Russell, Beauchesne-Sevigny, Canadian canoeists, too strong for competition

07/13/2015 03:11 EDT | Updated 07/13/2016 05:59 EDT
WELLAND, Ont. – They prefer to save their best for last.

That, according to Benjamin Russell and Gabriel Beauchesne-Sevigny is how they finish first.

Russell and Beauchesne-Sevigny came on strong at the end of the race to win the gold medal in the C2 1000 here at the Pan Am Games.

"Maybe it didn't look as fatiguing as it was, but we train constantly for that last 250 metres," Russell said. "That's where we want to be the best in the world so every time we get there we just go for broke and having the crowd there was a bonus. We want our strength to be the finish and we think as long as we can be in touch the last quarter of the race we can come out on top."

Asked about their strategy through the first three quarters, Beauchesne-Sevigny laughed and said, "We can't disclose. It's our strategy."

Russell added they don't like to get other teams get too far ahead, but they are also cognizant of the fact they are rowing their own race, not anybody else's race.

Beauchesne-Sevigny said the duo reset their priorities after 2012, and are ultimately focused on the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

"The last two years we have had the best results in our career," Beauchesne-Sevigny said. "We're really happy with a race like today. Headwind, tailwind or crosswind, we can do them all now and in the starting blocks I felt really confident."

The pair has been fourth in the world the past two years so it's not as though they are sneaking up on the completion. Russell said the victory at the Pan Am Games goes to show they are on track.

"To your point, we're hoping to save the best for last by coming through in Brazil next year," Russell said.

Something about Welland

Michelle Russell, who like Benjamin Russell is from Halifax (though they are not related), said there's something about Welland that agrees with her.

She won a gold medal Saturday in the K4 500 and on Monday placed second to win a silver in the K1 500. She also won two medals in the under 23 world championships in 2013 in Welland and will compete in the K1 200 on Tuesday.

"I don't know if there's something in the water, something in the air or if it's the crowd," Russell said. "I like racing in Welland, for sure."

Russell insisted she is not thinking of moving to Welland.

"I'm a Nova Scotian," she said. "That's where I call home."

"It is a very good sign," Russell said. "I'm not at my peak right now, but I hope to be next month and then onward to Rio."

Russell said because there is a racing season, the timing of the Pan Am Games is not a 'peak' competition.

"We're not qualifying for Rio here," she said. "It's just an indicator for next month. That was my all today. It's not the best I can do. There is still room for improvement for me."