Less than 100 days before the 2012 London Games, individual athletes and team competitors are in the throes of meeting Olympic standards and winning Olympic qualifying tournaments.
In the marathon, Dylan Wykes can now tell one of this country's most exciting, gut-wrenching and ultimately successful stories. To do it, he ran the second-fastest marathon in the history of Canadian long-distance running. After failing to even cross the finish line at a qualifying event in Japan, Wykes hit a mental low-point. He needed to shave 70 torturous seconds off his personal best 42-km run to meet the Olympic standard of 2:11.29. After the defeat, however, he was still running every day and, at the last minute, rushed to gain entry in the Rotterdam marathon and book a flight to Holland. "On the start line we were packed in like sardines. I literally had no room to move," he writes on his blog. "When the canon went off I probably got no more than two steps before I hit the deck and hit it hard. For a split second I thought maybe they'd recall everyone to the start, but then I realized this wasn't a high school track meet [_] I got up in a fit of rage and stormed past people. I went flying past Rob [Watson, another Canadian] cursing and a few seconds later realized I should probably chill out." Wykes, six-foot-four, ran the race of his life, finishing in 2:10.47. The complete story he tells on his blog is captivating. Visit time-to-run.com.
In freestyle wrestling, East Vancouver's John Pineda faces his last chance to qualify at a bout in Helsinki this weekend. The 30-year-old, 60-kg class wrestler trains with Dave McKay at the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club. Pineda fell short of his goal at the Pan-American qualifier and again at the first world qualification in China. He is a national champion and the development coach of the provincial team.