Clearly the 2017 season for Canadian Track and Field fans was marked by a sudden decline in the medal count for Canada at the World Championships in London last August. With eight medals at the 2015 Beijing World Championships and six medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, head coach, Glenroy Gilbert did not expect a zero medal count in London.
Two of our athletes were hampered by injury before the start of the Championships. Derek Drouin, the 2015 World Champion and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist was hobbled by an Achilles tendon injury which prevented him from jumping at the Canadian Championships in Ottawa last July. Andre De Grasse, with medals in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay at the Brazilian Olympics, crashed and burned with a hamstring tear just days before the opening heats of the 100m in London.
More hazards lay ahead for Canada in London. Our Canadian team was housed at the Tower Hotel near the Tower of London Bridge which was the site of an outbreak of norovirus.
The Guardian reported: “At least seven Canadians were affected, including Eric Gillis, who was forced to drop out of Sunday’s marathon after about 20 miles. “I was one of the athletes in quarantine,” the Canadian sprinter Aaron Brown said. “I was in my room the entire day in the dark. I was like a vampire. I was holding my stomach the entire night.”
None of the 2016 Olympic medalists were able to repeat Derek Drouin and Andre De Grasse were injured. Many believed that Damian Warner’s illness kept him off the podium in the London decathlon. Brianne Theisen-Eaton retired after Rio in 2016.
Do we have potential with new names moving to the World’s Top Ten List?
Brandon McBride in the 800m, Alyssha Newman in the pole vault and Brittany Crew in the shot put, hit the top list for the first time.
Clearly Andre De Grasse, Damian Warner, Derek Drouin, Shawn Barber, Melissa Bishop, Mo Ahmed, Christabel Nettey, Evan Dunfee, Liz Gleadle, Aaron Brown, Crystal Emmanuel, Mike Mason and Tim Nedow are capable of moving up this list as we approach the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Ready to enter new territory are Sage Watson, Justyn Knight, Brendon Rodney , Mathew Hughes, Alyx Treasure and Gabriella Stafford
If we look at Canadians in the World Top Ten Ranking by Track and Field News in the past three years, the numbers reveal
While the numbers of Canadians in the World Top Ten vary from 2015 at ten, 2016 twelve and 2017 at eleven, the numbers in the top 5 have declined from 2015 at nine, 2016 at nine to 2017 to one. This reflects the injuries and illnesses of the London World Championships.
All-Athletics.com ranks 185 countries in the world on a comprehensive scoring system separating men and women.
2015 World Rank Men: 9th, Women: 7th
2016 World Rank Men: 9th, Women: 8th
2017 World Rank Men: 12th, Women: 6th