Local athletes wrap up 2016 Summer Olympics

Strong showings in several sports fall short of medal podium

Local athletes posted strong showings, but will return from the 2016 Summer Olympics without medals after wrapping up competition last weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Nanoose Bay high jumper Mike Mason, competing in his third straight Olympics, narrowly missed a spot in the medal finals Sunday when he placed 18th in qualifying with a jump of 2.26 metres.

The top 15 of 43 entrants in the event advanced, including four who matched Mason at 2.26m. But the tiebreaker, based on number of missed jumps at all heights, left the eighth-place finisher at the 2012 London Games just out of the medal hunt.

Mason, a graduate of Ballenas Secondary School, finished one spot better than his 19th-place showing at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Canadian teammate Derek Drouin, the reigning world champion, led a pack of jumpers into the finals at 2.29 metres. Mason, who boasts a career best of 2.33 metres, qualified with a jump of 2.23 at last month’s Canadian Olympic Trials in Edmonton.

Victoria’s Jamie Broder, a multiple-time winner in beach volleyball tournaments held in Parksville, saw her medal hopes dashed Saturday as she and teammate Kristina Valjas fell in the round of 16 to fellow Canadians Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley. The match pit the two Canadian teams with a spot in the women’s beach volleyball quarterfinals on the line.

Finally, Ballenas alum Kai Langerfeld and his teammates on Canada’s men’s coxless four rowing team advanced to their medal final, but struggled to a sixth-place finish Friday.

Langerfeld, who grew up in Parksville before moving to Victoria, was joined in Canada’s four-man boat by Conlin McCabe and Will Crothers, who won silver in the men’s eight event four years earlier in the London Olympics, and by fellow Olympic rookie Tim Schrijver.

The Canadians covered the 2,000-metre course in a time of six minutes, 15.93 seconds to bring up the rear in the six-boat medal final. Great Britain claimed the gold medal in a time of 5:58.61, with Australia earning silver and Italy taking the bronze.

Canada’s crew actually improved its time over last Thursday’s semifinals, when it placed second to Great Britain in 6:20.66 to earn the finals berth.

One more local athlete will take her best shot in Rio in the upcoming Paralympic Games. Michelle Stilwell, a three-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball and wheelchair racing, will race the 100 and 400 metres on the track in the 2016 Games, which kick off Sept. 7.

—NEWS Staff and submissions