Decorated swimmer Aurélie Rivard has captured Canada’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Rivard, of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., repeated as champion in the women’s S10 100-metre freestyle on Saturday.
She raced to the finish in a remarkable time of 58.14 seconds — breaking the world record for a second time that day.
“To have been able to come back from what happened on day one and to step up and swim the best that I could, win Canada’s first gold — it makes it even more special and I really enjoy the moment,” she said.
Swimmers from the Netherlands filled out the rest of the podium. But Rivard’s dominance was crystal clear, as she finished in a full 2.09 seconds ahead of second-place athlete Chantalle Zijderveld.
Lisa Kruger took the bronze in a time of 1:00.68.
WATCH | Canada’s Aurélie Rivard has world record-setting swim for gold:
When the Canadian won, she jumped and hit the water with her arms in total exhilaration.
Hungry for gold
The gold is Rivard’s second medal at these Games, the other being a bronze in the S10 50-metre freestyle.
That medal came in the Canadian’s first chance to defend one of her Paralympic titles in Tokyo. But her third-place finish had left the champion unsatisfied.
“I didn’t have a bronze medal in my collection and I didn’t really want one. I didn’t have a good race,” she said, noting it was still special to land on the podium.
WATCH | Para swimmer Rivard tops the podium in Tokyo:
Rivard headed into the freestyle event hungry for gold.
She attacked the event in her qualifying heat, breaking her own world record for what would be the first time that day in a time of 58.60 seconds.
Next up, the athlete says she’ll watch her performance and talk with her coach before focusing on her upcoming races.
Rivard took top spot in the podium in this event in 2016, and in the 50- and 400-metre freestyles. She also won silver in the 200-metre individual medley in Rio and carried the flag into the closing ceremony.
Including a silver from London 2012, Rivard’s Paralympic medal count has increased to seven total.
The swimmer is Canada’s most decorated female Paralympian in Tokyo. The Paralympics marks the first time Rivard has competed at a meet in 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WATCH | Rivard reflects on winning the first gold for Canada:
The ongoing pandemic means her achievement came under a different atmosphere than Rio, with fans barred from Paralympic events. The athlete said after her bronze medal race that the absence of a crowd seemed to intensify the pressure.
“Without the people in the stands to just be happy and encourage you, it changes the atmosphere; it’s a lot heavier,” she said.
It also means Rivard’s family is absent from celebrations at the pool.
“I would love to share this with my family for sure,” she said. “I think it’s harder for them, though, not being here than for me. But I know they watched it, I know supporting me from home, and I can’t wait to speak to them later tonight hopefully.”
But when Rivard received her gold on Saturday, cheers could be heard from other Team Canada members, congratulating her from the stands before the national anthem rang out.
Former Danish cyclist Chris Anker Sorensen dies in road accident – The Globe and Mail
Former Danish professional cyclist Chris Anker Sorensen has died after being hit by a vehicle during a ride in Belgium, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Saturday.
Sorensen, 37, was due to commentate on the upcoming road world championships in Flanders.
“It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of our good colleague Chris,” a TV2 Sport announcer said on air.
Sorensen, who retired from professional cycling in 2018, won the Danish national title in 2015 and won a stage on the 2010 Giro d’Italia.
NHL Rumors: Oilers, Islanders, Blues, Canadiens, More – The Hockey Writers
In today’s NHL rumors rundown, now that Kailer Yamamoto has signed, there’s already talk about whether or not the Edmonton Oilers can fit both him and Jesse Puljujarvi into their long-term plans. Meanwhile, the New York Islanders have potentially too many contracts and may need to move a prospect. What’s the latest on the status of Vladimir Tarasenko and are the Montreal Canadiens going to be down a prospect due to a refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine?
Can Oilers Only Keep One of Kailer Yamamoto or Jesse Puljujarvi?
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal writes that Yamamoto’s one-year, $1.175 million deal certainly isn’t going to pose problems for this season, but wonders what happens if Yamamoto has a bounce-back 2021-22 campaign. If he ups his production, he could be eyeing Drake Batherson and Joel Farabee‘s six-year deals around $5 million per season.
If so, Staples suggests this could be problematic. He writes:
The Oilers are pressed up against the cap and there’s going to be little cap space for years to come, what with the flat cap and big-ticket and long-term contracts for Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Zach Hyman. Where will the Oilers find the money to pay players like Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi, both on expiring contracts now, if they have big years? Good luck with that, Ken Holland. You will need it.
source – ‘All systems go? Yes. Edmonton Oilers sign Kailer Yamamoto to a one-year deal’ – David Staples – Edmonton Journal – 09/18/2021
Staples suggests the Oilers may end up having to sign one of Yamamoto or Puljujarvi and trade the other.
Islanders Logjam in Terms of Contracts, Could Lose Bellows
While the salary cap doesn’t appear to be a massive concern, CapFriendly already has the New York Islanders roster at the maximum of 23 players. This does not include the recent signings of Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise. A move is likely on the horizon to free up spots.
Pro Hockey Rumors reports that one of the players worth watching is Kieffer Bellows. The unsigned prospect is the kind of player who is on the bubble to make the roster in such a tight competition for spots, but they’d have to try to sneak him through waivers if he doesn’t make the main roster. It might turn out the GM Lou Lamoriello looks at a potential trade if he cannot re-sign Bellows to a new deal or if he believes someone else has a better shot at a roster spot.
Still with the Islanders, Chara discussed why he chose to sign with the team this summer and said he talked to his family all summer about returning to the NHL for one more year and admitted there were other teams interested in him. He said: “We made the decision to go with the Islanders.” He’s honoured to be returning to the team that drafted him.
Tarasenko Trade Update
According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Blues GM Doug Armstrong expects Tarasenko to remain a member of the team to open the NHL regular season. He will continue to look at trade options out of respect for the player’s request but the team is expecting Tarasenko to return and contribute.
Armstrong noted the ideal scenario would be that Tarasenko contributes so much that he changes his mind on the trade request. “I guess my (hope) is that he’ll be playing so good that he won’t want to be traded,” Armstrong said with a laugh. “And we won’t want to trade him.”
As for whether or not he thinks Tarasenko returning will make for an awkward situation in the locker room, he responded:
“They’re all pros. Our medical staff are pros. Our players are pros. And Vladi’s a pro. So we just have to have a good season. He has to have a good season. He wants to play for a number of years, and to do that, he’s gotta make himself marketable. And to do that, we have to be a good team for him, too.”
source – ‘Armstrong expects Tarasenko to be on Blues’ opening-day roster’ – Jim Thomas – 09/18/2021
Canadiens’ Ylönen Out Due to Lack of Vaccination
According to a report from La Presse (translated to English) Jesse Ylönen is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and as a result, had to undergo quarantine upon his arrival in the country. What’s intriguing about this is that the report notes: “Ylönen is not vaccinated “for reasons which belong to him”. At the time of this writing, we had not received a response from his agent to our email requesting clarification.”
The NHL has stated that players who elect not to be vaccinated could be suspended without pay if they contract the virus. More interesting in Ylönen’s case is that he’s likely slated to be part of the Laval Rocket’s roster and his participation in games that take place in the United States (22 of 72) could be problematic. Ylönen could end up missing 30% of Laval’s games if the federal quarantine does indeed apply to professional hockey players.
It’s not clear why he hasn’t been vaccinated — pre-existing condition or personal beliefs — but NHL Assistant Commissioner Bill Daly said he expects less than15 players in all of the NHL will not be adequately vaccinated by the time the season starts on October 12. The report doesn’t indicate if Ylönen has plans to get vaccinated or not.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”
Blue Jays give Jose Berrios early run support in win over Twins – Sportsnet.ca
Toronto’s early prowess at the plate generated a 5-3 win over the visiting Twins as the Jays took two of three games in the weekend series.
Berrios surrendered three runs on four hits, gave up a walk and struck out six over six and two-thirds innings of work.
Toronto (84-65) continued to hold second spot in the American League wild-card race entering the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Jays are 15-3 in September, which is the best in Major League Baseball, and are 21-9 at home since returning to the Rogers Centre in late July.
The last time Toronto was 19 games above .500 was Aug. 31, 2016.
The Blue Jays have 13 regular-season games remaining in 2021, including this week’s road trip that has them in Tampa Bay for three games against the Rays starting Monday followed by four in Minnesota.
Toronto sent 10 batters to the plate in Sunday’s first inning against Twins starter Luke Farrell (1-1), who is the son of former Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
Second baseman Marcus Semien started the barrage doubling down the left-field line with one out to then score on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s single.
Shortstop Bo Bichette then bashed a two-run shot for his 26th homer.
A single to right from Teoscar Hernandez and an infield hit by Corey Dickerson put runners on first and second. They scored on back-to-back singles from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Breyvic Valera.
Gurriel increased his RBI total to a team-leading 27 in September.
Before arriving in Toronto via a July 30 trade with the Twins, the 27-year-old Berrios spent the first five-and-a-half years of his career in Minnesota.
He still wears the Twins red glove on his left hand on the mound.
Berrios (12-8), has won four of his last five starts, but struggled in Sunday’s fourth inning.
With one out, he hit former Blue Jays standout Josh Donaldson in the right forearm.
Miguel Sano moved Donaldson to third with a double to centre. Shortstop Nick Gordon scored his teammate with a double down the left-field line.
The Twins moved a run closer with a homer from Ben Rortvedt, their ninth hitter in the order, with two out in the seventh inning.
The 2-1 curveball was Berrios’s 100th and final pitch for the afternoon.
Trevor Richards replaced him and pitched well before giving way to stopper Jordan Romano for the final inning. Romano earned his 19th save.
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