my god, this is all worst-case scenario’, but then it turned out great.”

“I just kept fighting through, and it paid off in the end. I am just so happy that it came together on the day. This is a lifetime pursuit, and your lifestyle. It’s emotional, it’s physical, and it is such a relief to cross the line.”

Pendrel said she wasn’t putting more pressure on herself because of past performances, in what could be her last Olympics.

“I just wanted to have a good race. Every race I go into, I just want to have a good one and I knew that’s the attitude that usually gives me a good result. So I just tried to focus on treating it like any other race and just giving it all I had.”

The medal brings Canada’s overall total to 22, which ties a national record for most medals won at a single non-boycotted Summer Olympic Games. The total matches the amount that Canada earned 20 years ago at Atlanta 1996.