LONDON – Canada has made it back to the podium in a team sport at the Summer Olympics for the first time in 76 years.
Diana Matheson scored the winner in stoppage time Thursday as Canada defeated France 1-0 in the women’s soccer bronze-medal match at the London Games.
The goal by the midfielder from Oakville, Ont., assured Canada its first Olympic medal in a traditional team sport since the country won silver in men’s basketball in 1936.
Canada was coming off a devastating 4-3 extra-time loss to the United States in the semifinals, a game that will be remembered for some controversial refereeing decisions that went the way of the Americans.
On Thursday, the Canadians faced a determined French side that hit the post and the crossbar.
“This team is the most resilient team I’ve ever been a part of and it showed,” said Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod. “They were coming in waves and we stuck to our guns and we came out with the win.”
Wrestler Tonya Verbeek of Thorold, Ont., then won silver in the 55-kilogram category after losing in the final to bring Canada’s medal total at the Games to 16.
“I promised going into the Olympics I would give everything and the result would take care of itself,” said Verbeek. “Wrestling is an awesome sport, it’s done wonderful things in my life and I have three Olympic medals.”
Canada has one gold, five silver and ten bronze in London, good for a tie with the Netherlands for 11th in the overall standings. Canadian officials said before the Olympics that they were hoping for a top-12 finish.
Meanwhile, Jamaican superstar sprinter Usain Bolt etched his name in the record books with a victory in the men’s 200-metre final.
Bolt led a podium sweep for Jamaica to become the first man to win the 100- and 200-metre events at back-to-back Olympics.
The 25-year-old won the 100 on Sunday and now has five Olympic golds — a number he celebrated by hitting the ground and doing five push-ups a few metres past the finish line.
Bolt has long considered the 200 his favourite event and will try to make it 6-for-6 at the Olympics in the 4×100 relay, which starts Friday.
“It’s what I came here to do. I’m now a legend. I’m also the greatest athlete to live,” Bolt said. “I’ve got nothing left to prove.”