February 23, 2015
Pentathlon might not be the most known sport in this country but Canadian athletes McCann (Ottawa) and Riker-Fox (Calgary) fought for a spot on the podium in the Mix Relay Event this past weekend at the first World Cup of the season in Sarasota, Florida. For the first time in the history of the sport the Canadians won a bronze medal after Russia (gold) and Ireland (silver). Pentathlon requires a wide range of abilities as the events include fencing (épée), swimming, show jumping (a randomly drawn horse) and lastly, a combined running and shooting event. The sport emerged from the military in the late 1800s, making its Olympic debut in 1912.
The Canadian team managed to stay with the top countries throughout the competition and finished strong in the final run/shoot to overtake Poland and hold off several other nations for the race to the podium. Riker-Fox said “We worked really well together to maximize our result. On the handover we were in third with Mexico, USA, Italy and China all very close behind. I felt pretty smooth and shot relatively well. The run felt really great and with about 200 meters to go, I was quite sure I could hold onto our bronze position. The race was dramatic and speedy, with a supportive audience.”
Riker-Fox notes: “This is my first World Cup medal and it is so gratifying. It feels great to be rewarded for the hard work I’ve invested, but also fueling motivation going forward. “Though the individual Pentathlon is the only Olympic event currently, the Mixed Relay is a proposed addition to the International Olympic Committee for Tokyo 2020. “Mel and I are incredibly enthused to win a World Cup medal in the mixed relay. It’s the first for Canada in this event.”
Josh and Melanie will be fighting for their individual spots for the Olympic Games at the Pan American Games in Toronto this July.
CANADIAN SPORT INSTITUTE CALGARY