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A Long Time Coming: Canada's Oldershaw family finally has Olympic medal

08/08/2012 06:03 EDT | Updated 10/08/2012 05:12 EDT
WINDSOR, England - After 64 years and eight Summer Games, the Oldershaw family finally has an Olympic canoeing medal to celebrate.

Canada's Mark Oldershaw did what grandfather Bert, uncles Dean and Reed and father Scott all couldn't quite manage when he won bronze in the C-1 1,000-metre final Wednesday.

"I am so happy. It is such a good feeling," said Oldershaw, who is from Burlington, Ont. "Around halfway everyone is getting super-exhausted but you think it is just you. I thought if I don't go for it now I never will."

Oldershaw's podium finish was one of three medals for Canada on Wednesday, which along with Adam van Koeverden's silver in kayaking and Carol Huynh's bronze in wrestling brought the country's total to 14 at these Games.

Canada won 18 medals four years ago in Beijing.

The Oldershaws and Canadian canoeing have been inextricably linked ever since Bert represented the country at three straight Olympics, beginning at the London Games in 1948.

"It feels incredible to do it here where my grandfather started back in 1948," said Mark.

Dean competed in Munich in 1972 and then together with Reed in Montreal in 1976. Then it was Scott's turn, who took part in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Given the family history, it was almost inevitable that another Oldershaw would come along a generation later.

Mark finished 10th in the C-1 1,000 at the 2008 Games and put that down to experience.

"After Beijing it is very sweet," the 29-year-old said of the bronze. "That is in the past now. This has been an amazing experience for me."

Wednesday's race took place about 20 kilometres from where Bert competed in 1948, on the River Thames at Henley.

"I know he'd be proud of me," Mark said of his grandfather, who died in 2006. "He was proud of the whole family. Me and my dad will sit down tonight and have a special toast."

Oldershaw's bronze came minutes after van Koeverden, his friend and training partner, won silver in the K-1 1,000 metres, his fourth medal in three Olympics.

The 30-year-old from Oakville, Ont., exorcised his demons in the event after finishing a disappointing eighth as the favourite in Beijing

Van Koeverden led for much of Wednesday's race before dropping to second in the final stretch.

"It's not a case of a screwed-up race plan, this is a case of one guy in the whole world being better than me. And I can live with that," he said. "Seven billion people, one guy's better. It's OK."

Huynh also returned to the Olympic podium with a bronze medal in women's wrestling.

The 2008 gold medallist from Calgary lost to the eventual winner in the semifinal before beating Isabelle Sambou of Senegal to finish third in the 48-kilogram category.

"It's fantastic. I'd prefer it was gold, but I'll take bronze. I'm just so happy to be here and represent Canada," said the 31-year-old Huynh. "I would love to be on top of the podium again. What an amazing feeling that was four years ago, but I'm still pretty happy."

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