Weekend recap: Canadian relay teams earn Olympic spots

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Some Canadian teams qualified for the Olympics, others fell short, and a golfer boosted his Paris chances with his first win. Here’s what to know from a big weekend for Canadian athletes on the world stage:

Three Canadian track relay teams qualified for the Olympics.

The bulk of the entries for each track relay event in Paris — men’s and women’s 4x100m, men’s and women’s 4x400m and mixed 4x400m — were up for grabs at the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas. Canada went 3-for-5, with two of the Olympic qualifiers going on to reach the podium the next day.

With an Olympic berth and a spot in Sunday’s final going to the top two finishers in each of the opening-round heats on Saturday night, Andre De Grasse and the Canadian men’s 4x100m team won their heat while the women’s 4×100 and 4×400 squads placed second to also qualify and advance.

With Olympic seeding and prize money on the line in Sunday night’s finals, De Grasse’s foursome ran to silver behind the U.S. team anchored by double sprint world champion Noah Lyles, while the Canadian women’s 4×400 team took bronze and the 4×100 women finished seventh.

WATCH | Trio of Canadian teams earn Paris 2024 berth at relay worlds:

Here’s how Canada did at World Athletics Relays | Athletics North

Canada’s relay teams put on a show and made the country proud as Andre De Grasse and the men’s 4x100m team booked a ticket to Paris and won a silver medal. The women’s 4x100m and 4x400m teams also secured their Olympic berths and the 4x400m team brought home a bronze medal from World Athletics Relays. This and more in today’s episode of Athletics North.

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The Canadian men’s and mixed 4×400 teams failed to qualify for the Olympics on Saturday and also fell short in the repechage round on Sunday. Again needing a top-two finish in their heat, the men placed fifth while the mixed team was third. The men’s 4×400 lineup included 800m world champion Marco Arop and NCAA indoor 400m champ Christopher Morales-Williams, but it was unable to earn Canada’s first Olympic appearance in this event since 1992.

In Paris this summer, De Grasse will try to lead the men’s 4×100 team to its third consecutive Olympic medal. He anchored it to bronze in 2016 and silver in 2021 before a stunning gold-medal victory at the 2022 world championships in Oregon. The Canadian women’s 4×400 team will be a podium contender too after placing fourth at the 2021 Olympics as well as the 2022 and ’23 worlds.

Canada just missed an Olympic berth in women’s 3-on-3 basketball.

Needing to win their eight-team qualifying tournament in Japan in order to secure a spot in Paris, the top-ranked Canadian women’s team of Kacie Bosc, Paige Crozon and twin sisters Katherine and Michelle Plouffe lost to Australia 19-16 in Sunday’s final. Canada also fell to the Aussies in the group stage on Saturday.

But all is not lost for the Canadians. They can still reach the Olympics via next week’s last-chance qualifier in Hungary, where the top three finishers in the 16-team women’s and men’s tournaments get tickets to Paris. Canada will also have a team in the men’s qualifier.

Taylor Pendrith boosted his Olympic hopes with his first PGA Tour win.

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A birdie on 18 combined with leader Ben Kohles’ final-hole meltdown gave the 32-year-old Canadian the victory yesterday at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson in Texas.

Pendrith’s first title in 74 career PGA Tour starts pushed him up 49 spots in the world rankings, to 58th. With six weeks to go before the Olympic men’s field is decided, Pendrith is suddenly in the mix for one of Canada’s likely two spots along with No. 26 Nick Taylor, No. 49 Adam Hadwin and No. 52 Corey Conners.

A lot of rankings points will be up for grabs over the next two weeks. The Wells Fargo Championship, one of the Tour’s $20-million US “signature” events, tees off Thursday. Then comes the second major of the year: the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

Other key results:

* Felix Auger-Aliassime’s charmed journey to the Madrid Open final ended with a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 loss to seventh-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s men’s final. The unseeded Auger-Aliassime reached his first-ever final in a Masters-level event (that’s a step below a Grand Slam) after two of his opponents quit their matches due to injury and a third did not take the court at all. Another clay-court Masters event is happening this week in Rome. Auger-Aliassime, seeded 18th after climbing to 20th in the world rankings, has a first-round bye.

* Canada’s top beach volleyball tandem of Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson were eliminated in the round of 12 at a Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Brazil. They’re ranked fourth in the world and have clinched an Olympic spot.

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* Canada won the men’s under-18 hockey world championship on Sunday, beating the United States 6-4 in the final in Finland. Meanwhile, Canada won its first two games at the Para hockey world championships in Calgary by a combined score of 29-0. Their next game is Tuesday night vs. the Czech Republic. The main men’s hockey worlds begin later this week in the Czech Republic. NHL rookie Connor Bedard and presumptive No. 1 draft pick Macklin Celebrini headline the young roster defending Canada’s title.

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