Canada's Groves suffers broken left elbow bone
The Associated Press
Published Monday, August 18, 2008 8:36AM EDT
BEIJING - Things were going so well for Lauren Groves in the women's triathlon Monday that she was thinking about the possibility of a top-10 finish.
Then, while on her bike in the second stage of the gruelling event, a crash ahead of her crushed those hopes in an instant.
And rather than a trip to the finish line, the Vancouver native found herself en route to hospital, where an initial diagnosis of a fractured radial head bone in her left elbow was confirmed.
The injury will need six weeks to heal.
"I was in shock at first," Groves said afterwards. "I don't remember much but the girl in front of me crashing and then looking and seeing bikes everywhere. I stood up and immediately started to cry -- I couldn't move my elbow."
A Canadian woman has crashed on the bike in every Olympics since triathlon was introduced to the Summer Games in 2000 and Groves couldn't avoid the jinx.
In 2000, it was Sharon Donnelly and Carol Montgomery at Sydney, while four years ago it was Jill Savege in Athens.
The two other Canadians to race in Beijing both managed to reach the finish line. Carolyn Murray of St. Albert, Alta., finished 29th, while Montreal's Kathy Tremblay was 31st in the race won by Emma Snowsill of Australia.
The injury to Groves comes after she overcame knee problems that had plagued her most of the year. She was in good shape coming into the Games after finishing second at the Pan American championships and posting a pair of 13th-place finishes on the World Cup circuit.
Groves was 31st after the swim and had moved her way into a small group chasing the lead pack when one of the other cyclists went down in front of her.
Several riders tumbled to the ground and Groves could do nothing to avoid the pile.
"Minutes before, I was almost taken out in another crash and I was making my way back to the front," she said. "When something like this happens, you have no control because it happens so fast. I usually drive carefully to avoid this. I had no choice."
At first Groves wanted to keep going. She quickly realized that wasn't going to happen.
"My coach Joel (Filliol) was there and I said I wanted to continue. He asked me to try to move my elbow. I tried once more and couldn't so I knew I was done," she said.
"There is nothing worse than not finishing. I wouldn't have cared if I finished last with a broken arm. But I needed another arm to climb those hills today."
Making it even more frustrating was that the 27-year-old believed she was headed for a strong result.
"It has been such a trying year with injuries for me," said Groves. "I had a solid six weeks of training coming into the Olympics. I had the swim of my life today and I thought I could have had a top-10."
Snowsill won in a combined time of one hour 58 minutes 27.66 seconds. Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal took silver, 1:06.97 back, while bronze medallist Emma Moffatt of Australia was about 20 seconds further behind.
Murray was 6:28.66 off the pace with Tremblay another 30 seconds back.
"I was prepared for the heat in the run and bike but not the water, which was really warm and that told the day for me," Murray said. "It was tough but this is the Olympics and it is supposed to be tough.
"I think that's why the feeling of accomplishment must be so much greater for those who are on the podium today."
Such a finish wasn't in the cards for Groves, who wasn't planning to let the injury cut her Games experience short.
"I'm going to stick around for the rest of the Olympics and cheer the guys on (Tuesday)," said Groves. "I will be at the closing ceremonies -- I may just have my arm hung up."