Felicien, Lopes-Schliep fail to qualify for London Games
Jessica Zelinka, centre, from London, Ont., out races Phylicia George, left, and Perdita Felicien, to victory in the women's 100-metre hurdles at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, June 30, 2012. (Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Saturday, June 30, 2012 7:28PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 30, 2012 10:53PM EDT
CALGARY -- Two of Canada's greatest hurdlers saw their Olympic dreams come to a crushing end Saturday.
Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Perdita Felicien both failed to qualify for Canada's team bound for London in a dramatic women's 100-metre hurdles final that saw heptathlete Jessica Zelinka emerge the winner.
Lopes-Schliep, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist from Whitby, Ont., needed a top-three finish to make the squad and finished fifth after crashing into the seventh hurdle and nearly reeling into another lane, while Felicien, a former world champion, was disqualified for a false start.
Phylicia George of Markham, Ont., won the silver medal while Nikkita Holder of Pickering, Ont., finished fourth but was bumped up to bronze due to Felicien's disqualification.
Felicien, also from Pickering, raced under protest and finished third. She appealed the decision based on the noise of the crowd at the start, but it was denied by a technical committee.
Lopes-Schliep was considered one of Canada's top hopes for a medal in London. She was the world No. 1-ranked hurdler in 2010 before taking last season off to become a mom. Her daughter Nataliya was born in September.
Earlier in the day, Dylan Armstrong won the men's shot put title to cement his spot on the Olympic team for London.
Armstrong, who needed only a top-three finish to clinch an Olympic spot, threw 21.29 metres, despite a slick throwing circle that had the field of throwers complaining. At one point, the world silver medallist turned to another athlete and said "The throwing circle is brutal, man. It's a sheet of glass."
The distance was well off his Canadian-record toss of 22.21 he threw at last year's national championships in Calgary.
"Today was just about having fun and giving the people here a chance to look and see what we do," said Armstrong, one of Canada's top hopes for a medal in London. "I was really happy with the result, it was a bit challenging with the circle, it was definitely a lot slicker than last year. I think everybody had to make some technical adjustments today, but I'm definitely happy where I'm at right now."
Justin Rodhe, also of Kamloops, was second with 20.30, while Tim Nedow of Brockville, Ont., threw 20.21 for bronze.
Like Armstrong, Rodhe had achieved the Olympic qualifying standard and needed only a top-three finish at the trials to clinch a spot on the London-bound squad.
Armstrong's coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk, gold medallist in hammer throw for the former Soviet Union at the 1972 Olympics, sat in a fold-out chair, offering the thrower the odd tip.
Afterward, a couple of dozen fans lined up as the beefy six-foot-four, 345-pound thrower signed his autograph on everything from programs to T-shirts.
Earlier in the day, Rachel Seaman of Peterborough, Ont., and Inaki Gomez of Vancouver clinched their spots in the women's and men's 10,000-metre racewalk.
Alex Genest of Lac-aux-Sables, Que., won the men's 3,000-metre steeplechase to earn his berth in London, while hammer throwers Heather Steacy of Lethbridge, Alta., and Sultana Frizell of Perth, Ont., finished 1-2 to clinch their spots on the squad.