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Friday, June 9, 2000
PROFILE: Carol Montgomery
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 her performance.

''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 away.

''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 winning.

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.
Carol Montgomery in the news
Montgomery makes painful decision
Montgomery calls it off
Montgomery will run in 10,000
Montgomery in pictures
Post-crash presser
Crashing in Sydney
On her bike
Pushing her bike
Winning in Toronto