Montgomery may start gold rush
BY PIERRE LEBRUN -- The Canadian Press
TORONTO (CP) -- The Olympic flame burns bright in Carol Montgomery
The 34-year-old from North Vancouver almost lost her leg last December but now is considered a gold-medal contender for the first event of the Sydney
Olympics, the women's triathlon.
Her story is nothing short of remarkable.
Prior to her Dec. 28 operation, Montgomery would experience cramping and
swelling in her left leg, which forced her to change her stride and hampered
''I was ready to retire, ready to give up,'' the soft-spoken Montgomery
recalled on Thursday, in town to promote the July 8 Toronto Triathlon, a race
sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union.
Frustrated, she underwent a series of tests that showed an artery was
partially blocked. One of the potential consequences was amputation.
She underwent surgery to graft a 15-centimetre section of vein -- about the
length of a pen -- to the affected area. This created a circulatory bypass
around the problem.
Her leg was saved. But what about the Olympics? They were just nine months
''I never thought I'd be going to Sydney,'' she admits.
After some intense rehab, Montgomery bounced back to win the Rio de Janeiro
World Cup triathlon in March and gained an Olympic berth.
''I was determined. I never thought about getting tired,'' she says,
recalling her rehab.
Winning her first race back was nothing short of miraculous.
''I was overwhelmed,'' she says, remembering what she felt that day after
In April, she finished second in the 10,000-metres at the Mount San Antonio
College Relays in California in a time well under the Canadian Olympic
Association's qualifying time.
The COA hasn't granted her the spot in 10,000 metres yet, but Montgomery
may race in both events, which are only nine days apart.
The women's triathlon, which includes a 1.5-kilometre swim, a 40-kilometre
cycle, and a 10-kilometre run is first event of the Olympic Games and will be
carried live in prime time on CBC in Canada.
''That would be great if that happens,'' she said modestly, when asked
about winning a gold medal in the Games' first event.