July 14, 2015
By Kerry Gillespie
WELLAND, ONT.—It was quite the day for Canada’s Mark de Jonge.
First, he won gold in 200-metre kayak sprint. He’s the reigning world champion and record holder in that event so that was a little expected but, still, winning never gets old, as was obvious from the smile on his face afterward.
The surprise of the day came when de Jonge and Pierre-Luc Poulin teamed up in an event that’s not theirs — the K-2 200m kayak. Poulin’s a K-4 guy and de Jonge is a solo speedster.
They crossed the line in their “extra race” tip-to-tip with the Brazilians and the Canadians were clocked five-one thousandths of a second behind them.
“I was just doing the math in my head,” he said, afterward.
He’s an engineer by trade and they, apparently, can do that.
“And it’s under two inches between us. Cameras can’t pick that up.”
That’s why, 45 minutes later — after the Canadians talked to the media about just missing a bonus medal — the announcement came down that they had, in fact, according to the international sprint kayak rules, tied for bronze.
Two medals in one day without even tapering for the event, because he is still building up to peak at the world championships in Milan next month, is a pretty big confidence boost for de Jonge.
“I raced well. I’m really proud of myself today,” he said.
At 31 years of age, the Halifax paddler is at the peak of his career. After missing the 2004 and 2008 Olympics by a single spot, de Jonge won a bronze medal at his Olympic debut in 2012 and, since then, he has only gotten faster.
Tuesday’s five-medal day brought Canada’s medal total to 10 at the Welland Flatwater Centre.
Along with de Jonge’s gold and shared bronze with Poulin, Laurence Vincent-Lapointe won gold in the first-ever women’s 200m canoe event, Michelle Russell took silver in the women’s 200m kayak and Jason McCoombs picked up silver in the men’s 200m canoe.