The sun didn’t stop shining and the crowds didn’t stop cheering as Lake Banook hosted the world over the weekend.
Canada quietly earned four medals at the world sprint canoe-kayak championships on the sparkling Dartmouth water and finished the weekend third in the points standings.
Waverley’s Karen Furneaux and Lake Echo’s Genevieve Orton rewarded thousands of enthusiastic home fans for their nonstop support, winning bronze with the K-1 200 relay team in the second-to-last race of the weekend.
They joined Andrew Willows and Richard Dober Jr. (bronze in the K-2 200), Adam van Koeverden (bronze in the K-2 1,000) and Christine Gauthier (gold in the women’s K-1 paddleability) as the only Canadians to reach the podium.
“It means the world to leave on a positive note,” the 25-year-old Orton said after racing the final leg of the relay.
It was easy to get caught up in the excitement of the races as the crowd’s noise level increased with each passing metre. Orton, on the water, joined right in during the relay.
“You know you’re not supposed to be screaming your lungs out just before it’s your turn in the relay but I couldn’t help it,” she said, smiling widely. “It was just so exciting.”
Germany and Hungary, traditional powerhouses, dominated and placed 1-2 in the medal and points standings.
Although a handful of Canadians came off the lake saying they were “disappointed” to not make the podium, Furneaux said there were “plenty of smiles in the tent.”
“These are Olympic champions that are beating us,” said Andrew Russell of Dartmouth after placing fourth in the C-4 200. “It’s good company. We’re really, really happy.”
Weekend attendance was estimated in the tens of thousands and there was a fun, festival feel on the shores.
“It’s been amazing,” said Canada’s Mark Oldershaw. “I knew it was going to be fun racing at home, but these fans really blew me away and made me proud to be a Canadian.”