Canadian Montgomery crashes out of women's triathlon
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- SLAM! Sports
SYDNEY -- Just about everything that could go wrong went wrong for Canada in the women's triathlon Saturday.
Carol Montgomery of North Vancouver, B.C., one of the favourites for a medal, crashed during the cycling portion of the event and was taken to hospital for x-rays on her wrist and treatment of some deep abrasions.
The force of the crash shattered her helmet.
Sharon Donnelly of Ottawa had her own accident on the tight and difficult course through the streets of Sydney, went flying over the handlebars and had to settle for a 38th place finish with a time of two hours, 14 minutes and 35.59 seconds.
Isabelle Turcotte Baird of Quebec City, Que., was 31st in a time 2:08:29.49, 7:48 behind the upset winner, Switzerland's Brigitte McMahon.
It was not immediately know if Montgomery, who required medical treatment, will still be capable of competing in the 10,000 metre race for which she is also qualified.
"There will definitely be some scar tissue. I gues it will depend on how much bum flesh she's lost,"said Canadian head coach Barrie Shepley.
Montgomery, trying to position herself during the cycling event close to the lead pack so she could take advantage of her strong running when the time came, crashed when Great Britain's Sian Brice touched the wheel of the bike of the competitor in front of her and went sideways.
Montgomery crashed into Brice and went down. Donnelly was bloodied on her right arm and knee and had her back seize up after her wreck.
"It was on the second loop by the Botanical Garden. I had no where to go. I went over the handlebars and somebody landed on top of me," she said.
The Canadians' misfortune was just another strange development on a day of upsets as McMahon held off the charge of favoured Australian Michellie Jones to win the first Olympic gold medal awarded in triathlon.
Not even the wild cheers and encouragement of the hundreds of thousands of her countrymen who lined the route through downtown Sydney was enough to push Jones past McMahon who was ranked 21st in the world going into the event.
To add to the consternation of the Aussies -- some newspapers here were boldly predicting an Australian sweep in the event -- the Swiss also snapped up the silver medal as Magali Messmer finished third.
Montgomery had said if she could keep herself even within three minutes of the leaders when they came through the second and final transition on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House, from the bike to the run, she would be in a position to win.
She was about a minute and half behind the leaders when she crashed.
She was about where she wanted to be when she emerged from the cold waters of Farm Cove after the 1,500-metre swim, one minute and 27 seconds behind leader Sheila Taormina of the USA. Taorima, a gold medal winner in Atlanta in the women's relay four years ago, set a quick pace in the swells as the women were shadowed by six divers equipped with pods, electromagnetic devices to keep sharks away from the course.
Montgomery was in 25th place after the swim.
The road portion of the race, which saw the competitors race away from the Opera House and start pounding up a hill, was watched by an estimated 400,000 fans along the route. It was a technically demanding route twisting through the city streets and eight competitors were involved in crashes.
Montgomery was well positioned according to her plan during the cycling portion of the event when the crash occurred.
This is another difficult turn in Montgomery's career.
Just nine months ago, she didn't even know if she would be here after undergoing surgery to graft a 15-centimetre section of vein in her leg to correct a blocked artery.
At this year's world triathlon championships, she was denied what surely would have been the title because bad directions by officials resulted in the women running only seven kilometres rather than the required 10.
Montgomery, trailing eventual winner Nicole Hackett of Australia by two minutes starting the run, had made up a minute and 40 seconds on her when the race was prematurely ended.
She almost would have certainly overtaken her in the final three kilometres.
She never even got the chance this time around.