Canadian Paralympians strike gold again
By FREE PRESS STAFF AND CANADIAN PRESS
SYDNEY -- Adam Purdy has struck gold again.
And, for the second straight day, the 19-year-old London swimmer was involved in a world record at the Paralympics.
Purdy was on the Canadian men's 4x100-metre relay team that won Sunday in a record time of four minutes, 32.39 seconds. Other members of the team were Benoit Huot, of St-Lambert, Que., Andrew Haley of Dartmouth, N.S., and Philippe Gagnon of Chicoutimi, Que.
A day earlier, Purdy broke his own world record in winning the men's 100-metre backstroke in 1:18.14.
Darda Geiger of Sarnia was a member of Canada's gold-medal women's 4x100 relay team, which won with a world-record time of 5:07.56. Other memebers of the team were Stephanie Dixon of Caledon, Jessica Sloan of Calgary and Elizabeth Walker of Toronto.
It was also a golden day for Jeffrey Dennis of Ingersoll as the Canadian men's wheelchair basketball team won the final 57-43 over the Netherlands.
It was Canada's first medal on the men's side. The women won their third consecutive gold on Friday.
"This was four years of hard work summed up in 40 minutes," said Joey Johnson of Lorette, Man. "I'm living large right now."
The men were rattled at the start by a better prepared Dutch team, but Johnson led Canada from a 6-0 deficit to a 17-8 lead that was never threatened. He wound up with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Patrick Anderson of Fergus was the top scorer again for Canada with 23 points and added 13 rebounds.
"It's going to take time to reflect on how meaningful this all really is," Anderson said. "Both wins (men's and women's) say a lot about our program in Canada."
The Canadian men's rugby team lost 40-35 in the semifinal to the U.S. and faces New Zealand for the bronze medal. David Willsie of Belmont and Chris Daw of Strathroy are on the rugby team.
It was fear that led Toronto's Jeff Adams to his second track gold medal, this one Sunday in the 1,500 metres, the Games' premier speed event.
Adams said he was "scared, nervous, excited," at the start line, and thought he was finished with 100 metres to go as he glanced over his shoulder at Switzerland's Franz Nietlispach, who was gaining fast.
"I thought he had me," said Adams about Nietlispach, the world record holder at the distance who wound up with silver. "I thought I was beaten."
Adams also has a gold medal in the 800-metres, a silver in the 400, another silver in the 4x100 relay and a bronze in the 5,000.
Later in the day, Lisa Franks of Saskatoon won her fourth gold medal in the 400 metres as Canada jumped ahead of the U.S. in the Games rankings with 36 gold to 34.
Australia leads all countries with 64 gold and 147 medals, followed by Britain and Spain.
Canadians won 10 swimming medals Sunday and lead all countries with 23 gold and 48 medals total in the pool.
Jessica Sloan set a world record and won another gold medal in the women's freestyle 50 metres. Anne Polinario of Toronto won bronze.
Danielle Campo of Windsor won a gold and set a Games record in her category of the 50-metre free.