Canada held off the podium at Youth Olympics, China medal haul continues
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, August 24, 2010 12:53PM EDT
SINGAPORE - The medal drought continued for Canada and the U.S. at the Youth Olympics on Tuesday, while China added to its haul.
Canada was held off the podium for a fourth straight day, though its chances were limited with just two medal events on the schedule. Diver Marc Sabourin-Germain of Mascouche, Que., posted the best result of the day, finishing eighth on the 10-metre tower.
Dominique Shone of Langley, B.C., was ninth in individual show jumping as Canada's medal total remained at 12, including two gold.
The Americans, who usually dominate at the Olympics, also failed to win a medal for a second straight day, remaining stalled at 21 and just four gold.
China tops the medals table with 29 gold after winning the men's 10-metre tower Tuesday. Bo Qiu took the gold with 673.50 points, Oleksandr Bondar of Ukraine was second at 605.55 and Ivan Garcia of Mexico third at 515.70.
Sabourin-Germain, 10th on three-metre on Sunday, was hoping to fare better on the platform.
"I was very nervous throughout the competition and wound up making a lot of mistakes," he said in a release. "This has been a very good experience for me with the world junior championships coming up soon."
The head of the U.S. Olympic Committee blamed scheduling conflicts for the Americans' woeful performance at the Games.
"There were some scheduling challenges," USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said. "We looked at this as a developmental opportunity for some of our athletes who don't otherwise get the opportunity to compete internationally."
The talent gap was most glaring in the pool, as Chinese swimmers won 11 golds while the American team won one race. Canada won seven medals in the pool, including two gold.
Some elite U.S. swimmers skipped the Youth Olympics to compete at the Pan-Pacific Championships in Irvine, Calif., from Aug 18 to 22.
Blackmun said the U.S. team embraced the sports, cultural and educational activities of the Youth Games, which feature 3,600 athletes aged 14 to 18 from 204 national Olympic committees competing in 26 sports from Aug 14-26.
"As things turned out, we might have struck that balance a little closer to the culture and education line," Blackmun said. "It's not like we sent athletes that weren't qualified to be there."
U.S. coaches defended the quality of their teams. Girls basketball coach Kathy Richey-Walton said her team, which defeated Canada for the bronze Monday, had the best talent in the tournament. The boys basketball team stumbled to a fourth-place finish.
"I can't speak for the other sports, but I can tell you that we have two of the best performers in our sport at these Games," trampoline gymnastics coach Tara Guidry said.
Some athletes' parents said their children appreciated the opportunity to battle against top competition.
"They're learning how to compete internationally," said Peter Janzen, whose daughter Kiera won the silver in the 400-metre freestyle. "This is a great experience here that will give great depth to the U.S. swimming program in the future."
IOC president Jacques Rogge said he was not concerned about the quality of the American team.
"Sure, certain swimmers are not present," he said. "But this will not diminish the quality of the swimming events or the Youth Games. When people don't participate, they are easily forgotten and they do not weigh on the success of the organization."
In other results Tuesday, Chile won the girls soccer gold, defeating Equitorial Guinea 5-3 in a penalty shootout, and the Netherlands beat Argentina 2-1 in the girls field hockey final.
-- With files from The Associated Press