LONDON - Jo-Annie Fortin, a 21-year-old psychology freshman at McGill University, finished fourth with the Canadian synchronized swim squad in the team routine final at the Olympics, Friday.
Canada, with its unique Cirque du Soleil routine, registered a score of 95.23 out of a possible 100 points to finish the two-day event with a combined total of 189.63. Russia tallied a combined 197.03 to collect their fourth Olympic medal in the team event in as many Games. China repeated its silver medal from the Beijing Games with a score of 194.01, while Spain tallied 193.12 to claim bronze.
Fortin, a Montrealer, had the best finish of the six McGillians that competed at the London Games. Ten other McGill grads served at the Games as coaches or administrators.
Wrestler Martine Dugrenier, 33, from Laval, Que., finished fifth in the women's 63-kilogram weight class. She wrestled as an undergrad for Concordia University before earning an education degree from McGill in 2008.
Rowers Derek O'Farrell of Montreal and Doug Vandor of Dewittville, Que., both of whom got their start in a novice boat with the McGill rowing club, finished ninth and 14th, respectively, the men's fours and lightweight double sculls. The 29-year-old O'Farrell graduated with a science degree in 2007, while Vandor, 37, earned a science degree in 1998, followed by a master's degree in experimental surgery.
Victoria Poon a 24-year-old sprinter from LaSalle, Que., who swam one season for McGill in 2005-06, was 15th in the women's 50-metre freestyle. Beach volleyballer Marie-Andrée Lessard, a 34-year-old native of LaSalle, Que., - who starred on the volleyball court for the McGill Martlets and graduated with a commerce degree in 2001 - went winless in three games with teammate Annie Martin.
The six athletes mentioned above are among 114 McGill students or grads that have gone on to Olympic glory over the past century, which began with Percival Molson's participation in track and field at the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis. Since then, McGillians have won a combined total of 31 Olympic medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 14 bronze.
Among the coaches and officials at the London Games are a number of former prominent McGill athletes, including IOC member Richard Pound (swimmer, BCom'62, BCL'67) of Montreal and IOC director of legal affairs Howard Stupp (wrestler, BEng'78, LLB'83, BCL'83) of Laval, Que., in addition to modern pentathlon coach John Hawes (swimmer, BSc '72, DipEd '73) of Pointe Claire, Que., plus COC director of Olympic preparation & integrated planning Derek Covington (track & field; MA'92) of Montreal and physician Dr. Linda Thyer (track & cross-country; MDCM, 1994), who was born in Montreal and raised in Nelson, B.C.
Rounding out the squad of McGill grads is wrestling coach Victor Zilberman (MA '79) of Cote St. Luc, Que., Dr. Suzanne Leclerc (PhD '04) of Montreal, sports psychologist Dr. Wayne Halliwell (MA'73) of Beaconsfield, Que., assistant chef-de-mission Sylvie Bernier (MA '11) and Isabelle Pearson (BSc, MSc), head physiotherapist for the Canadian judo team, who is a faculty lecturer in McGill's school of physical & occupational therapy.
A couple of other grads who were also at the Games in a non-official capacity and not included in the McGillian count are Chantal Vallée (MSc '01) and Aly McPhee (BCom '10). Vallée, who served two years as an assistant coach with the basketball Martlets (1999 to 2001) was a basketball analyst for CTV. McPhee, the daughter of former Montreal Canadiens forward Mike McPhee, was a track star at McGill and is working as a hostess at Canadian Olympic House in London.
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